Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 237-253

First online:

Victims With Voices: How Abused Women Conceptualize the Problem of Spousal Abuse and Implications for Intervention and Prevention

  • Robin L. NabiAffiliated withDepartment of Communication, University of Arizona
  • , Jennifer R. HornerAffiliated withAnnenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

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Working from the conceptualization of abused women as both victims of and experts on spousal abuse, this study compares how women who have been abused, and how men and women with either less direct or no experience with spousal abuse, understand the problem and their beliefs about how it should be addressed. Results of a telephone survey of Philadelphia adults (N = 1,850) indicate that although in many ways abused women's opinions regarding domestic violence do not differ from those of nonabused women, abused women are more likely to believe that society gives tacit consent to abusive behavior through its silence and that talking openly about the problem will make it easier to solve. These findings suggest that initiatives aimed at changing the social norm around domestic violence may assist in both intervention and prevention efforts.

victims spouse abuse domestic violence attitudes beliefs