Sexual and Domestic Abuse

  • Ronald SchleiferEmail author
  • Jerry B. VannattaEmail author


This chapter offers an example of the vicarious experience of people who are subject to sexual abuse and literary representations of violence more generally. Many such patients do not readily disclose the abusive nature of the physical ailments they present to healthcare workers, and the engagement with such experience in literary narratives, as Dr. Vannatta narrates in the vignette to this chapter, allows providers to more fully understand and engage with their patients. In addition to Dr. Vannatta’s vignette of encountering a long-time patient who presents, but does not describe, symptoms of physical violence, the chapter offers Edgar Allan Poe’s harrowing story “Berenice” and W. B. Yeats’s meditation on violence in “Leda and the Swan.”


  1. Doyle, Roddy. 1996. The Woman Who Walked into Doors. New York: Viking.Google Scholar
  2. Schleifer, Ronald. 2018b. The Aesthetics of Pain: Semiotics and Affective Comprehension in Music, Literature, and Sensate Experience. Configurations 26 (2018): 471–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OklahomaNormanUSA
  2. 2.Oklahoma City UniversityOklahoma CityUSA

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