Police officers and gendered violence: The response to gendered violence inside a masculine occupation in the United States




George, Brandy

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Police response to gendered violence is a key experiential node in the United States, where hegemonic masculinity and feminist initiatives intersect. In the last 40 years, family violence has become a crime that officers are mandated to respond to, while the definition of sexual assault has broadened. The purpose of this thesis is to explore police officers' understandings of masculinity in the context of their profession and their professional responses to gendered violence. Research occurred in a large metropolitan police department and a state-wide professional police training program. Methods included: surveys; interviews with officers, police administrators, community advocates, and first responder trainers; and participant observation with patrol officers and detectives during first responder training and actual first responder situations. Specifically, I documented how officers, administrators, and trainers produced normative understandings of gender and violence and, also, how these understandings varied with respect to gender, academic and professional experience, and position inside police departments. For interview data and fieldnotes, I used textual analysis to identify themes and relationships among them. Analysis was guided by three primary questions: (1) do conceptualizations of gender among police officers reflect their professional response to gendered violence, (2) how do definitions of gender correlate, if at all, to their professional identities as police officers and first responders to gendered violence and; (3) how can differences.


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Domestic Violence, Police, Rape, Response, Sexual Assault, Violence