JOURNAL ARTICLE

Women's experiences of their violent behavior in an intimate partner relationship

Aune Flinck, Eija Paavilainen
Qualitative Health Research 2010, 20 (3): 306-18
20054041
The purpose of this study was to describe women's perceptions of their violent behavior in a heterosexual partnership. The study followed the traditions of Husserlian descriptive phenomenology and the philosophy of existential phenomenology. Twenty-four volunteer Finnish women, aged 19 to 58 years, with a history of different manifestations of intimate partner violence (IPV) participated in open-ended interviews. The data were analyzed by the method developed by Colaizzi. The findings revealed that some of the women who opposed all violence on ethical grounds did not label their behavior as violent; some others minimized or justified their violent behavior. The findings offer professional insight into women's violent behavior and call for a readjustment in approaches to work in the area. Prevention and early identification of IPV require knowledge of the various manifestations and individual meanings of violence. Helping methods should provide women with the opportunity to talk about their abusive behavior and to confront and address their feelings of guilt, disappointment, and shame.

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