Intimate partner violence: The lived experience of single women




Thomas, Laura

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The purpose of this study was to examine, interpret, and understand single women's experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV). The study sought to find out if differences existed between the experiences of single women with IPV and other groups of women who have previously been studied. The question that guided the study was: What is the lived experience of single women age 24 and older who experience IPV? The study involved face-to-face audio recorded interviews which were analyzed using Diekelemann, Allen, and Tanner's (1989) seven step approach to phenomenological data analysis. An interpretative phenomenological approach was used to gain understanding of the women's experience of IPV. Feminist inquiry focused the study on the woman's experience and perspective in the world. Findings revealed similarities between the experiences of single women and married and cohabitating women, adolescents, and college-aged women. The overall pattern in the women's responses was control and manipulation by the abuser. The themes included not feeling safe, poor communication and conflict resolution skills, caretaking, remembering the abuser's good qualities, blame and self-blame, reciprocal violence, and a history of abuse. The themes were closely tied to the reasons women stayed in the relationship and reasons they left. The experiences of women in same sex relationships showed similarities to those of the heterosexual women in the study except that more women in same sex relationships fought back and were open about reciprocal violence and retaliation in their relationships. The findings from the study may be used to inform nursing practice, nursing education, and future research in IPV.



Nursing, Women's studies, Social sciences, Health and environmental sciences, Intimate partner violence, Single women