Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 18, Issue 10, pp 788–794 | Cite as

Could we have known? A qualitative analysis of data from women who survived an attempted homicide by an intimate partner

  • Christina Nicolaidis
  • Mary Ann Curry
  • Yvonne Ulrich
  • Phyllis Sharps
  • Judith McFarlane
  • Doris Campbell
  • Faye Gary
  • Kathryn Laughon
  • Nancy Glass
  • Jacquelyn Campbell

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To examine in-depth the lives of women whose partners attempted to kill them, and to identify patterns that may aid in the clinician’s ability to predict, prevent, or counsel about femicide or attempted femicide.

DESIGN: Qualitative analysis of 30 in-depth interviews.

SETTING: Six U.S. cities.

PARTICIPANTS: Thirty women, aged 17–54 years, who survived an attempted homicide by an intimate partner.

RESULTS: All but 2 of the participants had previously experienced physical violence, controlling behavior, or both from the partner who attempted to kill them. The intensity of the violence, control, and threats varied greatly, as did the number of risk factors measured by the Danger Assessment, defining a wide spectrum of prior abuse. Approximately half (14/30) of the participants did not recognize that their lives were in danger. Women often focused more on relationship problems involving money, alcohol, drugs, possessiveness, or infidelity, than on the risk to themselves from the violence. The majority of the attempts (22/30) happened around the time of a relationship change, but the relationship was often ending because of problems other than violence.

CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians should not be falsely reassured by a woman’s sense of safety, by the lack of a history of severe violence, or by the presence of few classic risk factors for homicide. Efforts to reduce femicide risk that are targeted only at those women seeking help for violence-related problems may miss potential victims.

Key words

intimate partner violence mortality attempted femicide qualitative research 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Russel D. Introduction. In: Radford J, Russell DEH, eds. Femicide: The Politics of Woman Killing. New York: Twayne; 1992:3–12.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Campbell JC, Runyon CW. Femicide: guest editors’ introduction. Homicide Stud. 1998;2:347–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Russell D. Introduction: the politics of femicide. In: Russell D, Harmes RA, eds. Femicide in Global Perspective. New York: Teachers College Press; 2001:3–11.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hoyert DL, Kochanek KD, Murphy SL. Deaths: final data for 1997. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 1999;47:28–37.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Grisso JA, Schwartz DF, Hirschinger N, et al. Violent injuries among women in an urban area. N Engl J Med. 1999;341:1899–905.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Puzone CA. National trends in intimate partner homicide. United States 1976–95. Violence Against Women. 2000;6:409–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kellermann A, Heron S. Firearms and family violence. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 1999;17:699–716, viii.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Greenfeld LA, Rand MR, Craven D, et al. Violence by intimates: Bureau of Justice Statistics Fact-Book Washington, DC: US Department of Justice (Publication NCJ-167237); 1998.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Arbuckle J, Olson L, Howard M, Brillman J, Anctil C, Sklar D. Safe at home? Domestic violence and other homicides among women in New Mexico. Ann Emerg Med. 1996;27:210–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bailey JE, Kellermann AL, Somes GW, Banton JG, Rivara FP, Rushforth NP. Risk factors for violent death of women in the home. Arch Intern Med. 1997;157:777–82.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Rennison M, Welchans S. (U.S. Department of Justice). Intimate partner violence. Bureau of Justice Statistics special report; May 2000.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Paulozzi LJ, Saltzman LE, Thompson MP, Holmgreen P. Surveillance for homicide among intimate partners—United States, 1981–98. MMWR CDC Surveill Summ. 2001;50:1–15.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Sharps PW, Koziol-McLain J, Campbell J, McFarlane J, Sachs C, Xu X. Health care providers’ missed opportunities for preventing femicide. Prev Med. 2001;33:373–80.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Moracco KE, Runyon CW, Butts J. Femicide in North Carolina. Homicide Stud. 1998;2:422–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pataki S. State of New York Commission on Domestic Violence Fatalities; 1997.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Campbell JC. Assessing dangerousness: violence by sexual offenders, batterers, and child abusers. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; 1995.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Campbell JC, Webster D, Koziol-McLain J, et al. Risk factors for femicide in abusive relationships: results from a multi-site case control study. Am J Public Health. 2003;93:1089–97.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ryan G, Bernard HR. Data management and analysis methods. In: Denzin NK, Lincoln YS, eds. Handbook of Qualitative Research. 2nd edn. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; 2000:769–802.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Koziol-McLain J, Campbell J, Webster D, Campbell D, Gary F. Femicide risk: reconciling attempted and actual models. Proceedings of the 2001 Annual Meeting of the Homicide Research Work Group, Orlando, FL; 2001.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Campbell JC. ‘If I can’t have you no one can’: power and control in homicide of female partners. In: Radford J, Russel DEH, eds. Femicide: The Politics of Woman Killing. New York: Twayne; 1992:99–113.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Block C, Christakos A. Intimate partner homicide in Chicago over 29 years. Crime Delinq. 1995;41:496–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Dutton DG, Browing JJ. Concern for power, fear of intimacy and aversive stimuli for wife abuse. In: Hotaling GT, Finkelhor D, Kirkpatrick JT, Straus MA, eds. Family Abuse and its Consequences: New Directions for Research. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage 1988;163–75.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Mason A, Blankenship V. Power and affiliation, motivation, stress and abuse in intimate relationships. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1987;52:203–10.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Nicolaidis C. The voices of survivors: documentary using patient narrative educate physicians about domestic violence. J Gen Intern Med. 2002;17:117–24.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    McFarlane JM, Campbell JC, Wilt S, Sachs CJ, Ulrich Y, Xu X. Stalking and intimate partner femicide. Homicide Stud. 1999;3:300–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Tjaden P, Thoennes N, on behalf of the US Department of Justice. Stalking in America: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey; 1998.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Campbell JC, Koziol-McLain J, Webster D, et al. Research results from a national study of intimate partner femicide: the danger assessment instrument. NIJ Briefs; 2002.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Weisz A, Tolman R, Saunders DG. Assessing the risk of severe domestic violence. The importance of survivor’s predictions. J Interpers Violence. 2000;15:75–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina Nicolaidis
    • 12
  • Mary Ann Curry
    • 12
  • Yvonne Ulrich
    • 1
  • Phyllis Sharps
    • 2
  • Judith McFarlane
    • 3
  • Doris Campbell
    • 4
  • Faye Gary
    • 5
  • Kathryn Laughon
    • 2
  • Nancy Glass
    • 12
    • 2
  • Jacquelyn Campbell
    • 2
  1. 1.the University of WashingtonSeattle
  2. 2.Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore
  3. 3.Texas Women’s UniversityHouston
  4. 4.the University of South FloridaTampa
  5. 5.the University of FloridaGainsville
  6. 6.School of NursingOregon Health and Sciences UniversityPortland
  7. 7.Johns Hopkins University School of NursingBaltimore
  8. 8.University of Washington School of Nursing, Psychosocial & Community HealthSeattle
  9. 9.Texas Women’s UniversityHouston
  10. 10.University of South Florida, College of MedicineTampa
  11. 11.University of FloridaGainesville
  12. 12.Division of General Internal Medicine and GeriatricsOregon Health and Science UniversityPortland

Personalised recommendations