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There Is Always a Way Out! Images of Place and Identity for Women Escaping Domestic Violence

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Representing Place and Territorial Identities in Europe

Part of the book series: GeoJournal Library ((GEJL,volume 127))

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Abstract

Bowstead presents images by women who have been forced to leave home due to domestic violence. Such forced internal migration—creating tens of thousands of internally displaced women and children—is generally under-recognised in a country like the UK. As well as emotional, legal and practical issues on such journeys, women are often dealing with a sense of displacement and issues of identity for themselves, and their children. In the research, three groups of women in different areas of London have used photography to communicate their experiences of home, identity and belonging whilst they stayed in women’s domestic violence refuges, and as they explored the area they had arrived in. The chapter discusses issues of belief, traditions and hope from thematic analysis of the photographs and captions, and reflects on the participatory process and creative methods as enabling women to communicate their senses of place, identity and belonging and their embodied strategies for resettlement and re-making home. It highlights how the visual enables women to narrate their experiences and insights, exploring the implications for women of their journeys, and the meaning for them of the places they have been and where they now find themselves.

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Notes

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    All participants are named with pseudonyms they chose.

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Acknowledgements

Thanks to the specialist domestic violence service provider Solace Women’s Aid, which assisted with arranging and carrying out the group work; and to all the women who shared their experiences, insights and images, including the ones quoted in this chapter:

Amy—Age 44, one son age 13. Canadian Pakistani ethnic origin.

Carol—Age 27, pregnant. Mixed White and Black African ethnic origin.

Daisy—Age 53, adult children. White British ethnic origin.

Favour—Age 36, one son age 9. Black African ethnic origin.

Kate—Age 31, one son age 3. White British ethnic origin.

Kelly—Age 33, one son age 6 months. White Polish ethnic origin.

Lee—Age 39, one daughter age 5. Mixed ethnic origin.

Lucy—Age 28, one daughter age 3. White British ethnic origin.

Lulu—Age 67, adult children. White Peruvian ethnic origin.

Marilyn—Age 48, adult son. English/Irish Traveller ethnic origin.

Qiana—Age 40, three sons and two daughters age 14-19. Black Caribbean ethnic origin.

Sarah—Age 25, two sons age 4 and 7. White Albanian ethnic origin.

Shalom—Age 31, one daughter age 2. Black African ethic origin.

This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) (grant number ES/I903275/1) and by a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (grant number PF160072).

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Correspondence to Janet C. Bowstead .

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Bowstead, J.C. (2021). There Is Always a Way Out! Images of Place and Identity for Women Escaping Domestic Violence. In: Banini, T., Ilovan, OR. (eds) Representing Place and Territorial Identities in Europe. GeoJournal Library, vol 127. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-66766-5_13

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-66766-5_13

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-66765-8

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-66766-5

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