This qualitative study aimed to examine and critically explore women’s accounts as to how their abusive partner’s interest in sport (team combat sports in particular) impacted on the domestic violence and abuse they endured. The study was underpinned by feminist standpoint epistemology and Lacanian theory. Values aligning with feminist standpoint epistemology, such as the nature and balance of power, were central to this research which had at its core the voices of marginalised women. At the stages of analysis and discussion the Lacanian model of the Real, the Symbolic and the Imaginary were used to explore the women’s accounts. This model has afforded new insights into this culturally sensitive topic by removing the focus from the women who sustained abuse to the nature of the abuse they endured. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with nine women who were accessing women’s support services. The women spoke of the abuse they had endured during the course of a heterosexual, intimate relationship. Thematic analysis provided new perspectives regarding the interplay between sport fanaticism and domestic violence and abuse. This thesis extends existing research which has sought to interrogate the association between domestic violence and sporting events (mainly team combat sports). The significance of this study is that it confers deeper, richer understandings regarding the nature of domestic violence and abuse. It reveals how the perpetrators of abuse use violence and/or coercive and controlling behaviours around their sporting interests as a means of asserting power and subjugating their partners. The study is important in that it discloses how the perpetrators perceived some sports, especially football, as preserve which promoted male supremacy. It suggests avenues for further research and reflects upon the cultural significance of sport and team combat sport in particular. The study concludes by suggesting two key points which emerge from this study which underscore the pernicious, chronic and shifting nature of DVA and highlight the need for vigilance in responding to the cultural resources liable to be exploited by perpetrators of abuse.
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