Being particularly vulnerable

Men’s violence against women is not perpetrated against a specific group of women, although as a result of discrimination and marginalisation, certain groups may be particularly vulnerable. In many cases, violence against people belonging to particularly vulnerable groups looks the same as violence against people who do not belong to one of these groups, but it can also take specific forms or have specific consequences. The following groups have been identified as being particularly exposed based on the criteria of invisibility, dependence and vulnerability.

LGBTQ people – Violence against LGBTQ people, such as violence in same-sex relationships, is often directed at a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It can take the form of threatening to expose a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity against their will. Heteronormative perceptions of violence in close relationships risk obscuring violence against LGBTQ people, as well as restricting access to protection and support.

Young women – Young women are subjected to violence in close relationships and sexual violence to a greater extent than other age groups. Young women are also more anxious about being subjected to violence than young men, which, combined with their actual vulnerability, can lead to considerable stress. Violence against young women can take specific forms, such as the spreading of rumours on the Internet or the distribution of private images against the woman’s will.

Older women – Violence against older women is often characterised by a strong dependency relationship between victim and perpetrator. Older women who are exposed to violence may also have been socialised to not talk about things that happen in the home. It may also be perceived that older women are not subjected to violence or sexual violence, and that older men are not capable of committing violence.

Women with disabilities – Violence against women with disabilities may be committed by a partner, but also by a family member or a person on whom the woman is dependent. This includes, for example, residential and home care staff as well as personal assistants. The violence can be directed at the disability, for example by demanding sex in exchange for medication or moving items in the home of a visually impaired person. In addition, women with disabilities may lack knowledge regarding their rights and have difficulty expressing themselves.

Women from foreign backgrounds – Discrimination, segregation, language difficulties and the lack of a social network can make it difficult for women from foreign backgrounds to seek help. The partner perpetrating the violence can also use this to reinforce the isolation of the woman. Women from a foreign background may also lack knowledge regarding their rights and the Swedish legal system.

Women with substance abuse problems – Violence is often a common feature of everyday life for women with substance abuse problems. In addition to violence from a partner, they may be subjected to violence by e.g. nursing staff, police and guardians. Women with substance abuse problems are often heavily dependent on the perpetrator, as the perpetrator may be the person supplying her with drugs. These women’s exposure to violence tends to reduce in contact with support efforts, as the violence is often seen as a consequence of the abuse.

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