Latent Sibling violence


  • Anna Rypi Socialhögskolan, Lunds universitet
  • Veronika Burcar Alm Sociologiska institutionen, Lunds universitet


Latent violence is a concept by Isdal (2017), which is used by many social institutions and social workers, dealing with family and intimate partner violence in Sweden. It points to the fear that many victims live with, and the adaptation they make to avoid exposure to violence. We believe that this term is also, and perhaps particularly, useful to describe sibling violence, as there is a documented tendency in society (as well as in families) to let this kind of violence go unnoticed. The invisibility of this violence in society leads to a dimension of powerlessness and unpredictability for victims who may have difficulty defining their experiences. We have conducted qualitative interviews with persons who have been subjected to violence by siblings. At the same time as we want to emphasize the vulnerability aspects, we also want to show, and explore, the ability to find strategies of resistance. Our interviewees describe how they created alternative safe spaces in spite of the violent context. These include the use of hideouts and secret refuges, outdoor places as well as fantasy spaces.


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