Women Framing their Journey from Interpersonal Violence to Positive Change

  • Author / Creator
    Pryma, Patricia A
  • Many women and girls experience physical and sexual abuse in their lives and often are exposed to the abuse over a period of time. In this dissertation I explore the experiences of growth for women who have experienced interpersonal violence (IPV). Although under-reported due to the associated stigma, girls and women are frequently victims of IPV. The powerful dynamic of secrecy surrounding IPV ensures it remains hidden in the private sphere, where victims are held hostage by fear and trauma, shame and isolation, denial and emotional manipulation. Statistics and research report mostly the negative after effects of IPV which often obscures the strength, insight or positive growth experienced by women exposed to IPV. The main purpose of this study was to highlight women’s journey from IPV to positive growth answering the following research questions: How do women find strength and positive meaning in their lives after IPV? What helps them grow, what hinders them? Who was there for them? Who was not? A qualitative research study, using photovoice and a narrative inquiry approach, was undertaken with a group of eight women who had formed an advocacy group subsequent to their own experiences of IPV. By engaging in photography work, individual conversations and group discussions, important issues were brought forward highlighting participants experiences. As part of the research process I composed narrative accounts for each of the women and then looked across the accounts for resonant threads that spoke to my initial research questions. Using a weaving metaphor highlights the importance of the texture of the thread and the tension of the weave of diverse experiences. The warp threads can be seen as representing values and the influences of our families making up our core and are part of our intergenerational heritage. Hearing women’s journey of strength and growth following IPV helped to empower participants to talk about their experiences and lift the veil of silence on the topic of violence against women. This research helps to inform nurses and other healthcare provider’s practice of how best to support and encourage positive growth alongside women who have been exposed to IPV.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Berman, Helene (Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, University of Western Ontario)
    • Larsen, Denise (Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Psychology)
    • Caine, Vera (Facullty of Nursing)