The voices of older women who have experienced intimate partner violence
This research study examined the experiences of women, 50 years of age and older, impacted by intimate partner violence (IPV), and their experiences in seeking or receiving services from intimate partner violence service programs. This study incorporated concepts from two theories, social learning theory and the contextual model of family stress theory, to explore study participants' perceptions. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire. Seven semi-structured interviews were conducted using Zoom video conferencing. All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, coded, and analyzed for themes. Two research questions guided this study: What is the lived experience and meaning for women, ages 50 and older, impacted by IPV? What are the experiences of women, ages 50 and older, impacted by IPV, in seeking or receiving services from IPV programs? Five overarching themes evolved from analyzing the data. Three major themes and four sub-themes were associated with the first research question. The major themes included Abuse is Normal in Relationships, Family Loyalty, and Spiritual and Religious Influences. From the major theme of Family Loyalty, four sub-themes were developed, which included Divorce is Not an Option, Accommodate the Breadwinner Husband, Portraying a Facade of a Perfect Marriage, and Hope that the Abuser Will Change. Two major themes emerged associated with the second research question. These are Secrecy, Fear of Stigmatization and Shame, and Responsiveness from Domestic Violence Programs and Community Resources. The results are compared with previous studies, and implications are discussed. Also, limitations, recommendations for future research and policy are presented.