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"I'm Over It": Survivor Narratives After Woman-to-Woman Partner Abuse

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This article uses qualitative data gathered through semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 40 women in the United Kingdom who identified as having experienced abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, and/or financial) in a previous same-sex relationship. Participants' narratives of "life after abuse" are examined through two lenses; the first contributing to understandings of the varied and enduring material, psychological and relational impacts of abuse, and the second offering insights into the cultural values that shape such narratives. Applying Arthur Frank's (1995) illness narratives, this article argues that narratives emphasizing recovery ("restitution") or transformation ("quest") are culturally privileged over a "chaos" narrative. It also proposes a fourth narrative of "active recovery." The article concludes that recovery from partner abuse is neither a linear process nor one guaranteed to reach an end point. Further research is needed to understand how to better support survivors of partner abuse to move toward recovery.
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Keywords: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; ILLNESS NARRATIVES; LESBIAN; LONG-TERM IMPACTS; RECOVERY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2013

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