I have been working on my Celebrity and Sports Figures DV paper and I have already run into the complications of semantics when writing about domestic violence. For instance, when explaining my sample of couples, do I say "couples who've experienced domestic violence?" Or, would a better phrase be "couples who've committed domestic violence?" When using the word experience, it seems like I'm implying that the abuse just happened to the couple, like experiencing a car crash or a flood. Yet, committed feels like I'm implying that both partners had equal agency in the act of domestic violence.
Also, I have a challenge of fact and scope. Can I say they are in a domestically violent relationship based on only what I know from news stories? Do I have to say allegedly or reportedly if the criminal charges were dropped? Stating that the couples have been "in the news because of domestic violence" doesn't exactly capture what I'm trying to say. This doesn't even begin to get into the complications ahead of me when I begin having to describe who is primarily surviving versus primarily perpetrating abuse in the relationship. While I do not have my couples identified yet, I can't imagine I will be very far into it when I believe the abuser is the person the news media has identified as the victim. I am certainly going to have to establish clear language use (probably borrowing from the NWNetwork's fantastic framework) distinguishing between criminal language and advocacy language.
Even more, I have a challenge with scope of time. For instance, am I talking about single incidents or an event? Or, when writing about these couples, can I assume what is likely true in that the abuse occurs over the course of their relationship? News reports generally only focus on a specific moment in time and provide little context into the relationship as a whole, let alone examples of emotional abuse.
Oh, semantics......why is it always so complicated to talk about domestic violence?