Power, partnership, and pussy : women's experiences of sex and consent in abusive relationships : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Clinical Psychology at Massey University, Whanganui-a-tara/Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand / Jasmine Gillespie-Gray.

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Massey University
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This thesis draws on feminist post-structural theory, and the work of Nicola Gavey and Evan Stark, to bring to light the ways gendered sexpectations and coercive control work together within women’s stories to shape them towards catering for his (sexual) pleasure, rendering the women’s ability to say yes, no, or maybe to consensual sex, and meaningfully shape their sexual experiences, (virtually) non-existent. These gendered power relations produced women who were desperately, compliantly, and/or fearfully sexual within abusive heterosexual relationships. My thesis has sought to resist neoliberal postfeminist individualisation of women’s abuse in favour of the feminist mantra the personal is (STILL) political. From this feminist activist stance and in the spirit of conscientisation, I have creatively resisted institutional expectations of a doctoral thesis in favour of accessibility and the engagement of women (and our allies) outside the ivory tower of academia. If you are an academic reader this may be challenging to your hegemonic understanding of what a thesis “should” be like, especially in terms of content, style, language, and structure – ok basically everything! But I have taken this approach because I think it embodies the social justice aspirations of critical feminist psychology. In this sense, the presentation of this thesis is a form of academic activism, consistent with the theory and politics I have been immersed in over the last five years as I journeyed into the depths of our (sexual and relational) abuse. Finally, I have undertaken my own healing and conscientisation because of this research, which has led to a transformation of self and the reimagining of (my) relating and fucking towards safety, equity, and pleasure for all involved. I offer my reflections on this journey at the end of my thesis as resistance to the dominant expectations of women and OUR sexuality, and as hope that things can be different. In love and rage Jasmine
Abused women, New Zealand, Psychology, Abused wives, Intimate partner violence, Psychological aspects, Sex (Psychology)