Coping and Survival Strategies Implemented by Women Who Faced Partner Rapes


This communication summarizes the results of a qualitative research conducted among five young women (25 year-old in average), former victims of partner rapes, who separated from their spouse since a few years. Five tools were used in order to answer our research questions: an anamnestic questionnaire, a semi-structured interview, the Body-Image Questionnaire (Bruchon-Schweitzer, 1987), the Multidimensional Inventory of Sexuality (Snell, Fisher & Walters, 1993) and the Questionnaire on Negative Thoughts and Concerns during Sexual Relationships (Beck, 1988). Our results show that, when they have to face sexual assaults from a violent spouse, the victims use various verbal and /or physical tactics to resist their abuser. However, the more important the author's determination is, the less effective the victims’ strategies of resistance are. Sometimes, the women have no choice but to suffer these abusive and non-consensual relations which coerce them into setting mental process in order to stand this dehumanizing act. Partner rapes generate significant trauma, especially in the field of sexuality. Most of our subjects react with more or less intense sexual inhibition. Others engage in sexual practices that provoke emotional anesthesia (sadomasochism, multiple sexual relations, etc.) in order to maintain an active sex life. After the separation, the victims prefer to implement strategies of disengagement (minimization, denial, ...) allowing them to avoid the resurgence of painful effects related to the past abuses. However, the use of such defense mechanisms obstructs the access to mental care and therefore to the elements of a potentially life-saving resilience.

Author Information
Loredana Roinich, University of Mons, Belgium
Marielle Bruyninckx, University of Mons, Belgium

Paper Information
Conference: ECP2018
Stream: General Psychology

This paper is part of the ECP2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon