Retention of outdated theories about violence in intimate relationships in practice

Daša Malíková
Budúcnosť, n.o., Nitra, Slovak Republic; Comenius University in Bratislava, Faculty of Education, Department of Social Work, Bratislava, Slovak Republic

Korespondenční autor: Daša Malíková (

ISSN 1804-7181 (On-line)

Full verze:
Full version

Submitted:15. 5. 2019
Accepted: 16. 7. 2019
Published online: 31. 7. 2019


Women experiencing violence in intimate relationships, when seeking to solve the problem of violence in the framework of the help and support system, are faced with the stereotypical image of a “real” battered woman or an “ideal victim”. Only a woman who is passive, helpless, does not defend herself or her children, does not argue, physically fight back, who speaks to no one about the violence and who does not leave a violent partner conforms to this image. No woman experiencing violence and abuse can permanently “fit” the concept of an ideal and real victim. In the case that women do not conform to this “ideal” and the concept created by society, they do not receive social recognition and adequate help and protection. This paper deals with the concept of the Battered Woman Syndrome, according to which women in violent intimate relationships have learned to be passive and helpless. The paper also presents knowledge on the contradictory theory “The Survivor Hypothesis”, which sees women as active, competent and resilient. It delivers insight into the wide range of strategies that women use to stop or reduce violence, as well as about their two main strategies – private and public. Research to date agrees in the finding that the solution women most often use when seeking to resolve the situation is that of leaving the relationship, and that a very large proportion of women do physically resist attacks. This paper presents the links between and impacts of the findings in the context of social work and interventions in cases of violence in intimate relationships.

Keywords: Intimate relationships; Intervention; Violence; Stereotypical image; Women’s strategies


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