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Battered Women Who Were "Being Killed and Survived It": Straight Talk From Survivors

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Findings from police reports and interviews with women who have survived an attempted domestic homicide revealed patterns in their experiences and sources of distress. The build-up in the year prior to the near-lethal attack involved tension from ongoing contact with an angry, controlling batterer. Most typically the perpetrator was an alcoholic or drug addict, a gun owner, and, if his victim had left him, her stalker. In the majority of cases, the victim had either left or announced that she was leaving the relationship. While he had often threatened her life and she feared him, she typically did not think him capable of killing her. She described the attack as shocking and terrifying, and she felt certain she was going to die. In the immediate aftermath, she received some support, but as time went by, she felt isolated and alone. Ultimately, the women became convinced that they must rely on their "inner strength" to get on with their lives.

Yes, he stabbed me in the—first he stabbed me in the stomach. And it was a big knife too. [Then] the arm and the throat, and at first, when he first did it, the first time the knife came, I thought, this is it. I'm gonna die—and I was just watching him kill me, that's all. I was alive, and I was watching myself be killed. ("Rita," #6)
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Keywords: ABUSE; DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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