Feminist Review

, Volume 82, Issue 1, pp 27–49 | Cite as

independence, dependency and interdependence: struggles and resistances of minoritized women within and on leaving violent relationships

  • Khatidja Chantler
Themed Article


This paper draws on research conducted in Manchester, UK, examining service responses to African, African-Caribbean, Irish, Jewish and South Asian women experiencing domestic violence (Batsleer et al., 2002). Popular discourses of domestic violence, which also feature in services, are underpinned by ‘victim-blaming’ together with an assumption that women only show agency and control when they leave violent relationships, and/or what are constructed as oppressive minority cultures. Contrary to these perceptions, firstly, I note competing notions ascribed to ‘independence’. Secondly, I highlight the strategies of resistance used by minoritized women whether they stay, or leave, abusive relationships, and examine the inter-relationships between gender, class and culture. Thirdly, I outline the level and type of support on offer, including key barriers and dilemmas to accessing sensitive and relevant services that respond to women's positions of minoritization, focusing particularly on refuge or shelter provision as they offer one of the key points of transition for women using domestic violence services. Lastly, I indicate some positive steps that can be taken by helping agencies to respond more appropriately to minoritized women facing domestic violence.


minoritization independence resistance refuges ethics of care 



Thanks to Erica Burman for her insightful comments and suggestions, which have contributed to shaping this article.


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© Feminist Review Ltd 2006

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  • Khatidja Chantler

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