An assessment of attitudes and experiences with intimate partner abuse among Latina women in North Texas
Burke, Sloane Christine
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Using the grounded theory method, a substantive theory of Latina intimate partner abuse was developed. Latina women above the age of 18, who by self-report were survivors of intimate partner abuse, were recruited via flyers distributed at various locations such as shelters, community gatekeepers, churches, Latina nursing associations, a local Spanish newspaper, and universities. Themes emerged from constant comparative analysis of in-depth, semi-structured one-on-one interview transcripts with 15 Latina survivors of intimate partner abuse living in North Texas. Based on the themes, the theory Sobrevivientes: encontrar el valor de irse Survivors: Finding the courage to leave emerged. Courage to leave included 5 phases, the pursuit, the abuse begins, risk factors associated and cultural considerations, the cycle continues or escalates, and escape and a new life. The basic social psychological problem encountered was self-sacrifice. Because the women wanted what was best for their families and usually had limited resources, both financially and socially and a great deal of fear, they continued to stay in the abusive cycle. In addition, the women had fear if they left they could not provide for their children, the abusive partner would kill them, or they would lose custody of their children. By self-sacrificing their own happiness and needs in the relationship, in an effort to uphold their cultural values and norms, the women were able to redefine their situation as livable, tolerable, understandable, reasonable and survivable. By internally combining courage and strength they were able to seek a safe place for themselves, and more importantly from their perspective, their children. With the external support of friends, family, law enforcement and shelters these women were able to begin a new chapter in their lives. Through the process of finding the courage to leave, the Latina women interviewed attempted to redirect their lives and begin a new life, free from abuse. Recommendations for outreach and prevention strategies are discussed.