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Moving From Surviving to Thriving: African American Women Recovering From Intimate Male Partner Abuse

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In this ethnographic study, a womanist framework was used to investigate the process of recovery from domestic violence. A purposive sample of African American women (N = 21) was interviewed to gain understanding of their recovery process. Survivorship-thriving was the overarching process. Six themes related to survivorship-thriving were identified: (a) Sharing secrets/Shattering silences—sharing information about the abuse with others; (b) Reclaiming the Self—defining oneself separate from abuser and society; (c) Renewing the Spirit—nurturing and restoring the spiritual and emotional self; (d) Self-healing through Forgiveness—forgiving their partners for the abuse and violence; (e) Finding Inspiration in the Future—looking to the future with optimism; and (f) Self-generativity by Engaging in Social Activism—participating in prosocial activities to promote social change. This article presents recovery oriented towards survivorship—thriving as a transformative process overall characterized by resilience and self-generativity. This represents more than just recovery as return to homeostasis or "back to normal." Implications for survivor-informed practices are included.
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Keywords: ABUSE; AFRICAN AMERICAN; BLACK; DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; INTIMATE PARTNER; SURVIVOR

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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