Strategizing Safety: Theoretical Frameworks to Understand Women's Decision Making in the Face of Partner Violence and Social Inequities
journal contributionposted on 03.07.2018, 00:00 by AJ Velonis, N Daoud, F Matheson, J Woodhall-Melnik, S Hamilton-Wright, P O'Campo
Women in physically and psychologically abusive relationships face numerous decisions related to their safety: decisions that historically have been viewed by researchers and human service practitioners as related to individual or interpersonal factors, such as how they feel about their partner, what they (or those they are close to) think is best for their children, or whether they have a safe place to go to. Social and structural factors, such as poverty, sexism, and barriers related to disability, are either left out or viewed at their individual-level consequence, such as a woman's employment status. Using interview data and case studies from a larger study on housing instability, partner violence, and health, the authors apply ecological and macro-level theoretical models that go beyond the individual level to the stories of women who struggled with partner violence, arguing that it is critical to examine the large social and structural forces that impact women's lives if we are to understand the decisions women make when facing a violent partner.