Thompson Rivers University

Arts Colloquium: Intimate partner violence and animal abuse

Dr. Rochelle Stevenson, Assistant Professor, Sociology, shares her research into intimate partner violence and animal abuse as part of the Arts Colloquium Series.

Abstract 

Companion animals, or pets, are an important part of life for many people. General pet ownership estimates for North America indicate that about 60 percent of households have at least one pet, and pets are increasingly being considered family members.

Companion animals are often viewed as children or siblings and anthropomorphized, and genuinely grieved when they die.

However, the status of companion animals as family members also creates a vulnerability for being victimized along with the human family members in situations of intimate partner violence.

Dr. Stevenson’s talk will discuss her research on intimate partner violence and the inclusion of companion animals in the violent dynamic.

In particular, her talk will unpack the different ways that animals are conceptualized, and how that conceptualization can either inhibit help seeking and safety for women, or contribute to a shared safe haven for women and animals.