Through the eyes of women: Cultural insights into living as a battered woman in Hawaii

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Abstract

This phenomenological study examined the impact of culture on the lived experience of women who were victims of intimate partner violence (IPV). The analysis of the data, using the method of Colaizzi, yielded three theme clusters: “living in misery”, “enduring terror and sadness”, and “no happy ending”. They revealed the essential structure of living in a violent situation. The women, from diverse cultural backgrounds, had similar individual responses to violence. Although on a societal level, responses to violence are unique, the results revealed that women's responses were very personal and common across cultures, demonstrating their fundamental humanness. This finding underscores the importance of providing caring, individual support when working with victims of IPV, even though various cultures might perceive IPV differently. An ecological model for understanding the responses to IPV includes both individual and group perspectives related to IPV and the factors that influence the behavior of both women and men.

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