Reclaiming Our Spirits: Development and Pilot Testing of a Health Promotion Intervention for Indigenous Women Who Have Experienced Intimate Partner Violence

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Excerpt

Globally, Indigenous1 (Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, 1996b; United Nations, 2008) women are subjected to high rates of multiple forms of violence, including intimate partner violence (IPV), in the context of historical and ongoing colonization, neo‐colonization, and economic globalization (Anaya, 2012; Kubik, Bourassa, & Hampton, 2009; Kuokkanen, 2008; Valdez‐Santiago, Híjar, Rojas Martínez, Ávila Burgos, & Arenas Monreal, 2013). In Canada, Indigenous women are subject to higher rates of violence than women in the general population; these higher rates are related to historical and ongoing colonization and racism through multiple mechanisms, primarily socioeconomic vulnerability (Brownridge, 2008; Daoud et al., 2012; Daoud, Smylie, Urquia, Allan, & O'Campo, 2013; Kubik et al., 2009; Pedersen, Malcoe, & Pulkingham, 2013).
Health promotion interventions for women who experience violence are being developed and tested with promising results but have not been developed specifically for Indigenous women. Because they fail to account for the multiple traumas and ongoing racism Indigenous women experience (Herring, Spangaro, Lauw, & McNamara, 2013), mainstream services are often inappropriate or even harmful, deterring health care access, and resulting in misdiagnoses and under‐treatment for Indigenous women (Browne, 2007; Browne, Smye et al., 2011; Denison, Varcoe, & Browne, 2014; Firestone, Smylie, Maracle, Spiller, & O'Campo, 2014).
In this paper, we describe the adaptation, pilot testing, and revision of a health promotion intervention for urban Indigenous women who have experienced IPV. At the end of the study, the intervention being tested in the Aboriginal Women's Intervention (AWI) study was renamed by pilot participants “Reclaiming Our Spirits” (ROS). We conclude by describing the study currently testing the efficacy of the refined intervention.
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