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Title: Clustered Vulnerabilities: The Unequal Effects of COVID-19 on Domestic Violence

How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect domestic violence? We might expect that the most marginalized victims experienced the most dramatic upticks in violence during the pandemic. However, through life-story interviews, I found that survivors who were enduring abuse, poverty, housing insecurity, and systems involvement pre-COVID did not suffer worse abuse during the pandemic. For multiply marginalized survivors, COVID did not produce more violence directly, but instead worsened the social contexts in which they already experienced violence and related problems, setting them up for future instability. The small group of survivors in this study who did experience COVID as a novel period of violence were likely to be middle-class and better-resourced. To explain these findings, I suggest moving away from a model of crisis as “external stressor.” I offer the concept “clustered vulnerabilities” to explain how—rather than entering in as “shock”—crisis amplifies existing structural problems: social vulnerabilities pile up, becoming denser and more difficult to manage. “Clustered vulnerabilities” better explains crisis in the lives of marginalized people and is useful for analyzing the relationship between chronic disadvantage and crisis across cases.

 
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NSF-PAR ID:
10498976
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 
Publisher / Repository:
SAGE Publications
Date Published:
Journal Name:
American Sociological Review
ISSN:
0003-1224
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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