Hear My Cry: Breaking the Code of Silence around Intimate Partner Violence among Black Women in and beyond Midlife

Authors

  • Ingrid Waldron McMaster University
  • Eileigh Storey MacDougall
  • Lori E. Weeks Dalhousie University

Keywords:

Black women, intimate partner violence, midlife, Nova Scotia, transformative justice

Abstract

There is a knowledge gap about how the intersections of gender, race, culture, age, income, social class, and other identities shape Black women’s experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV). In this qualitative study, we utilized an intersectional approach to examine how IPV is experienced and managed by racialized women, and in particular, our focus was to explore the IPV experiences of Black Nova Scotian women in and beyond midlife and their experiences of seeking support. Participant recruitment was predictably challenging, but we were able to collect in-depth interview data from a Black woman who identified as being in and beyond midlife and who had experienced IPV in the past and from three people who provided support to Black women in a paid capacity. An interpretive narrative approach was utilized to identify five dominant themes: descriptions of the experiences of IPV for Black women; strategies for coping with IPV; strategies in supporting Black women experiencing IPV; barriers in accessing support; and challenges in the delivery of support. The knowledge gained through this research provides important insights about the experiences, barriers faced, and how to address these challenges for Black women who experience IPV in and beyond midlife.

Author Biographies

Ingrid Waldron, McMaster University

Ingrid Waldron is Professor and HOPE Chair in Peace and Health in the Global Peace and Social Justice Program in the Department of History in the Faculty of Humanities at McMaster University. Her research explores the health and mental health impacts of inequality in Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities. Her book, There's Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous and Black Communities, was published in 2018 and was turned into a Netflix documentary in 2020 by actor Elliot Page. Her journal publications have explored Black women's experiences with mental illness and help-seeking, women's experiences managing low-income and poverty, and the traumatizing aftereffects of anti-Black police violence.

Eileigh Storey MacDougall

Eileigh Storey-MacDougall is a Social Worker in Halifax, Nova Scotia. After completing her Bachelor and Master of Social Work at Dalhousie University, she spent several years working with women and trans folks and their children who were experiencing homelessness. She has worked with older adults in both clinical and community settings, and acted as a board member for a registered charity dedicated to supporting older adults in the community. She has supported several research projects focused on the experiences of older adults. She continues to work as a Registered Social Worker (RSW) in Nova Scotia.

Lori E. Weeks, Dalhousie University

Lori E. Weeks a professor in the School of Nursing and holds a cross-appointment in Gender and Women’s Studies at Dalhousie University. Lori has expertise in aging and family studies and uses quantitative and qualitative methods to examine care and support services for older adults and their caregivers and factors affecting the health of seniors. Her research often focuses on the needs of vulnerable older adults both in the community and in long-term care homes. She has conducted research on the abuse of older adults with particular focuses on supports for older women experiencing intimate partner violence. Lori is a member of the Abuse and Neglect of Older Adults Research Team in the Maritimes, a research team affiliated with the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research at the University of New Brunswick

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Published

2021-07-08