Humboldt State University



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dc.contributor.advisor Virnoche, Mary en Berru, Melanie Renee en 2009-01-06T16:21:06Z en 2009-01-06T16:21:06Z en 2008-12 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description Thesis (M.A.)--Humboldt State University, Sociology, 2008 en
dc.description.abstract Every nine seconds a woman is battered by her male partner (Roberts and Roberts 2005:4). Many people ask, “Why do they stay?” In reality many women leave. My thesis will explore this very process. This thesis is an exploratory, qualitative study of the process of women leaving abusive relationships with a special interest in the various support, techniques, and experiences that aided them to flee. In addition, I have incorporated my journey in gaining access to my participants. I enrolled in a domestic violence training program where I documented my observations as a researcher attempting to gain access to the local domestic violence shelter. Finally, I interviewed seven women who left abusive partners. These interviews were one-on-one, semi-structured interviews. I utilized grounded theory to analyze the data. I rigorously searched for common themes that turned into categories and recorded them accordingly. Findings included identifying past barriers to leaving that included two types of fear; undifferentiated and differentiated fear, pressures of traditional gender socialization, and economic dependency on their partner, all supported by the existing literature. The women’s motivators for leaving included experiencing an escalation of abuse; others reflected on the relationship and realized they needed to make a change. Finally, one woman experienced her partner demanding that she leave their home. All women experienced support from either formal or informal sources. The agents of assistance helped the women in the various ways; rediscovery, validation and emotional support, some provided the women with securing their basic needs for them and their children. Some persons of support advocated for them with formal channels of assistance and some people and agencies employed distance between them and their partner. Throughout the violent relationships the women demonstrated resistance from either the violence they endured and/or their partner’s control. When the women left their partners they were able to rediscover themselves and look forward to new possibilities. While most of the women felt empowered and experienced a new-found freedom, one was paralyzed by her situation. While women experienced many sources of assistance, others ironically experienced a lack of help from organizations that were designed to help them. These “ironies of help” are explored. Finally, women had the opportunity to reach out to other women and share with them their insight on leaving abusive relationships. en
dc.language.iso en_US en
dc.publisher Humboldt State University en
dc.subject Wife battering en
dc.subject Woman battering en
dc.subject Abuse en
dc.subject Leaving en
dc.subject Domestic violence en
dc.subject Qualitative en
dc.subject Grounded theory en
dc.subject Interviews en
dc.subject Feminist theory en
dc.title Voices of strength: a qualitative study of the process of leaving domestic violence relationships en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.description.program Sociology en

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