Abuse of women in domestic relationships has become an epidemic. Research studies have documented that abuse does not end when a woman with children leaves the abuser but, in fact, the danger increases. A father's legal right to custody of and access to his children and the children's bond with their father prevent a woman from truly breaking free of her abuser. Theoretical literature has addressed how custody and access can serve as a means for an abuser to continue his abuse and expose his children to ongoing abuse and discord. Research on how custody and access issues are affecting abused women is limited. Key details about this phenomenon are not known. Hence, a research study using the qualitative methodology of phenomenology was conducted on abused women's experiences with custody and access and the ongoing exposure to abusive ex-partners. Six single mothers who had left abusive relationships and were at the time sharing custody of and/or access to their children with their abusive ex-partners participated in the study. Unstructured, non-directive interviews were conducted. Direction for analysis was taken from the specific steps outlined by Giorgi. Data analysis revealed that all of the women were living in great fear for their safety and that of their children. The ongoing danger and stress of living with the restrictions of the law took its toll on the women and ultimately affected their physical health and psychological well-being. The women described their experiences as having four components: (1) safety--living with ongoing danger; (2) stress--living with the restrictions of the law and the legal system; (3) coping--social support systems; and (4) to heal and move forward in life.
The aim of the study is to deepen the understanding of abused women's vulnerability in relation to how the abuse and encounters with health care professionals affect life. A further aim is to highlight abused women's vulnerability with a caring science perspective.
Experience of abuse has consequences for the mental health of women and girls. Abused women may experience health care as unsupportive, and as a result, often chose not to disclose their experiences of abuse.
The results of two qualitative empirical studies were analysed along with a phenomenological meaning analysis in accordance with the methodological principles of Reflective Lifeworld Research.
Living one's life with experiences of abuse implies vulnerability, which can prevent abused women from achieving good health. This vulnerability results from insecurity regarding identity, along with the sense that one could have been a different individual if it were not for the abuse and thereby have a more fair chance in life. Being cared for within general psychiatric care could further increase this vulnerability. The healthcare professional's ability to care for the women who have experienced abuse leads to either an encounter of trust or else further suffering for the women.
A lifeworld-oriented caring science perspective as a foundation for care can contribute to care for abused women which reaches the existential dimensions of their vulnerability and vulnerable life situation.
It is evident that healthcare professionals should deepen their understanding of how abused women live, within a general psychiatric context. This study enables a deeper understanding of abused women's vulnerability in relation to how the abuse and encounters with healthcare professionals affect life.
Hospital-based partner assault clinics are a relatively recent addition to the community response to partner violence. In this study, 66% of 111 women attending hospital clinics for partner assault were physically injured and 43% reported death threats. Few concurrently used other services (shelters or police) and most relied on female friends and relatives for help. Many participants who currently lived with the perpetrator were contemplating leaving but only a third had made plans to do so. Participants faced an unusually high risk of future assault, according to both victim interview using the ODARA actuarial risk assessment and their own perceptions. Findings imply an important role for partner assault clinics and the feasibility of the victim service sector's using the same actuarial risk assessments as the criminal justice system.
Despite the negative physical and mental health outcomes of sexual assault, a minority of sexually assaulted women seek immediate post-assault medical and legal services. This study identified the number and types of acute forensic medical procedures used by women presenting at a hospital-based urgent care centre between 1997 and 2001 within 72 hours following a reported sexual assault. The study also examined assault and non-assault factors associated with the use of procedures. It was hypothesized that assault characteristics resembling the stereotype of rape would be associated with the use of more procedures. The multiple regression indicated that injury severity, coercion severity, homelessness, and delay in presentation were significantly associated with the number of procedures received. Findings provide partial support for the hypothesis that post-assault procedures would be associated with the stereotype of rape, and highlight homeless women as a group particularly at risk for not receiving adequate medical treatment following a sexual assault.
In this qualitative study with women who have left abusive heterosexual relationships, the informants labeling themselves stupid is investigated. Several different meanings ascribed to stupidity were found, with feeling stupid for allowing oneself to be mistreated and for staying in the abusive relationship as main themes. Four frames for interpreting the findings are presented: abusive relationship dynamics, gendered shame, the gender-equality-oriented Nordic context, and leaving processes. It is proposed that feeling- and labeling oneself-stupid is an expression of gendered shame or, more explicitly, of battered shame.
A behavioral analysis was conducted of various eating disorder behaviors and their relationship with the lifetime use of different substances in a community-based sample of young adult women, aged 18-25 years. Women with particular eating disorder behaviors were selected from the 517 women who completed the Women's Health Survey. Analyses compared the frequencies of lifetime use of a range of licit and illicit substances as well as the abuse of prescription medications between each of the eating disorder groups and the normal control group. Results showed that as eating disorder behaviors became more severe, or were clustered together, the number of substance classes used, increased. Severe bingeing was consistently associated with alcohol use. Dieting and purging, with or without bingeing, was associated with the use of stimulants/ amphetamines and the abuse of sleeping pills. The results of this study suggest that the co-occurrence between subclinical levels of eating disorders and the use and abuse of a wide range of substances should inform assessment and treatment planning for adult women.
STUDY OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between violence and abuse suffered by women during childhood or adult life, and the manifestation of a high level of common physical and mental symptoms. DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: A questionnaire was sent to a random population of women, 40 to 50 years of age, living in a rural Swedish community. The response rate was 81.7 per cent (397 women). Odds ratios were used to estimate bivariate associations between the experience of violence/abuse and common symptoms. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to test for confounding and effect modification. MAIN RESULTS: The experience of violence or abuse during childhood was reported by 32.2 per cent of the women, while 15.6 per cent reported being abused as an adult. In both cases, these experiences reached statistical significance in their association with a high level of common symptoms (OR=1.67; 95% CI 1. 08, 2.49 and OR=2.26; 95%CI 1.30, 3.92, respectively). The associations between childhood and as well adult experience of violence or abuse and common symptoms were largely independent of potential confounders such as unemployment, job strain, social support, and sense of coherence. The combined exposure to adult violence/abuse and low psychosocial coping resources, such as low social support or a low level of sense of coherence, considerably increased the odds ratio for common symptoms and a synergistic effect seemed to exist. CONCLUSION: Violence or abuse experience is an important factor when considering illness manifestations in terms of common symptoms in women 40 to 50 years of age.
Epidemiology and Global Health, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden; Department of Nursing, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden; Umeå Centre of Gender Studies, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden; email@example.com.
Women subjected to intimate partner violence (IPV) experience different forms of abuse. Sexual violence is often under-reported because physically abused women, in particular, might see forced sex as an obligatory part of the sexual interplay. Accordingly, abused women have less sexual autonomy and experience unplanned pregnancies more often than other women.
To describe and analyse nine Swedish women's retrospective stories about IPV with a focus on power and coping strategies as intimate partners, particularly regarding experiences of sex, contraception, and becoming pregnant. Design : Nine qualitative interviews were carried out with women who had been subjected to very severe violence in their intimate relationships and during at least one pregnancy. The stories were analysed using 'Narrative method' with the emphasis on the women's lived experiences.
Despite the violence and many contradictory and ambivalent feelings, two of the women described having sex as desirable, reciprocal and as a respite from the rest of the relationship. The other seven women gave a negative and totally different picture, and they viewed sex either as obligatory or as a necessity to prevent or soothe aggression or referred to it as rape and as something that was physically forced upon them. The women's descriptions of their pregnancies ranged from being carefully planned and mostly wanted to completely unwelcome and including flawed contraceptive efforts with subsequent abortions.
Women subjected to IPV have diverse and complex experiences that have effects on all parts of the relationship. Intimacy might for some turn into force and rape, but for others sex does not necessarily exclude pleasure and desire and can be a haven of rest from an otherwise violent relationship. Accordingly, women may tell stories that differ from the ones expected as 'the typical abuse story', and this complexity needs to be recognized and dealt with when women seek healthcare, especially concerning contraceptives, abortions, and pregnancies.
Cites: Violence Against Women. 2007 Mar;13(3):285-9717322272
Cites: Fam Process. 1990 Dec;29(4):343-642286245
Cites: Violence Against Women. 2006 Jun;12(6):588-60416707813
Cites: Can J Psychiatry. 2005 Nov;50(13):817-2216483114
Cites: Arch Intern Med. 2006 Jan 9;166(1):22-3716401807
Cites: West J Nurs Res. 2005 Nov;27(7):802-24; discussion 825-3016275702
The adverse physical and psychological sequelae of intimate partner violence (IPV) are well documented, as are government initiatives in Canada since the early 1990s to address the problem through public awareness campaigns and service enhancement programs. While these initiatives have been designed to encourage abused women to come forward, there has been little research examining changes over time in help-seeking rates among this group. To fill this void, we compared data from two large Canadian population-based, cross-sectional telephone surveys: the 1993 Violence Against Women Survey (1993-VAWS) and the 1999 General Social Survey (1999-GSS). Among women who reported physical and/or sexual violence by a current or previous partner, we examined differences in rates of disclosure of abuse, help-seeking by type of service, and barriers to service use. Abused women in the 1999-GSS were significantly more likely than those in the 1993-VAWS to have reported disclosing a violent incident(s) to a family member (66.4% v. 43.9%), friend or neighbor (67.4% v. 45.4%), doctor or nurse (31.9% v. 23.0%), and/or minister, priest, or cleric (11.5% v. 7.3%). The 1999-GSS cohort was also more likely to have presented to a shelter or transition house (11.0% v. 7.8%), a crisis center (17.3% v. 4.2%), a counselor or psychologist (39.1% v. 14.7%), a women's center (11.2% v. 3.4%), and/or a community or family center (15.4% v. 4.7%). Among those women who did not seek help, fewer in the 1999-GSS reported that they did not know of any services (6.4% v. 17.0%), or that services were not available (0.8% v. 14.5%). Although we found a demonstrable increase in the numbers of abused women seeking help, overall, rates of service utilization were still low as late as 1999, highlighting the importance of continued government commitment to funding IPV initiatives.