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Messages to New Survivors by Longer-Term Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

Abstract

Long-term survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) are in a unique position to offer guidance and support to new survivors in a way that not only reflects their own experiences, but also the learned experience. The purpose of the present study was to examine IPV survivors’ messages of encouragement, advice, and hope for individuals who had recently left abusive relationships. The researchers utilized content analysis procedures to analyze participants’ (N = 263) responses to an open-ended question that was part of two larger mixed-methods studies. The research question was: What messages do long-term survivors of IPV want to send individuals who have recently left an abusive relationship? Findings illustrated participants’ messages to new survivors and were categorized into the following themes: (a) self-love and inherent strengths, (b) healing as a journey and process, (c) importance of social support, (d) leaving the abusive relationship behind, (e) focus on self-care, (f) guidance for new relationships, (g) practical issues and resources, (h) recommendations about children, (i) religious and spiritual messages, (j) obtaining education about IPV, and (k) advocacy and social action. This study filled a void in the literature and included the voices of survivors as contributors to the healing process of IPV. The findings illuminated clear themes that can be further explored and integrated into treatment approaches to assist individuals who have recently left abusive relationships.

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Correspondence to Paulina Flasch.

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Flasch, P., Fall, K., Stice, B. et al. Messages to New Survivors by Longer-Term Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence. J Fam Viol 35, 29–41 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-019-00078-8

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Keywords

  • Intimate partner violence
  • Survivors
  • Recovery
  • Healing
  • Post-traumatic growth
  • Abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Trauma