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Women Framing their Journey from Interpersonal Violence to Positive Change Open Access


Other title
Domestic Violence
Women and violence
Interpersonal Violence
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Pryma, Patricia A
Supervisor and department
Hegadoren, Kathleen (Faculty of Nursing) supervisor
Examining committee member and department
Larsen, Denise (Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Psychology)
Berman, Helene (Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, University of Western Ontario)
Caine, Vera (Facullty of Nursing)
Faculty of Nursing

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Many women and girls experience physical and sexual abuse in their lives and often are exposed to the abuse over a period of time. In this dissertation I explore the experiences of growth for women who have experienced interpersonal violence (IPV). Although under-reported due to the associated stigma, girls and women are frequently victims of IPV. The powerful dynamic of secrecy surrounding IPV ensures it remains hidden in the private sphere, where victims are held hostage by fear and trauma, shame and isolation, denial and emotional manipulation. Statistics and research report mostly the negative after effects of IPV which often obscures the strength, insight or positive growth experienced by women exposed to IPV. The main purpose of this study was to highlight women’s journey from IPV to positive growth answering the following research questions: How do women find strength and positive meaning in their lives after IPV? What helps them grow, what hinders them? Who was there for them? Who was not? A qualitative research study, using photovoice and a narrative inquiry approach, was undertaken with a group of eight women who had formed an advocacy group subsequent to their own experiences of IPV. By engaging in photography work, individual conversations and group discussions, important issues were brought forward highlighting participants experiences. As part of the research process I composed narrative accounts for each of the women and then looked across the accounts for resonant threads that spoke to my initial research questions. Using a weaving metaphor highlights the importance of the texture of the thread and the tension of the weave of diverse experiences. The warp threads can be seen as representing values and the influences of our families making up our core and are part of our intergenerational heritage. Hearing women’s journey of strength and growth following IPV helped to empower participants to talk about their experiences and lift the veil of silence on the topic of violence against women. This research helps to inform nurses and other healthcare provider’s practice of how best to support and encourage positive growth alongside women who have been exposed to IPV.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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