The Meaning of Empowerment Among Women Intimate Partner Violence Victims: a Narrative-Photovoice Study



The rising number of atrocities against women by their partners raise a serious need to revisit the way researchers, health practitioners, and educators are approaching this issue. A review of literature regarding protocols used to help victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) revealed the significant role of empowerment theories and frameworks in the work of IPV. However, the review also revealed that the present models of empowerment are based on largely untested theories. I did not find research concerning the meaning of empowerment to women IPV victims. Hence, this study was an initial step to bridge the gap in the literature regarding the meaning of empowerment to the women such models are attempting to serve. I used narrative- photovoice methodology, which features individual narrative interviews and focus group narrative interview to gather data. Inclusion criteria was: (a) women, (b) victims of intimate partner violence, (c) receiving services at the facility, (d) 18 years and above in age, and (e) able to understand and speak English. Twelve women consented to participate; six completed the study. Overarching themes include: Breakthrough, Catalysts in Resilience, Safe Spaces for IPV Victims, Self-Care, Becoming Aware and Developing Skills, Perceived Control and Having a Choice, The Role of Systems, and The Need for Empowering Institutional and Civic Infrastructure. Implications of this research project, including its enriched definition of empowerment, population-specific interventions, and more tangible and concrete evaluation, are discussed.



intimate partner violence, meaning of empowerment, narrative-photovoice methodology, participation in research, qualitative research, women empowerment



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