Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 27, Issue 7, pp 635–645 | Cite as

The Social Context of Woman-to-Woman Intimate Partner Abuse (WWIPA)

  • Courtney McDonaldEmail author


Forty women who had been in abusive adult, intimate relationships with other women were interviewed. Their life experiences leading up to these abusive relationships were qualitatively examined to determine how heterosexism created a social context in which women were left vulnerable to abuse and dependent on their abusers. Childhood abuse, negative coming out experiences, lack of a queer community, and substance/alcohol abuse contributed to survivors’ vulnerability to abuse by making them socially isolated from a support system and dependent on their partners to reconstruct a sense of family.


Lesbian Childhood abuse Substance abuse Heterosexism 



The author would like to thank Drs. Joanne Belknap, Hillary Potter, Celeste Montoya-Kirk, Matthew C. Brown, and Bronwen Lichtenstein for their guidance with this project, and the reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology/SociologyGeorgia Southwestern State UniversityAmericusUSA

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