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Breaking the silence : violence in the home : the women's perspective

Ruddle, Helen and O'Connor, Joyce (1992) Breaking the silence : violence in the home : the women's perspective. National College of Industrial Relations, Dublin. ISBN 1874075018

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This Report describes the second part of a two-part research project carried out on violence against women in the home. The first study - Seeking a Refuge from Violence : The Adapt Experience - focuses on the Adapt Refuge in the Mid-Western Health Board and on the women who use its services. The first study provides a profile of the clients of the Refuge in terms of their background, age, marital status, number of children and socio-economic circumstances. It presents an outline of the historical development of the Adapt Refuge and describes patterns of usage of the Refuge services. The Report raises significant issues with regard to the nature of the violence experienced and the needs of the women who are victimised. These issues are further explored in the second study described in the present Report.

The Report of the second study focuses on the experiences and reactions of women who are, or have been, victims of violence in the home from their male partners. The primary purpose of this second study is to provide an opportunity for women who have been victimised to describe what their lives have been like and what their main needs are from their perspective. The emphasis is not on objective fact-gathering but on the qualitative exploration of the women's felt experience. Based on in-depth interviews with 41 women from the Adapt Refuge, the Report describes the unfolding of violence in intimate male/female relationships, the nature and pattern of assaultive incidents and the impact which violence had on its victims. While comprehensive analysis and understanding of violence involves study both of perpetrators and victims, the focus of this particular study is on the perspective of the women who suffer the violence. An understanding of these women's experiences cannot, of course, provide all the answers to the problem of violence in the home but does provide an essential starting-point.

The pain and suffering exhibited in the accounts of the women who participated in the study were harrowing for the researchers to listen to and will, no doubt, be also difficult and troubling to read. The painfulness of their experiences has meant that many women attempt to repress or deny the extent of the violence they suffer because they fear they will not be believed. It is vital, however, that we acknowledge and attempt to overcome our incredulity and our own distress, fear and vulnerability and really listen to what the victims of violence are saying because it is only through understanding the extent and seriousness of the problem that appropriate responses can be developed for the long-term goal of ending violence. It is also important that the qualities of courage, perseverance, dignity and caring exhibited by the women of the study are acknowledged and valued for these are the strengths that can be exploited in enabling women to terminate violent relationships. The purpose of this study is to provide data on the nature of violence against women in the home which can form the beginnings of an understanding of this problem in the Irish context.

Item Type: Book
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman > Domestic Violence
Divisions: Policy Research Centre
Depositing User: Caoimhe Ní Mhaicín
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2014 15:13
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2014 15:13

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