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Abused women’s use of social support in a transition house 1986

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ABUSED WOMEN'S USE OF SOCIAL SUPPORT IN A TRANSITION HOUSE By ANGELA DEIDRE HENDERSON B.S.N., The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1981 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (School of Nursing) We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the r e q u i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August, 1986 (&) Angela Deidre Henderson, 1986 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and study. I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the head o f my department or by h i s or her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s understood t h a t copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be allowed without my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department of The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 DE-6 (3/81) A b s t r a c t The purpose of t h i s study was to determine: What are women's pe r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r need f o r s o c i a l support i n a t r a n s i t i o n house? and, In what way do women's past experiences i n c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n f l u e n c e t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r use of s o c i a l support? The p a r t i c i p a n t s were e i g h t p h y s i c a l l y abused women who were i n the process of l e a v i n g a v i o l e n t r e l a t i o n s h i p . Data were c o l l e c t e d i n a t o t a l of 19 i n t e r v i e w s conducted i n the p a r t i c i p a n t s ' homes a f t e r they l e f t the t r a n s i t i o n house. A phenomenological r e s e a r c h methodology was used because t h i s approach allowed the women to e x p l o r e , i n depth and i n t h e i r own words, the meanings t h e i r experiences held f o r them. The data were analyzed as they were c o l l e c t e d , and r e c u r r i n g themes were i d e n t i f i e d and v a l i d a t e d by the p a r t i c i p a n t s . A n a l y s i s of these themes l e d to the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of a process c a l l e d Framework f o r Use of S o c i a l Support. Another major f i n d i n g was that women had d i f f e r e n t needs, depending on what stage they had reached i n the process. F i n d i n g s a l s o supported the c o n c l u s i o n that women's past experiences i n c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s had an impact on the way they used s o c i a l support. The l a s t major f i n d i n g was that the c h i l d r e n of these women were not having t h e i r needs met du r i n g t h e i r time i n the t r a n s i t i o n house and that t h i s r e p r e s e n t s a major d e f i c i t i n the s e r v i c e . i i i Table of Contents A b s t r a c t i i L i s t of Tables v i i Acknowledgements v i i i CHAPTER ONE Background and S i g n i f i c a n c e 1 Overview 1 Problem Statement 5 Purpose 6 O b j e c t i v e s 6 D e f i n i t i o n of Terms 6 Assumptions 7 L i m i t a t i o n s 7 E t h i c s and Human Rights 8 Summary 9 CHAPTER TWO L i t e r a t u r e Review 10 Overview 10 Func t i o n s of a T r a n s i t i o n House 10 I n t e r p e r s o n a l Problems Among T r a n s i t i o n House Residents 12 F a c t o r s Common to the Experience of Abused Wives 14 S o c i a l I s o l a t i o n 14 i v L o w S e l f - E s t e e m 17 L e a r n e d H e l p l e s s n e s s 19 S o c i a l S u p p o r t , P a s t E x p e r i e n c e a n d A b i l i t y t o C o p e 20 S u m m a r y 26 C H A P T E R T H R E E M e t h o d o l o g y 27 I n t r o d u c t i o n 28 P h e n o m e n o l o g i c a l M e t h o d o l o g y 28 M e t h o d o l o g i c a l C o n c e r n s 30 S a m p l i n g 30 V a l i d i t y a n d R e l i a b i l i t y 31 D i f f e r e n c e s i n D e f i n i t i o n 32 S e l e c t i o n o f P a r t i c i p a n t s 32 C r i t e r i a f o r S e l e c t i o n 32 S e l e c t i o n P r o c e d u r e s 33 D a t a C o l l e c t i o n 34 D a t a A n a l y s i s 35 S u m m a r y 36 C H A P T E R F O U R A n a l y s i s a n d D i s c u s s i o n o f D a t a 37 I n t r o d u c t i o n 37 D e s c r i p t i o n o f P a r t i c i p a n t s 38 D e s c r i p t i o n o f N o n - P a r t i c i p a n t s 40 P a s t E x p e r i e n c e s i n C l o s e R e l a t i o n s h i p s 42 V R e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h F a m i l y of O r i g i n 42 R e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h F r i e n d s 48 R e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h Husbands 52 Cu m u l a t i v e E f f e c t s of a l l E x p e r i e n c e s i n C l o s e R e l a t i o n s h i p s 57 S o c i a l i s o l a t i o n 58 Low s e l f - e s t e e m 60 Learned h e l p l e s s n e s s 63 Readiness t o Leave . 65 Women's Need f o r S o c i a l Support i n t h e T r a n s i t i o n House 69 The Need t o T a l k 69 The Need f o r I n f o r m a t i o n 72 The Need f o r E m o t i o n a l Support 75 The Need f o r P r i v a c y 76 The Use of Support 79 Reassurance 82 A n a l y s i s 8 4 R e c i p r o c i t y 86 Independence 89 Summary 91 CHAPTER FIVE Summary, C o n c l u s i o n s and I m p l i c a t i o n s 92 Summary 92 C o n c l u s i o n s 95 v i I m p l i c a t i o n s 99 I m p l i c a t i o n s f o r S e r v i c e 100 I m p l i c a t i o n s f o r Nurses and Other Health Care P r o f e s s i o n a l s 102 I m p l i c a t i o n s f o r Research 105 References 107 Appendixes 118 A. I n t r o d u c t o r y L e t t e r to P o t e n t i a l V o l u n t e e r s . . 119 B Sample Questions 120 L i s t of Tables Table 1 Framework for Use of S o c i a l Support v i i i Acknowledgements There i s no adequate way to express my thanks to my t h e s i s committee, Roberta Hewat, chairman, and Connie Canam. They were e n d l e s s l y s u p p o r t i v e and c h a l l e n g i n g ; the work i n t h i s t h e s i s was immeasurably enhanced by t h e i r suggestions and t h e i r involvement. I am g r a t e f u l to them both. I would l i k e to thank the e i g h t women who p a r t i c i p a t e d i n the study so w i l l i n g l y and e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y ; t h e i r emerging s t r e n g t h was a j o y to see. G r a t e f u l thanks are a l s o due to the s t a f f of the t r a n s i t i o n house who were always encouraging and h e l p f u l . L a s t , but not l e a s t , I am g r a t e f u l f o r the chance to thank my f a m i l y f o r t h e i r support. Harvey, my husband, typed the t h e s i s and courageously made suggestions even when he knew I would not thank him f o r them, and Matthew and Joshua were always c h e e r f u l and understanding. 1 CHAPTER ONE Background and S i g n i f i c a n c e Overview Wife b a t t e r i n g has become a major s o c i a l issue d u r i n g the past decade. I t has been estimated that one of every ten women, i n a permanent r e l a t i o n s h i p i n Canada, i s being abused by her partner (MacLeod, 1980). However, wife abuse i s by i t s nature a hidden event. F i g u r e s from the t r a n s i t i o n houses p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the Canadian A d v i s o r y C o u n c i l on the Status of Women study suggest t h a t we may be se e i n g a small f r a c t i o n of a f f e c t e d women and that i f those who are prevented from g e t t i n g medical help or from c a l l i n g the p o l i c e were added, the f i g u r e s would be f a r higher (Status of Women, 1984). I t has been estimated t h a t 92% of domestic a s s a u l t s go unreported each year (Landsberg, 1982). Whatever the a c t u a l f i g u r e s , there i s gene r a l agreement among experts t h a t a c t i o n must be taken to help these women (Wife A s s a u l t P o l i c y Paper, 1983). Due to the p h y s i c a l and p s y c h o l o g i c a l harm i n c u r r e d by these women, the issue of wife abuse i s an important one f o r nu r s i n g . T h i s i s true not only i n terms of r e c o g n i z i n g the s i g n s , but a l s o i n terms of encouraging the p r o v i s i o n of s e r v i c e s to p r o t e c t and promote the h e a l t h of these women. The t r a n s i t i o n house movement has been one of s o c i e t y ' s mechanisms f o r a d d r e s s i n g the problem. The core s e r v i c e s o f f e r e d by t r a n s i t i o n houses are the p r o v i s i o n of a saf e refuge and c o u n s e l l i n g , which i n c l u d e s emotional support. 2 S t a f f a l s o undertake tasks such as making r e f e r r a l s to other community agencies and g i v i n g a d v i c e on how to f i n d accommodation. The number of t r a n s i t i o n houses ac r o s s Canada has i n c r e a s e d d r a m a t i c a l l y s i n c e the l a t e 1970s. C u r r e n t l y there are approximately 150 e s t a b l i s h e d houses and almost 100 more are planned (Status of Women, 1984). As the number of t r a n s i t i o n houses i n c r e a s e s , so does the body of knowledge of t h e i r f u n c t i o n s . One of the most c r i t i c a l f u n c t i o n s i s the p r o v i s i o n of a refuge where a woman can be saf e from the dangers of her r e l a t i o n s h i p . An e q u a l l y important f u n c t i o n i s c o u n s e l l i n g , which i s r e f l e c t e d i n the number of hours s t a f f spend i n t h i s and r e l a t e d a c t i v i t i e s (Roberts, 1981). S t a f f a l s o a c t as outreach c o u n s e l l o r s and i n most t r a n s i t i o n houses they spend a great d e a l of time on the telephone with women who may be undecided about l e a v i n g but want i n f o r m a t i o n f o r the f u t u r e . Concrete advice on such t h i n g s as what documents to b r i n g and how to get to a t r a n s i t i o n house i s combined with emotional support and v a l i d a t i o n f o r the women of the importance of t h e i r problems (Roberts, 1981). S t a f f , i n t h e i r r o l e of s u p p o r t i v e c o u n s e l l o r s , help the women through the l e g a l system. Women who are unused t o a s s e r t i n g themselves must be prepared f o r and supported through the l e g a l processes r e s u l t i n g from t h e i r s i t u a t i o n ( R i d i n g t o n , 1978). Most t r a n s i t i o n houses are c h r o n i c a l l y underfunded and, as a r e s u l t , c h r o n i c a l l y 3 u n d e r s t a f f e d . Because of t h i s , women a l s o r e l y h e a v i l y on each other f o r emotional support and a d v i c e . Because the c o u n s e l l o r s cannot be with the women a l l the t i m e — f o r i n s t a n c e , many houses do not have ove r n i g h t s t a f f i n g due to lack of funds--the p o t e n t i a l impact of the s o c i a l c o n t a c t between women r e s i d e n t s crowded together i s important to c o n s i d e r (NiCarthy, 1982). Close and p o t e n t i a l l y h e a l i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p s can s p r i n g up q u i c k l y , but t e n s i o n s between i n d i v i d u a l s can a r i s e e q u a l l y q u i c k l y and can be d e v a s t a t i n g l y d e s t r u c t i v e . Large numbers of women and t h e i r c h i l d r e n , a l l i n c r i s i s , and o f t e n crowded together f o r per i o d s ranging from days to weeks, produce s i t u a t i o n s which can be e x p l o s i v e . V i o l e n c e d i r e c t e d a t r e s i d e n t s , by r e s i d e n t s , i s not unknown and i t i s common f o r c l i q u e s to form which may exclude a vu l n e r a b l e r e s i d e n t ( P i z z e y & Shapiro, 1982). Crowding and high noise l e v e l s are omnipresent problems which can f r a y the nerves of women, a l r e a d y i n c r i s i s (Walker, 1979). T h e i r anger, which has been denied e x p r e s s i o n i n t h e i r marriages, demands r e l e a s e , and women f i n d excuse f o r i t i n minor i n c i d e n t s (Campbell & Humphreys, 1984). Given the p o t e n t i a l f o r growth, and a l s o f o r harm, i t i s important to do e v e r y t h i n g p o s s i b l e to make a woman's s t a y i n the t r a n s i t i o n house as s u p p o r t i v e and e n r i c h i n g as p o s s i b l e . T h i s must be achieved while guarding a g a i n s t the e f f e c t s of incompatible r e l a t i o n s h i p s and while maximizing the woman's a b i l i t y to make p o s i t i v e use of the s e r v i c e s and resources 4 a v a i l a b l e to her. Much has been w r i t t e n i n the l i t e r a t u r e about t h e o r i e s of wife abuse, c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of abused women and commonalities i n t h e i r background. However, l i t t l e i s known on how these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s a f f e c t women's experiences i n t r a n s i t i o n houses or how best to o f f e r s e r v i c e s to them. As I worked as a v o l u n t e e r i n a t r a n s i t i o n house I was aware t h a t d i f f e r e n t groups of r e s i d e n t s seemed to show d i f f e r e n t degrees of support f o r each other. Some r e s i d e n t s were able to form c l o s e s u p p o r t i v e t i e s with each other, other r e s i d e n t s always seemed t o be l o n e l y and unsure of themselves even when they appeared to be par t of a s u p p o r t i v e group. Each group of women fu n c t i o n e d d i f f e r e n t l y . For i n s t a n c e , each woman i n one group d i d a l l the cooking and c l e a r i n g up fo r h e r s e l f and her c h i l d r e n independently of the ot h e r s ; i n another group one woman cooked, another cleaned and another babysat, f o r a l l i n the group. Both of these groups were c l o s e and s u p p o r t i v e to t h e i r members. In other groups everyone i n them seemed c l o s e but there were constant undercurrents of i r r i t a t i o n i n t e r s p e r s e d with more s e r i o u s q u a r r e l s . D i f f e r e n t groups of r e s i d e n t s a l s o placed d i f f e r e n t demands on the s t a f f . Some groups used the s t a f f f o r c o u n s e l l i n g on l e g a l i s s u e s but otherwise demanded l i t t l e from them. Others were c o n s t a n t l y demanding t h a t the s t a f f i n t e r v e n e to s e t t l e d i s p u t e s between r e s i d e n t s . I was a l s o aware, when working i n the house, of my own i n a b i l i t y to p r e d i c t how much support an i n d i v i d u a l wanted or 5 would get from the other r e s i d e n t s . There seemed to be no ove r t d i f f e r e n c e s i n the composition of these groups y e t o b v i o u s l y the members* needs, of each other and of the s e r v i c e , were d i f f e r e n t . The l i t e r a t u r e on t r a n s i t i o n houses i d e n t i f i e s s o c i a l support as a v a l u a b l e and important component of l i f e i n the t r a n s i t i o n house, yet i n t e r p e r s o n a l problems among r e s i d e n t s w i t h i n the house are r a r e l y addressed, even though they cause problems f o r s t a f f ( P i z z e y & Shapiro, 1982). I t may be t h a t the importance of s o c i a l support has been overestimated or misunderstood. I t i s the women's p e r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r need fo r s o c i a l support which i s m i s s i n g from the l i t e r a t u r e and which has l e d to t h i s study. Problem Statement T r a n s i t i o n house s t a f f have long recognized the p o t e n t i a l l y v a l u a b l e r o l e of peer support and of the emotional support provided by s t a f f to abused women. I t i s important that we t r y to understand the experiences of c l i e n t s i n these houses. Unless t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e i s i n c l u d e d , we l o s e the b e n e f i t of unique input when pl a n n i n g s e r v i c e s . Lynch and N o r r i s (1977-78) have i d e n t i f i e d the importance of c o n s u l t i n g c l i e n t s who use a s e r v i c e i n order to improve t h a t s e r v i c e , and MacLeod (1980) has urged t h a t we ask women about t h e i r needs and p e r c e p t i o n s when pl a n n i n g a s e r v i c e . There are two questions t o be addressed i n t h i s study: What are women's p e r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r need f o r s o c i a l support 6 i n a t r a n s i t i o n house? and, In what way do women's past experiences i n c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n f l u e n c e t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r use of s o c i a l support? The f i r s t q u e s t i o n i s c e n t r a l t o the study. The second q u e s t i o n g i v e s d i r e c t i o n to c o l l e c t data r e l a t e d to how the women's backgrounds may a f f e c t t h e i r a b i l i t y t o use s o c i a l support. Purpose Since s o c i e t y has become more aware of the needs of abused women, one of i t s responses has been to open t r a n s i t i o n houses. The women's views of t h e i r needs f o r s o c i a l support d u r i n g t h i s time have not been d e s c r i b e d i n the l i t e r a t u r e . T h i s i n f o r m a t i o n i s c r i t i c a l i f these needs are to be met (MacLeod, 1980). This p e r s p e c t i v e has, so f a r , been ignored. The purpose of t h i s study i s to examine women's p e r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r experiences of s o c i a l support. The s p e c i f i c o b j e c t i v e s f o l l o w . O b j e c t i v e s 1. To understand women's p e r c e i v e d need f o r s o c i a l support d u r i n g t h e i r s t a y i n a t r a n s i t i o n house. 2. To examine f a c t o r s from women's past experiences i n c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s which may i n f l u e n c e t h e i r use of the s o c i a l support systems a v a i l a b l e to them. D e f i n i t i o n of Terms Wife abuse: " V i o l e n c e . . . expressed by a husband . . . towards h i s wife . . . to which the wife does not consent, and 7 which i s d i r e c t l y or i n d i r e c t l y condoned by the t r a d i t i o n s , laws and a t t i t u d e s p r e v a l e n t i n the s o c i e t y i n which i t occu r s " (MacLeod, 1980, p. 7). T r a n s i t i o n House: A house geared to the p r o t e c t i o n and care of abused women and t h e i r c h i l d r e n , i n a l o c a t i o n unknown to the abuser. S o c i a l support: Input l e a d i n g the i n d i v i d u a l to b e l i e v e t h a t she i s cared f o r , esteemed and valued, understood, and pa r t of a network of communication. Assumptions I t i s assumed t h a t a l l abused women are e q u a l l y q u a l i f i e d to speak on beha l f of the group and th a t a l l t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n s are e q u a l l y v a l i d . I t i s assumed t h a t a combination of circumstances has c o n t r i b u t e d to an i n d i v i d u a l ' s need to be i n a t r a n s i t i o n house and t h a t knowledge of these circumstances w i l l a i d understanding of the s o c i a l support needs of abused women. I t i s assumed t h a t past experiences i n c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n f l u e n c e an i n d i v i d u a l ' s a b i l i t y to use s o c i a l support. L i m i t a t i o n s Because everyone has a n a t u r a l d e s i r e to be presented i n a p o s i t i v e l i g h t , women may be s e l e c t i v e i n the way they p e r c e i v e and present i n f o r m a t i o n about themselves. Because a l l the s u b j e c t s of t h i s r e s e a r c h have been exposed to v a r y i n g degrees of abuse, i t may be hard f o r them 8 t o b u i l d t r u s t i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p s . T h i s may l i m i t t h e i r a b i l i t y t o be open and f r a n k . E t h i c s and Human R i g h t s I t i s i m p o s s i b l e t o o v e r e s t i m a t e the danger i n which abused women l i v e . I t i s of p a r t i c u l a r importance t h a t t h e i r names do not appear anywhere t h e y c o u l d be r e c o g n i z e d and t h e i r anonymity t h e r e b y compromised. I t was, t h e r e f o r e , proposed t o o b t a i n a u d i o - t a p e d r a t h e r than w r i t t e n c o n s e n t s , and t o use o n l y f i r s t names. The s u b j e c t s were approached by the s t a f f of the house because i t i s t h e y who have knowledge of the women's p e r s o n a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s . The women were t o l d t h a t t h e y would have the r i g h t t o r e f u s e t o p a r t i c i p a t e , and the r i g h t t o withdraw from the s t u d y a t any ti m e . Such r e f u s a l or w i t h d r a w a l would i n no way i n f l u e n c e t h e i r r i g h t t o use the s e r v i c e s p r o v i d e d by the t r a n s i t i o n house. P a r t i c i p a n t s were asked t o v o l u n t e e r f o r a minimum of two and a maximum of t h r e e a u d i o - t a p e d i n t e r v i e w s , t o tak e p l a c e i n t h e i r homes. The procedures f o r s a f e g u a r d i n g the tapes and f o r t h e i r e r a s u r e a t the end of the s t u d y were e x p l a i n e d t o them. Only f i r s t names were used; t h i s was c o n s i d e r e d a n e c e s s a r y s a f e g u a r d i n view of the extreme danger i n h e r e n t i n t h e i r s i t u a t i o n s . I t was e x p l a i n e d t h a t t h e r e would be no f u r t h e r i n t e r v i e w s s h o u l d the woman r e t u r n t o her husband; t h i s was c o n s i d e r e d n e c e s s a r y because of the p o t e n t i a l danger of v i o l e n c e from the husband, s h o u l d he d i s c o v e r h i s w i f e had 9 been d i s c u s s i n g the abuse. The s u b j e c t s were o f f e r e d an o p p o r t u n i t y to review the i n t e r v i e w s a t the end of each s e s s i o n . The tapes were kept i n a f i l i n g c a b i n e t . Typewritten t r a n s c r i p t s were a v a i l a b l e o n l y to the t h e s i s committee. The s u b j e c t s were t o l d t h a t a summary of the f i n d i n g s would be a v a i l a b l e to them a t the t r a n s i t i o n house; t h i s was to a v o i d m a i l i n g m a t e r i a l to the s u b j e c t s ' homes, which might compromise t h e i r f u t u r e s a f e t y . The b e n e f i t s of the study f o r the s u b j e c t s i n c l u d e improving the s e r v i c e a v a i l a b l e to them, should they s t a y i n a t r a n s i t i o n house i n the f u t u r e . An added b e n e f i t i s t h a t t h e i r f e e l i n g s of having c o n t r i b u t e d to the knowledge of the s u b j e c t of wife abuse may r a i s e t h e i r own l e v e l of s e l f - e s t e e m . Summary Thi s chapter has i d e n t i f i e d the f u n c t i o n s of a t r a n s i t i o n house and some of the problems encountered among women r e s i d e n t s of such a s e r v i c e . T h i s provided the background f o r the s i g n i f i c a n c e , purpose and o b j e c t i v e s of the present study. The questions to be addressed were presented, as were a d e f i n i t i o n of terms, assumptions and l i m i t a t i o n s , and the e t h i c a l concerns of the study. 10 CHAPTER TWO L i t e r a t u r e Review Overview Two quest i o n s provide the focus f o r t h i s chapter: What are women's pe r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r need f o r s o c i a l support i n a t r a n s i t i o n house? and, In what way do women's past experiences i n c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n f l u e n c e t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r use of s o c i a l support? The chapter begins with an overview of the f u n c t i o n s of a t r a n s i t i o n house. Women's r e a c t i o n s to each other i n a t r a n s i t i o n house and p o s s i b l e i n t e r p e r s o n a l problems between them are reviewed. Three f a c t o r s which, from the l i t e r a t u r e , are thought to be common to the experiences of abused wives a r e : S o c i a l i s o l a t i o n , low s e l f - e s t e e m and lear n e d h e l p l e s s n e s s . These f a c t o r s are examined. The concept of s o c i a l support i s d i s c u s s e d . L i n k s between past experiences i n c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s and the a b i l i t y to use s o c i a l support networks are a l s o addressed. F u n c t i o n s of a T r a n s i t i o n House The two s e r v i c e s which are c e n t r a l to t r a n s i t i o n houses are the p r o v i s i o n of a saf e refuge and c o u n s e l l i n g . Of primary importance i s the p r o t e c t i o n of the women and t h e i r c h i l d r e n . The danger t o the women, t h e i r c h i l d r e n , other r e s i d e n t s , s t a f f and v o l u n t e e r s cannot be overestimated. I t i s f o r t h i s reason t h a t most operators choose to keep the l o c a t i o n of the house s e c r e t and to have an e l a b o r a t e s e t of 11 r u l e s designed to ensure that the l o c a t i o n i s known to as few people as p o s s i b l e (Roberts, 1981). I t i s important t h a t everyone knowing the l o c a t i o n of the house be c o n s t a n t l y reminded of the need f o r s e c r e c y . Because t h i s may i n c l u d e many o u t s i d e r s , e.g., the p o l i c e , t h i s i s a time-consuming and ongoing concern. The second major f u n c t i o n of a t r a n s i t i o n house i s c o u n s e l l i n g . T h i s may take the form of c r i s i s i n t e r v e n t i o n , emotional support, help i n g e t t i n g t o lawyers and welfare workers, follow-up c o u n s e l l i n g f o r e x - r e s i d e n t s who telephone or drop i n and outreach c o u n s e l l i n g f o r those who have not yet used the t r a n s i t i o n house. Often women phone the l o c a l t r a n s i t i o n house to t a l k t o a c o u n s e l l o r when t r y i n g t o reach a d e c i s i o n about l e a v i n g t h e i r marriage, or f o r i n f o r m a t i o n about s e r v i c e s which are a v a i l a b l e i n an emergency. For some women, the r e s i d e n c y s e r v i c e s of a t r a n s i t i o n house do not appear to be of i n t e r e s t . Loseke and Berk (1983) used d e s c r i p t i v e data from 114 logged telephone c a l l s to look a t the kinds of quest i o n s women asked when c a l l i n g t r a n s i t i o n houses f o r i n f o r m a t i o n and c o u n s e l l i n g . They found t h a t l e s s than h a l f the c a l l e r s wanted immediate r e s i d e n c y . T r a n s i t i o n house s t a f f can spend a c o n s i d e r a b l e p o r t i o n of t h e i r time on t h i s k ind of outreach c o u n s e l l i n g . Loseke and Berk d i s c u s s the h i g h l y complex work of t r a n s i t i o n house s t a f f and the f a c t t h a t t h i s aspect of the s e r v i c e has r e c e i v e d no a t t e n t i o n i n the l i t e r a t u r e . 12 Behind a l l the c o u n s e l l i n g o f f e r e d by the s t a f f there i s a b a s i c b e l i e f about the purpose of such i n t e r v e n t i o n s : That the t r a n s i t i o n house should always be endeavouring to help the women to take c o n t r o l of t h e i r own l i v e s (Vaughan, 1979). R i d i n g t o n (1978) d e s c r i b e s such a process as "the process of r e c o n s t i t u t i n g t h e i r s e l f - i m a g e s from t h a t of v i c t i m t o th a t of autonomous person" (p. 563). As a r e s u l t of t h i s o r i e n t a t i o n , s t a f f are r e l u c t a n t to int e r v e n e when d i f f i c u l t i e s a r i s e among r e s i d e n t s . Such d i f f i c u l t i e s may be the r e s u l t of lack of f e e l i n g s of s e l f - c o n f i d e n c e and s e l f - a s s e r t i o n . Therefore r e s i d e n t s are encouraged to t r y to r e s o l v e t h e i r own c o n f l i c t s . The ph i l o s o p h y of most t r a n s i t i o n houses r e f l e c t s the b e l i e f t h a t t r a n s i t i o n houses e x i s t i n a s u p p o r t i v e c a p a c i t y and as a s o c i a l support system ( R i d i n g t o n , 1978). Women are giv e n the time, support and encouragement necessary to make the d e c i s i o n s they need to make. I n t e r p e r s o n a l Problems Among T r a n s i t i o n House Residents When a woman becomes a house r e s i d e n t she becomes pa r t of a s m a l l , i n t e n s e community t h a t i s o f t e n f a r from t r a n q u i l . A t r a n s i t i o n house, because i t has to remain inconspicuous, i s u s u a l l y s m a l l and p a r t of a normal neighbourhood. T h i s small house must c o n t a i n a number of women and t h e i r c h i l d r e n and i s , t h e r e f o r e , u s u a l l y crowded and n o i s y . I t i s a g a i n s t t h i s background t h a t the s o c i a l support between r e s i d e n t s , which i s 13 inherent i n the s i t u a t i o n , i s e i t h e r o f f e r e d or w i t h h e l d , sought or r e j e c t e d . Much of the l i t e r a t u r e on the f u n c t i o n s and s e r v i c e s of t r a n s i t i o n houses r e l a t e s to the p o t e n t i a l value of the c o n t a c t between r e s i d e n t s ( R i d i n g t o n , 1978; Sutton, 1978; Vaughan, 1979). Within houses there f r e q u e n t l y are house r u l e s , many of which are o r i e n t e d towards p r e v e n t i n g the development of problems between r e s i d e n t s (Roberts, 1981). For example, there are u s u a l l y r u l e s on r e s i d e n t s ' r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s i n areas such as c l e a n i n g , cooking and c h i l d s u p e r v i s i o n . Most t r a n s i t i o n houses hold r e s i d e n t s ' meetings weekly which r e s i d e n t s are expected to a t t e n d . At these meetings a chance i s u s u a l l y o f f e r e d to d i s c u s s i n t e r p e r s o n a l problems. Even so, d i s p u t e s and disagreements do occur and are f r e q u e n t l y "blown out of p r o p o r t i o n " i n the e m o t i o n a l l y charged atmosphere of the house. There are s i g n i f i c a n t d i s c r e p a n c i e s i n the ways d i f f e r e n t groups of women are a b l e to r e l a t e to each other. Some women immediately form a bond and provide support f o r each other. Others get i n v o l v e d i n d i s p u t e s over such i s s u e s as p a r e n t i n g approaches or c l e a n i n g chores around the t r a n s i t i o n house, as d e s c r i b e d by Walker (1979) i n her book The B a t t e r e d Woman. Such minor i s s u e s have the p o t e n t i a l to become major concerns. Other t e x t s on wife abuse have d i s c u s s e d abusive behaviour, u s u a l l y v e r b a l but o c c a s i o n a l l y p h y s i c a l , among r e s i d e n t s (Campbell & Humphreys, 1984; P i z z e y & Shapiro, 1982). A l l of 14 these interpersonal d i f f i c u l t i e s may be compounded by high noise l e v e l s , crowded conditions and the run-down physical state of the c l i e n t e l e . It is not unusual for the residents to have colds and other infectious conditions (Walker, 1979). It is obvious that any group of strangers might face adjustment problems when forced to l i v e together. Add to this the c r i s i s nature of the s i t u a t i o n and the high stress levels among the women and d i f f i c u l t i e s seem inevitable. Factors Common to the Experiences of Abused Wives Researchers have i d e n t i f i e d three factors as being common in the experiences of abused wives: 1. Social i s o l a t i o n . 2. Low self-esteem. 3. Learned helplessness. A l l these concepts recur frequently in the l i t e r a t u r e on wife abuse and are discussed as having a major influence on a woman's a b i l i t y to act in the present. It is useful to consider each concept and discuss i t s possible influence on a woman's a b i l i t y to use her s o c i a l support systems. Social Isolation Social i s o l a t i o n i s defined by Geyer (1980) as "a [re l a t i v e ] breakdown of the system's interaction with i t s environment" (p. 25). As Geyer notes, "Cases of extreme [social] i s o l a t i o n are rare: When the concept is used in the l i t e r a t u r e , i t usually refers to individuals who are isolated in some ways from part of their environment" (p. 25). Geyer 15 d e s c r i b e s a l i n k between decreased s t i m u l a t i o n r e c e i v e d by the i s o l a t e d person and a r e s u l t i n g decrease i n attempts by th a t person to make s o c i a l c o n t a c t s . T h i s may be a s i g n i f i c a n t idea when working with abused wives and t r y i n g to understand t h e i r h e l p - s e e k i n g behaviours. Kuhl (1982) conducted a study which focussed on i d e n t i f y i n g persons or agencies most l i k e l y to know th a t any p a r t i c u l a r woman was being abused. Four hundred and twenty women who were seeking help from v a r i o u s domestic v i o l e n c e treatment c e n t r e s were i n t e r v i e w e d . F i n d i n g s r e v e a l e d t h a t those most l i k e l y to know about the occurrence of abuse were a woman's c h i l d r e n , f a m i l y , neighbours and f r i e n d s . She r e p o r t s that a t y p i c a l response to such knowledge i s one of non-involvement, mainly because people do not see themselves as being able to make a d i f f e r e n c e i n the s i t u a t i o n , or because of fe a r t h a t the v i o l e n c e may be d i r e c t e d a t them. Whatever the reason, the e f f e c t of t h i s non-involvement f o r the abused woman i s s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n i n the sense t h a t she f i n d s h e r s e l f unable to expect help from her immediate support group. T h i s i s the group which an i n d i v i d u a l might be expected to approach f i r s t i n time of need. T h i s means that abused wives must look f u r t h e r a f i e l d f o r help when they need i t . A c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of men who b a t t e r i s t h e i r need to i s o l a t e t h e i r p a r t n e r s i n order to c o n t r o l them (Ganley, 1981). Women r e p o r t t h a t t h e i r p a r t n e r s have s y s t e m a t i c a l l y 16 cut o f f c o n t a c t s with the o u t s i d e , even going so f a r as to i s o l a t e them from t h e i r f a m i l i e s , to the p o i n t t h a t they f r e q u e n t l y never speak to another a d u l t without t h e i r husband being p r e s e n t . Dobash, Dobash, Cavanagh and Wilson (1978) conducted in-depth i n t e r v i e w s with 109 women, seeking to i d e n t i f y the " s t r u c t u r a l and dynamic aspects of a v i o l e n t episode i n the f a m i l y " (p. 608). They i d e n t i f i e d the tendency of husbands to be j e a l o u s and p o s s e s s i v e about t h e i r wives and to s y s t e m a t i c a l l y i s o l a t e them. When we r e a l i z e the extent of the p h y s i c a l i s o l a t i o n i n which many women l i v e , e i t h e r due to r u r a l l i v i n g or to being at home with young c h i l d r e n , or a combination of both, and we add to t h a t the p s y c h o l o g i c a l i s o l a t i o n imposed by abusive husbands, i t i s easy to see why women have lacked the support necessary to leave t h e i r s i t u a t i o n s . Given these circumstances, i t seems reasonable to hypothesize t h a t a woman from such a background who i s f i n a l l y desperate enough to leave home, might have some d i f f i c u l t y a d j u s t i n g to an environment crowded with other women i n c r i s i s . Evidence has been found t h a t people who have been s o c i a l l y i s o l a t e d may need to be a c t i v e l y r e t r a i n e d i n order to make the most of what i s a v a i l a b l e to them i n the area of s o c i a l support (Jones, 1981). I t has a l s o been r e p o r t e d t h a t s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n i s a problem common to the background of people e n r o l l e d i n a s o c i a l s k i l l s t r a i n i n g program (Feldman & Oxford, 1980). People who are i n c l u d e d i n the l i s t of 1 7 h i g h - r i s k g r o u p s a r e t h e e l d e r l y , f a m i l i e s w i t h a h a n d i c a p p e d m e m b e r o r a m e m b e r w i t h a d r i n k i n g p r o b l e m , a n d f a m i l i e s i n w h i c h c h i l d a b u s e t a k e s p l a c e ( F e l d m a n & O x f o r d , 1 9 8 0 ) . G i v e n w h a t i s k n o w n a b o u t t h e s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n o f a b u s e d w i v e s , t h e y s h o u l d a l s o b e i n c l u d e d i n t h i s l i s t . L o w S e l f - E s t e e m A s e c o n d f a c t o r c o m m o n l y r e p o r t e d i n t h e l i t e r a t u r e i s t h e l a c k o f s e l f - e s t e e m f e l t b y m o s t a b u s e d w o m e n . Women w h o a r e a b u s e d p h y s i c a l l y a r e a l s o a b u s e d m e n t a l l y ; t h e y a r e f r e q u e n t l y t o l d b y t h e i r h u s b a n d s t h a t t h e y d e s e r v e w h a t t h e y g e t , t h a t i t i s t h e i r f a u l t t h e m a r r i a g e i s f a i l i n g a n d t h a t n o - o n e w i l l b e l i e v e t h e i r s t o r i e s i f t h e y l e a v e ( M a r t i n , 1 9 7 7 ) . O v e r t h e y e a r s , t h e y b e g i n t o i n t e r n a l i z e t h e s e s t a t e m e n t s a n d t o s e e t h e m s e l v e s a s d e s e r v i n g t h e a b u s e . Women w h o h a v e l o w s e l f - e s t e e m m a y n o t s e e t h e m s e l v e s a s w o r t h y o f f r i e n d s h i p o r s u p p o r t a n d m a y h a v e d i f f i c u l t y m o t i v a t i n g t h e m s e l v e s t o m a k e t h e e f f o r t n e c e s s a r y t o g a i n h e l p f u l c o n t a c t s ( S e l i g m a n , 1 9 7 4 ) . I t i s t h e r e f o r e p o s s i b l e t h a t t h e s e e l e m e n t s m a y i n f l u e n c e a w o m a n ' s p e r c e p t i o n o f , a n d a b i l i t y t o u s e , t h e s o c i a l s u p p o r t a v a i l a b l e t o h e r i n a t r a n s i t i o n h o u s e . S e l f - e s t e e m i s e s t a b l i s h e d d u r i n g c h i l d h o o d . V a r i o u s a s p e c t s o f d e v e l o p i n g s e l f - e s t e e m a n d e x p o s u r e t o f a m i l y v i o l e n c e d u r i n g c h i l d h o o d h a v e b e e n s t u d i e d i n r e l a t i o n t o a b u s i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p s . R o u s e ( 1 9 8 4 ) c o n d u c t e d a s t u d y i n w h i c h q u e s t i o n n a i r e s w e r e m a i l e d t o a r a n d o m s a m p l e o f 7 9 m a l e 18 home owners. They found that the s e l f - e s t e e m of abusive husbands was only s l i g h t l y l e s s than the norm. In c o n t r a s t , abused wives were shown, i n t h i s study and oth e r s , to s u f f e r s i g n i f i c a n t l y reduced l e v e l s of s e l f - e s t e e m as a r e s u l t of the mental and p h y s i c a l abuse d u r i n g t h e i r marriages (Dobash & Dobash, 1978; Hilberman & Munson, 1978; M i t c h e l l & Hodson, 1983). M i l l s (1984) used data from a n a t i o n a l survey of 960 men and 1,183 women. The f i n d i n g s were t h a t decreased s e l f - e s t e e m i n women was p o s i t i v e l y c o r r e l a t e d with the s e v e r i t y of the v i o l e n c e they had experienced i n t h e i r marriages. Again, abusive men's s e l f - e s t e e m was not s i g n i f i c a n t l y a f f e c t e d . Because, by i t s nature, s e l f - e s t e e m i n v o l v e s i n t e r n a l i z i n g o t h e r s ' r e a c t i o n s to s e l f and using these p e r c e p t i o n s to c r e a t e a sense of s e l f - w o r t h , t h i s judgement i s formed over time (Brandon, 1969). I t t h e r e f o r e may take time to improve low s e l f - e s t e e m so as to c r e a t e a more p o s i t i v e sense of s e l f . Brandon t h i n k s t h a t a p o s i t i v e sense of s e l f - e s t e e m i s a b a s i c human need and that i t s absence i s l i f e - t h r e a t e n i n g . T h i s i s because low s e l f - e s t e e m i s l i n k e d with d e p r e s s i o n and both are l i n k e d with an i n d i v i d u a l ' s i n a b i l i t y to a c t i n h i s own best i n t e r e s t s . Brandon d i s c u s s e s how s e l f - e s t e e m i s formed d u r i n g c h i l d h o o d and the f a c t t h a t a f t e r t h i s time i t can be i n f l u e n c e d , but with much more d i f f i c u l t y . I t i s p o s s i b l e t h a t t h i s work has i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r workers with women i n t r a n s i t i o n houses. Women who may 19 have been i n an abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p f o r many years are u s u a l l y i n a t r a n s i t i o n house f o r a s h o r t p e r i o d ; one month i s a long s t a y . I t may be d i f f i c u l t f o r the s t a f f to have any s i g n i f i c a n t impact on t h e i r low s e l f - e s t e e m i n such a s h o r t time. Learned H e l p l e s s n e s s I t i s not s u r p r i s i n g t h a t a t h i r d f a c t o r thought to be present In abused women's experiences i s learned h e l p l e s s n e s s . T h i s would seem to be an e n t i r e l y reasonable and r e a l i s t i c response from women because, i n f a c t , they are r e l a t i v e l y h e l p l e s s (Walker, 1978). They are f r e q u e n t l y e c o n o m i c a l l y dependent, e m o t i o n a l l y i s o l a t e d , and our laws o f t e n seem to perpetuate r a t h e r than help to s o l v e t h e i r problems (MacLeod, 1980). Even i f they t r y to change t h e i r behaviour to please t h e i r husbands or attempt to leave the m a r i t a l r e l a t i o n s h i p , the r e a l i t y i s t h a t they have l i t t l e c o n t r o l over what happens to them and the v i o l e n c e u s u a l l y c o n t i n u e s . Women become pass i v e and a c c e p t i n g of the v i o l e n c e because f r e q u e n t l y there i s no r e a l recourse f o r them (Hilberman and Munson, 1978). T r a n s i t i o n houses were unknown u n t i l approximately ten years ago and are s t i l l too few i n number. Walker (1978, 1979) has d i s c u s s e d the r e l a t i o n s h i p between c h i l d h o o d exposure to v i o l e n c e , v i o l e n c e w i t h i n marriage and the development of learned h e l p l e s s n e s s . She has continued to study abused wives and r e c e n t l y conducted an i n t e r n a t i o n a l survey on the p s y c h o l o g i c a l consequences of wife 20 abuse to the abused wife (1983). She concluded that experiences i n ch i l d h o o d and d u r i n g the marriage c o n t r i b u t e to women's i n a b i l i t y to t r y to stop the v i o l e n c e and she d e s c r i b e s t h i s s t a t e as learned h e l p l e s s n e s s . Walker has been c r i t i c i z e d by other t h e o r i s t s f o r thereby p u t t i n g women i n the r o l e of v i c t i m (Breines & Gordon, 1983). Walker's e x p l a n a t i o n of her use of the word v i c t i m i s t h a t , indeed, she does see women as being v i c t i m i z e d , not onl y by t h e i r s i t u a t i o n but a l s o by a s o c i e t y which p l a c e s them i n the v i c t i m ' s r o l e (Walker, 1979, 1983). A great d e a l of work has supported the v a l i d i t y of examining s o c i e t y ' s p a r t i n the o v e r a l l p i c t u r e of the l i f e of the abused wife (Dobash & Dobash, 1978; Pagelow, 1984; Stark, F l i t c r a f t & F r a z i e r , 1979). Walker (1983) suggests t h a t our s o c i e t y , which i s s e x i s t , p r o v i d e s "overt or s u b t l e encouragement" (p. 82) to women to remain i n abusive s i t u a t i o n s and thereby p l a c e s them i n the r o l e of v i c t i m . S o c i a l Support. Past Experiences and A b i l i t y to Cope. The a b i l i t y to use a v a i l a b l e s o c i a l support e f f e c t i v e l y has been l i n k e d to an i n d i v i d u a l ' s p revious experiences when seeking help (Fawcett, 1984; Murawski, Penman, & Schmitt, 1978). The f a c t o r s of s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n , decreased s e l f - e s t e e m and l e a r n e d h e l p l e s s n e s s may be r e l e v a n t to the a b i l i t y to use s o c i a l support e f f e c t i v e l y . T herefore i t makes sense to co n s i d e r a l l these dimensions of a woman's previous experiences when attempting to be of help t o her i n a 21 t r a n s i t i o n house. When a woman moves i n t o a t r a n s i t i o n house her previous s o c i a l support system, however inadequate, i s f r e q u e n t l y removed from her. I t i s o f t e n s a f e r f o r her f a m i l y and f r i e n d s i f they do not know where she i s . Thi s i s a f u r t h e r reason why the s o c i a l support i n the t r a n s i t i o n house may be of such c r u c i a l importance. The mediating e f f e c t of a new support group may help to o f f s e t any s t r e s s a s s o c i a t e d with i s o l a t i o n from f a m i l y supports (Franks & Rothblum, 1983). The concept of s o c i a l support has been present i n the l i t e r a t u r e i n one form or another s i n c e the end of the ninet e e n t h century. Emile Durkheim, a French s o c i o l o g i s t , p u b l i s h e d h i s work Le S u i c i d e i n France i n 1897; i t was t r a n s l a t e d i n t o E n g l i s h i n 1951. In t h i s book Durkheim d i s c u s s e s the s i g n i f i c a n c e of c l o s e s o c i a l t i e s i n people's l i v e s . He made s e v e r a l i n t e r e s t i n g o b s e r v a t i o n s which p o i n t e d to the c o n c l u s i o n t h a t people with a support system seemed g e n e r a l l y to withstand s t r e s s b e t t e r than those without such a system. An example of t h i s i s h i s o b s e r v a t i o n t h a t i n d i v i d u a l s who are married tend to commit s u i c i d e l e s s than s i n g l e people (1951 ed.). Durkheim broke with the t r a d i t i o n of the day by se e i n g s u i c i d e as a symptom of s o c i a l d y s f u n c t i o n r a t h e r than s o l e l y a symptom of an i n d i v i d u a l mental d y s f u n c t i o n . In h i s 1961 book An Approach to Community Mental Health G. Caplan continued to make the connection between i n t e r p e r s o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s and mental h e a l t h . Caplan 22 expanded on t h i s theme by extending i t from the i n d i v i d u a l to the community and d i s c u s s i n g the Idea t h a t high numbers of d y s f u n c t i o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n a community lead to high i n c i d e n c e l e v e l s of mental d i s o r d e r s . Caplan d e s c r i b e s the s o c i a l support system a v a i l a b l e to an i n d i v i d u a l as one of the most c r u c i a l determinants of h i s mental h e a l t h , and i d e n t i f i e s key people who may c o n s t i t u t e t h i s support system as "blood r e l a t i o n s , c l o s e f r i e n d s or people occupying s p e c i a l r o l e s i n a person's occupation or r e c r e a t i o n group" (p. 20). I f these people cannot f u l f i l l t h e i r r o l e s , others, such as t r a n s i t i o n house s t a f f and r e s i d e n t s , may take t h e i r p l a c e . S. Cobb (1976), i n h i s paper " S o c i a l Support as a Moderator of L i f e S t r e s s , " d e f i n e s s o c i a l support as i n f o r m a t i o n . He saw t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n as breaking down i n t o three d i s t i n c t groups. 1. Information l e a d i n g the s u b j e c t to b e l i e v e t h a t he i s cared f o r and loved. 2. Information l e a d i n g the s u b j e c t to b e l i e v e t h a t he i s esteemed and valued. 3. Information l e a d i n g the s u b j e c t to b e l i e v e t h a t he i s part of a network of communication and mutual o b l i g a t i o n , (p. 300) Cobb s t a t e s t h a t the importance of s o c i a l support i s that i t " f a c i l i t a t e s coping with c r i s i s and a d a p t a t i o n to change" (p. 302). T h i s c o n n e c t i o n between s o c i a l support and a d a p t a t i o n to s t r e s s continues to be an important focus of the ongoing work on s o c i a l support (Depner, Wethington, & I n g e r s o l l - D a y t o n , 1984). In f a c t , the concept of s o c i a l support i s one of the most f r e q u e n t l y written-about i n the 23 f i e l d of psychology, with over 400 s t u d i e s p u b l i s h e d s i n c e the term s o c i a l support networks was l i s t e d i n the " P s y c h o l o g i c a l A b s t r a c t s " (Brownell & Shumaker, 1984). Works which attempt to t i e together some of the t h e o r e t i c a l m a t e r i a l i n t o a p r a c t i c a l t o o l f o r the p r a c t i t i o n e r have r e c e n t l y begun to appear. An example of t h i s i s B.H. G o t t l i e b ' s book S o c i a l Support S t r a t e g i e s : G u i d e l i n e s f o r Mental Health P r a c t i c e (1983). At the same time, d i s c r e p a n c i e s i n the c u r r e n t l i t e r a t u r e are being addressed. One i d e n t i f i e d gap i s i n showing the p r e c i s e nature of the demonstrated r e l a t i o n s h i p between s o c i a l support and a d a p t a t i o n (Depner et a l . , 1984). Another area of i n v e s t i g a t i o n i s the nature of the f i t between the s o c i a l support network and the r e c i p i e n t . A r e c e n t a r t i c l e proposes a model to examine t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p (Shinn, Lehmann, & Wong, 1984). This model i d e n t i f i e s f i v e dimensions to be assessed when examining an i n d i v i d u a l ' s support network, (a) amount, (b) t i m i n g , (c) source, (d) s t r u c t u r e , and (e) f u n c t i o n . Discrepancy problems i n the f i e l d of s o c i a l support r e s e a r c h f a l l i n t o two c a t e g o r i e s , measurement problems and d e f i n i t i o n problems. There are numerous methods and t o o l s f o r measuring s o c i a l support and r e s e a r c h e r s have i d e n t i f i e d the lack of agreement among methods as a reason why so l i t t l e i n t e g r a t i o n e x i s t s i n the l i t e r a t u r e (Brownell & Shumaker, 1984). Depner e t a l . (1984) have attempted to d e f i n e a 24 s t r a t e g y to enable r e s e a r c h e r s to make an Informed c h o i c e among measurement approaches. There are a l s o d i f f e r e n c e s among d e f i n i t i o n s of s o c i a l support. Depner et a l . (1984) l i s t 11 d e f i n i t i o n s by d i f f e r e n t authors and suggest a method f o r c l a s s i f y i n g them under three d i f f e r e n t headings, (a) whether or not s o c i a l support e x i s t s , (b) type of s o c i a l support, and (c) s t r u c t u r e of the network. Shumaker & Brownell (1984) d e f i n e s o c i a l support as "an exchange of resources between a t l e a s t two i n d i v i d u a l s p e r c e i v e d by the p r o v i d e r or the r e c i p i e n t to be intended to enhance the w e l l - b e i n g of the r e c i p i e n t " (p. 13). Although Cobb's (1976) d e f i n i t i o n does t a l k about "mutual o b l i g a t i o n " (p. 300), Shumaker and Brownell (1984) b e l i e v e t h a t t h e i r own d e f i n i t i o n p l a c e s more emphasis on the r e c i p r o c a l a spects which they t h i n k are c e n t r a l to the idea of s o c i a l support. Shumaker and Brownell (1984) a l s o t h i n k t h a t most d e f i n i t i o n s , while emphasizing the importance of the network, f a i l t o c o n s i d e r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of a l l network members when a s s e s s i n g the impact of support. A l l these c o n s i d e r a t i o n s w i l l have impact when l o o k i n g at the s o c i a l support networks i n a t r a n s i t i o n house. The importance of the s u p p o r t i v e i n t e r a c t i o n between r e s i d e n t s of a t r a n s i t i o n house i s documented by NiCarthy (1982) who d i s c u s s e s the b e n e f i t s of the sense of community and s u p p o r t i v e atmosphere among women with s i m i l a r 25 e x p e r i e n c e s . R i d i n g t o n (1978) d i s c u s s e s aspects of support among r e s i d e n t s : Talk . . . between r e s i d e n t and r e s i d e n t works to a l l e v i a t e l o n e l i n e s s and p a i n , and to achieve understanding t h a t the problems each woman has are not i s o l a t e d and i n d i v i d u a l , and t h e r e f o r e her f a u l t , but common to many women, and t h e r e f o r e not j u s t an i n d i v i d u a l one but a s o c i a l one as w e l l . (p. 569) The importance of t h i s d i s c o v e r y t h a t a woman i s not alone i n her problems i s d i s c u s s e d by Vaughan (1979). She says t h a t one of the s t r e n g t h s of the t r a n s i t i o n house s e t t i n g i s t h a t i t provides women with an o p p o r t u n i t y to exchange support with others who have been i n s i m i l a r s i t u a t i o n s . However, the women's p e r s p e c t i v e was not s p e c i f i c a l l y i n c l u d e d i n e i t h e r R i d i n g t o n ' s or Vaughan's a r t i c l e s . M i t c h e l l and Hodson (1983), i n t h e i r study of 60 abused women i n a t r a n s i t i o n house, examined the r e l a t i o n s h i p between a v a i l a b l e s o c i a l support and a b i l i t y to cope. T h e i r respondents completed q u e s t i o n n a i r e s r e l a t i n g to s t r e s s , p e r s o n a l r e s o u r c e s , s o c i a l support, response to being i n the t r a n s i t i o n house, coping and adjustment. T h e i r f i n d i n g s i n c l u d e d high l e v e l s of s e l f - r e p o r t e d d e p r e s s i o n and s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n . They a l s o found t h a t women who had empathetic s o c i a l c o n t a c t s a l s o had higher s e l f - e s t e e m . There may be a r e l a t i o n s h i p between women's ch i l d h o o d experiences and the a b i l i t y to use the s o c i a l support networks a v a i l a b l e to them. Exposure to v i o l e n c e i n ch i l d h o o d leads to inc r e a s e d acceptance of v i o l e n c e as a problem-solving method 26 i n adulthood (Owens and St r a u s s , 1975). A v i o l e n t c h i l d h o o d , experienced as e i t h e r v i c t i m or observer, provides a s p e c i f i c r o l e model and l e g i t i m i z e s v i o l e n t a c t i o n (Post, W i l l e t t , Franks, House and Back, 1981). Women who have been s o c i a l i z e d to see themselves as a p p r o p r i a t e r e c i p i e n t s of v i o l e n c e may not re c o g n i z e e i t h e r t h e i r r i g h t to or t h e i r need f o r s o c i a l s upport. Women may have t h e i r a b i l i t y to u t i l i z e s o c i a l support f u r t h e r reduced by the cumulative e f f e c t s of the t h r e a t s and v i o l e n c e i n the marriage. Star (1978) compared 46 b a t t e r e d and 12 non-battered women i n her study "Comparing B a t t e r e d and Non-Battered Women." Her main f i n d i n g was th a t b a t t e r e d women g r a d u a l l y develop a p a s s i v i t y which does not a l l o w them to a c t on t h e i r own b e h a l f . S i m i l a r l y , Hilberman (1980) found t h a t b a t t e r e d women do not b e l i e v e t h a t they can help themselves and may experience f e e l i n g s of p a s s i v i t y and i m m o b i l i z a t i o n . The r o l e of a support network i n h e l p i n g an i n d i v i d u a l to cope with s t r e s s i s well-documented ( G o t t l i e b , 1983; McGubbin, Cauble & P a t t e r s o n , 1982; M i t c h e l l & Hodson, 1983; Murawski et a l . , 1978) and, as so s u c c i n c t l y s t a t e d by Feldman and Oxford (1980), "people need people" (p. 368). A t r a n s i t i o n house has the p o t e n t i a l t o provide b a t t e r e d women with a support network of t h e i r peers. I t i s important to understand the r e l a t i o n s h i p between a v a i l a b i l i t y of support, previous experiences and the i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r the s e r v i c e which should be p r o v i d e d . 27 Summary T h i s l i t e r a t u r e review has focussed on the two study q u e s t i o n s : What are women's pe r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r need f o r s o c i a l support i n a t r a n s i t i o n house? and, In what way do women's past experiences i n c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n f l u e n c e t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r use of s o c i a l support? The chapter began by d i s c u s s i n g the f u n c t i o n s of a t r a n s i t i o n house and women's r e a c t i o n s to being t h e r e . I n t e r p e r s o n a l problems between the women were a l s o d i s c u s s e d . The three f a c t o r s of s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n , low s e l f - e s t e e m and le a r n e d h e l p l e s s n e s s were examined i n r e l a t i o n to abused women's a b i l i t y to u t i l i z e s o c i a l support. The concept of s o c i a l support was examined i n depth. The relevance of past experiences, i n c h i l d h o o d and i n a v i o l e n t marriage, was d i s c u s s e d with regard to a b i l i t y to use s o c i a l support when needed. 28 CHAPTER THREE Methodology I n t r o d u c t i o n Phenomenology was the method chosen f o r t h i s study. Q u a l i t a t i v e methods, such as phenomenology, are g a i n i n g acceptance among n u r s i n g r e s e a r c h e r s because they take i n t o account "the dynamic whole t h a t i s the l i v i n g human being with whom the nurse i n t e r a c t s i n p r a c t i c e " (Omery, 1983, p. 49). Phenomenology attempts to d e s c r i b e experiences as they are l i v e d by the c l i e n t . In t h i s chapter the phenomenological method, a q u a l i t a t i v e approach, w i l l be d e s c r i b e d . The h i s t o r i c a l background w i l l be presented, f o l l o w e d by a d e s c r i p t i o n of the way phenomenology i s being addressed today. T h i s s e c t i o n w i l l conclude with a b r i e f summary of the major methodological i s s u e s . The next s e c t i o n of the chapter w i l l d e s c r i b e how the methodology was used i n the present study. Procedures f o r s e l e c t i n g p a r t i c i p a n t s , f o r data c o l l e c t i o n and f o r data a n a l y s i s w i l l be e x p l a i n e d i n t h i s s e c t i o n . Phenomenological Methodology Recently, phenomenology has begun to r e c e i v e more s p e c i f i c a t t e n t i o n i n the n u r s i n g r e s e a r c h l i t e r a t u r e ( O i l e r , 1982; Omery, 1983; Parse, Coyne, & Smith, 1985). The phenomenological approach p r o v i d e s a method by which to study human experience as i t i s l i v e d (Omery, 1983). The purpose of 29 the phenomenological method i s to uncover the meanings that experiences hold f o r people by a n a l y z i n g t h e i r d e s c r i p t i o n s of events i n t h e i r l i v e s (Parse et a l . , 1985). T h i s helps to make e x p l i c i t the extreme complexity of human experience. Nursing i s concerned with h e a l t h , a h o l i s t i c approach to people and a l l the inh e r e n t meanings and r i c h n e s s of t h e i r day-to-day l i v e s . T h e r e f o r e , phenomenology, with i t s focus on a l l o w i n g "the u n f o l d i n g of the phenomenon i t s e l f [to] guide the l o g i c of the i n q u i r y " ( G l o r g i , 1975, p. 72) pro v i d e s a l o g i c a l approach. Phenomenology grew out of the p h i l o s o p h i c a l w r i t i n g s of H u s s e r l i n the l a t t e r h a l f of the 19th century. In the e a r l y p a r t of the 20th century h i s work was r e f i n e d by Heidegger, who brought together the ideas of H u s s e r l and Kierkegaard to form e x i s t e n t i a l phenomenology ( T i r y a k i a n , 1978). Other 20th c e n t u r y p h i l o s o p h e r s who have i n f l u e n c e d the phenomenological movement are G. Marcel, J . P. S a r t r e and M. Merleau-Ponty (Parse et a l . , 1985). There are great i n d i v i d u a l d i f f e r e n c e s i n thought among the phenomenological p h i l o s o p h e r s so t h a t , as Parse et a l . s t a t e , "The phenomenologists cannot be placed i n one s c h o o l or catego r y . . . . However they are i n agreement on a method of en q u i r y " (p. 15). In other words, phenomenology as a ph i l o s o p h y encompasses a wide d i v e r s i t y of views whereas phenomenology as a r e s e a r c h methodology i s a c l e a r l y d e l i n e a t e d approach. c 30 Q u a l i t a t i v e methodologies have begun to be used because s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s have become aware t h a t q u a n t i t a t i v e methodologies cannot address a l l the is s u e s to be examined. A n t h r o p o l o g i s t s and s o c i o l o g i s t s were the f i r s t s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s to take the phenomenological p h i l o s o p h y and develop i t i n t o a p u r p o s e f u l approach to r e s e a r c h (Swanson and Ch e n i t z , 1982). "Advances i n s c i e n c e came from a combination of i n q u i r y i n t o the nature of the event and g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s about t h a t event as i t e x i s t s i n the world" (p. 242). They gi v e examples of some important s c i e n t i f i c advances u s i n g q u a l i t a t i v e approaches, e.g., Darwinian theory, E i n s t e i n ' s t h e o r y of r e l a t i v i t y , atomic theory, systems theory and most n u r s i n g theory. The phenomenological approach i s chosen when l i t t l e i s known about the t o p i c to be s t u d i e d , when the t o p i c i s complex and r e q u i r e s a h o l i s t i c view and when the p e r s p e c t i v e of the c l i e n t i s the focus of the q u e s t i o n . M e t h o d o l o g i c a l Concerns Sampling The phenomenological approach to s e l e c t i n g a sample i s known as t h e o r e t i c a l sampling. T h i s term r e f e r s to a process i n which the r e s e a r c h e r continues to add new s u b j e c t s to the sample p o p u l a t i o n u n t i l no new ideas are emerging d u r i n g the i n t e r v i e w s (Wilson, 1985). T h i s means t h a t the s i z e of the sample cannot be estimated u n t i l the data c o l l e c t i o n process i s w e l l underway. When the i n t e r v i e w s are no longer producing 31 new i d e a s , t h e o r e t i c a l sampling stops because s a t u r a t i o n i s reached. " S a t u r a t i o n of c a t e g o r i e s means t h a t the major r e c u r r i n g p a t t e r n s have been d i s c o v e r e d " (Wilson, 1985, p. 419) . V a l i d i t y and R e l i a b i l i t y L e i n i n g e r (1985) s t a t e s t h a t i n q u a l i t a t i v e r e s e a r c h . . . v a l i d i t y . . . r e f e r s to g a i n i n g knowledge and understanding of the t r u e nature, essence, meaning, a t t r i b u t e s , and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of a p a r t i c u l a r phenomenon under study. Measurement i s not the g o a l ; r a t h e r , knowing and understanding the phenomenon i s the g o a l . (p. 68) Understanding, t h e r e f o r e , r a t h e r than accurate measurement i s the important c o n s i d e r a t i o n i n regard to v a l i d i t y . I t has been proposed t h a t q u a l i t a t i v e r e s e a r c h may be p a r t i c u l a r l y " v a l i d " because the r e s e a r c h e r i s so deeply immersed i n the context of the sample (Duffy, 1985). Again, L e i n i n g e r (1985) s t a t e s that r e l i a b i l i t y i n q u a l i t a t i v e r e s e a r c h i s concerned with . . . i d e n t i f y i n g and documenting r e c u r r e n t , a c c u r a t e and c o n s i s t e n t (homogeneous) or i n c o n s i s t e n t (heterogeneous) f e a t u r e s , as p a t t e r n s , themes, va l u e s , world views, experiences, and other phenomena confirmed i n s i m i l a r or d i f f e r e n t c o n t e x t s , (p. 69) T h i s means t h a t f i n d i n g s r e l a t e d to ideas which have been r a i s e d by s e v e r a l d i f f e r e n t r e s e a r c h s u b j e c t s are showing a degree of r e l i a b i l i t y . The terms v a l i d i t y and r e l i a b i l i t y must be c l e a r l y understood w i t h i n the context of the r e s e a r c h methodology being used; i n t h i s case, phenomenology. 32 D i f f e r e n c e s i n D e f i n i t i o n One concern which serves to confuse matters i s the problem with accepted d e f i n i t i o n s of terms. Psathas (1977), f o r i n s t a n c e , uses the term phenomenology to d e s c r i b e the e n t i r e q u a l i t a t i v e approach by some w r i t e r s " i n order to show how ethnomethodology i s a phenomenological approach i n the s o c i a l s c i e n c e s " (p. 74). Others use the term phenomenology i n t e r c h a n g e a b l y with other q u a l i t a t i v e l a b e l s , or group s e v e r a l terms together under another umbrella term (Bowles, 1984; Davis, 1978). Duffy (1985) uses the terms q u a l i t a t i v e and grounded theory i n t e r c h a n g e a b l y . However, nurse r e s e a r c h e r s have r e c e n t l y begun t o d e l i n e a t e c l e a r l y what phenomenology means f o r the nurse (Ray, 1985) and e x a c t l y what the phenomenological method i s i n r e l a t i o n to n u r s i n g r e s e a r c h (Parse et a l . , 1985). There are s e v e r a l major approaches to the process of phenomenological r e s e a r c h , of which those of S p i e g e l b e r g , van Kaam and G i o r g i are among the most recognized (Parse et a l . , 1985). The next p a r t of t h i s chapter w i l l d e s c r i b e how the methodology was a p p l i e d i n the context of the present study. S e l e c t i o n of P a r t i c i p a n t s C r i t e r i a f o r S e l e c t i o n The p a r t i c i p a n t s f o r t h i s study were s e l e c t e d u s i n g the f o l l o w i n g c r i t e r i a : 1. They had been r e s i d e n t i n the t r a n s i t i o n house as a r e s u l t of having l i v e d i n a p h y s i c a l l y abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p . 33 R a t i o n a l e : O c c a s i o n a l l y women who h a v e n o t b e e n a b u s e d may be p l a c e d i n t r a n s i t i o n h o u s e s f o r s h o r t p e r i o d s . 2. T h e y w e r e a b l e t o c o m m u n i c a t e i n t h e E n g l i s h l a n g u a g e . R a t i o n a l e : S e l f - e v i d e n t . 3. T h e y d i d n o t r e t u r n t o t h e a b u s i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p when t h e y l e f t t h e t r a n s i t i o n h o u s e . R a t i o n a l e : I t w o u l d be t o o d a n g e r o u s t o i n t e r v i e w a woman who was l i v i n g w i t h a n a b u s e r . 4. T h e y w o u l d a g r e e t o t w o o r t h r e e a u d i o - t a p e d i n t e r v i e w s , t o be c o n d u c t e d i n t h e i r h o m e s . R a t i o n a l e : Two i n t e r v i e w s w e r e n e e d e d t o g e t a w o m a n ' s c o m p l e t e s t o r y . T h r e e i n t e r v i e w s w e r e t h o u g h t t o be t h e m o s t a woman w o u l d a g r e e t o . S e l e c t i o n P r o c e d u r e s The v o l u n t e e r p a r t i c i p a n t s w e r e r e c r u i t e d f r o m t h e r e s i d e n t s o f a t r a n s i t i o n h o u s e i n a m e t r o p o l i t a n a r e a i n W e s t e r n C a n a d a . T h e y w e r e c o n t a c t e d a t a w e e k l y m e e t i n g o f r e s i d e n t s a t t h e h o u s e . The p r o c e d u r e was a s f o l l o w s : 1. The s t a f f member c h a i r i n g t h e m e e t i n g was c o n t a c t e d d u r i n g t h e d a y o f t h e m e e t i n g t o s e e w h e t h e r t h e r e w e r e a n y p o t e n t i a l v o l u n t e e r s i n t h e h o u s e . 2. The s t a f f member i n f o r m e d t h e women p r e s e n t a t t h e m e e t i n g t h a t a r e s e a r c h e r w o u l d make a p r e s e n t a t i o n a t t h e c o n c l u s i o n o f t h e m e e t i n g a n d t h a t t h e y w e r e i n v i t e d t o s t a y f o r i t i f t h e y w i s h e d . 3. A l e t t e r e x p l a i n i n g t h e s t u d y was p o s t e d on t h e h o u s e n o t i c e b o a r d ( s e e A p p e n d i x A ) . T h i s was a n a t t e m p t t o i n f o r m r e s i d e n t s who d i d n o t a t t e n d t h e m e e t i n g s a b o u t t h e s t u d y . 34 4. Weekly telephone c o n t a c t was maintained with the v o l u n t e e r s u n t i l appointments i n t h e i r homes co u l d be arranged. A date, time and place f o r the f i r s t i n t e r v i e w was se t as soon as a woman knew she was moving out of the t r a n s i t i o n house. E i g h t women p a r t i c i p a t e d . They w i l l be d e s c r i b e d i n the next chapter. Data C o l l e c t i o n A t o t a l of 19 audio-taped i n t e r v i e w s were conducted i n the p a r t i c i p a n t s ' homes. The f i r s t i n t e r v i e w s took place w i t h i n 10 days of the women l e a v i n g the t r a n s i t i o n house while the t r a n s i t i o n house experience was s t i l l f r e s h i n t h e i r minds. The second and t h i r d i n t e r v i e w s were conducted one month and two months a f t e r the f i r s t . By t h i s time the women had a more o b j e c t i v e r e c o l l e c t i o n of the experience; i t was a l s o p o s s i b l e to ga i n a b e t t e r impression of t h e i r a b i l i t y to f u n c t i o n independently. The i n t e r v i e w s l a s t e d from one to two hours. Open-ended s e m i - s t r u c t u r e d questions were used as a guide i n an attempt to e l i c i t the women's p e r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r s t a y i n the t r a n s i t i o n house and of t h e i r experiences l e a d i n g up to th a t s t a y (see Appendix B f o r samples of the q u e s t i o n s ) . F i r s t i n t e r v i e w s concentrated on the women's s t o r i e s and the meaning they held f o r the women. Subsequent i n t e r v i e w s deepened the understanding of the f i r s t by p r o v i d i n g o p p o r t u n i t y f o r c l a r i f i c a t i o n and by ad d r e s s i n g i s s u e s r a i s e d i n the f i r s t i n more depth. 35 Data A n a l y s i s Interviews were t r a n s c r i b e d immediately a f t e r each i n t e r v i e w . The t r a n s c r i p t s were read and a process of phenomenological a n a l y s i s such as the one d e s c r i b e d by G i o r g i (1975) was undertaken. The process of a n a l y s i s i s composed of s e v e r a l steps which begin with the f i r s t i n t e r v i e w and are c a r r i e d on c o n c u r r e n t l y with the data c o l l e c t i o n p rocess. The i n t e r v i e w e r l i s t e n s c l o s e l y to the taped i n t e r v i e w and reads the t r a n s c r i p t i o n s t r a i g h t through to get a sense of the whole. The i n t e r v i e w e r then reads the t r a n s c r i p t more thor o u g h l y and i d e n t i f i e s meaning u n i t s ( G i o r g i , 1975, p. 74). The r e s e a r c h e r may r e t u r n to the p a r t i c i p a n t a t any time i n the process to c l a r i f y d i s c r e p a n c i e s and a m b i g u i t i e s . The meaning u n i t s can be c l a s s i f i e d as complete thoughts. The c e n t r a l essence of each meaning u n i t i s the theme of the u n i t . The themes are then examined f o r p o s s i b l e r e l a t i o n s h i p s between them. I t i s a t t h i s stage t h a t the r e s e a r c h e r begins to take the f i n d i n g s which are i n the language of the p a r t i c i p a n t and a b s t r a c t s them i n t o the language of the d i s c i p l i n e i n v o l v e d . Quotes from the p a r t i c i p a n t s are i n c l u d e d throughout the w r i t t e n account of the f i n d i n g s . T h i s provides a base from which the reader can judge the v a l i d i t y of the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s . The process has been d e s c r i b e d i n a l i n e a r form but, i n f a c t , i t i s not a l i n e a r p rocess. A n a l y s i s i s 3 6 under way a t the same time as d a t a c o l l e c t i o n . Emerging themes a r e c o n s t a n t l y c o n t r i b u t i n g t o the r e f i n e m e n t of upcoming i n t e r v i e w s . In t h i s way the p r o c e s s i s a c y c l i c one. The p r e s e n t s t u d y was a n a l y z e d u s i n g the approach of G i o r g i (1985). There a r e o t h e r m o d i f i c a t i o n s t o the p r o c e s s of p h e n o m e n o l o g i c a l a n a l y s i s , as s t a t e d e a r l i e r ; however, the p r o c e s s i s e s s e n t i a l l y the same a l t h o u g h the terms v a r y s l i g h t l y . The r e s e a r c h e r i s immersed i n the d a t a , i d e n t i f i e s c o m m o n a l i t i e s and t r i e s t o e x p l a i n t h e i r meaning i n terms of the p a r t i c i p a n t s ' e x p e r i e n c e s . The e s s e n t i a l purpose of phenomenology i s i s t o i d e n t i f y and und e r s t a n d the meaning t h a t p e o p l e ' s e x p e r i e n c e s have f o r them. Summary The p h e n o m e n o l o g i c a l method was chosen f o r t h i s s t u d y because of i t s v a l u e i n u n d e r s t a n d i n g the meaning t h a t s p e c i f i c e x p e r i e n c e s h o l d f o r the p a r t i c i p a n t s . The a r e a s around which d a t a c o l l e c t i o n r e v o l v e d were those of s t a y i n g i n a t r a n s i t i o n house and p r e v i o u s e x p e r i e n c e s i n c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s . The u n d e r l y i n g purpose was t o i d e n t i f y ways t o improve the s e r v i c e s c u r r e n t l y a v a i l a b l e i n t r a n s i t i o n houses. T h i s c h a p t e r has d i s c u s s e d the phenomenological method of q u a l i t a t i v e r e s e a r c h and some of the m e t h o d o l o g i c a l i s s u e s i n v o l v e d . The way i n which the method was used i n t h i s s t u d y was d e s c r i b e d i n a d i s c u s s i o n of the s e l e c t i o n of the p a r t i c i p a n t s , d a t a c o l l e c t i o n and d a t a a n a l y s i s t e c h n i q u e s . The next c h a p t e r w i l l d e s c r i b e the f i n d i n g s of the s t u d y . 37 CHAPTER FOUR A n a l y s i s and D i s c u s s i o n of Data I n t r o d u c t i o n The purpose of t h i s chapter i s to d e s c r i b e the f i n d i n g s of the study by c o n s i d e r i n g the women's pe r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r time i n the t r a n s i t i o n house and events i n t h e i r l i v e s which le d up to t h e i r being t h e r e . The chapter w i l l begin by d e s c r i b i n g the p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the study i n some d e t a i l . The p a r t i c i p a n t s ' p revious experiences i n c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i l l be d i s c u s s e d , and p o s s i b l e e f f e c t s of such r e l a t i o n s h i p s on t h e i r s e l f - c o n c e p t and h e l p - s e e k i n g behaviours w i l l be i d e n t i f i e d . The data were r e l a t e d to the kinds of exposure to s o c i a l support women had experienced before e n t e r i n g the t r a n s i t i o n house and d u r i n g t h e i r s t a y t h e r e . T h i s was because i t was hypothesized that t h e i r p r evious experiences of s o c i a l support might i n f l u e n c e t h e i r present a b i l i t y to use i t . Women c o u l d be expected to f a l l back on p r e v i o u s l y - l e a r n e d behaviours to get the support they needed. The chapter w i l l examine women's need f o r and use of s o c i a l support i n the t r a n s i t i o n house. The women's verbatim accounts w i l l be interwoven with a d i s c u s s i o n of the themes which emerged and r e l e v a n t f i n d i n g s from the l i t e r a t u r e . The chapter w i l l conclude with an overview of the process t h a t women appear to go through i n t h e i r use of the s o c i a l support systems a v a i l a b l e to them i n the t r a n s i t i o n house. 38 D e s c r i p t i o n of P a r t i c i p a n t s There were e i g h t women who agreed to be i n the study. T h e i r ages ranged from 20 to 42 years although most were i n t h e i r e a r l y 20s; the average age was 27 ye a r s . In s i x cases p h y s i c a l abuse had been o c c u r r i n g from the beginning of the r e l a t i o n s h i p with t h e i r p a r t n e r s . However, f o r two women who had been married the longest--13 and 20 years r e s p e c t i v e l y - - a c t u a l p h y s i c a l abuse had been o c c u r r i n g f o r r e l a t i v e l y s h o r t periods of time: 16 and 18 months. Each woman had one or two c h i l d r e n ; there were 13 c h i l d r e n i n a l l . Apart from two teenagers, the ages ranged from newborn to seven y e a r s . With so many dependent c h i l d r e n i t i s not s u r p r i s i n g t h a t s i x of the women were r e c e i v i n g w e l f a r e . The other two women continued to work a t jobs which they had hel d f o r some time. They were able to use t h e i r mothers as b a b y s i t t e r s when they l e f t the t r a n s i t i o n house. Seven of the women continued to have c o n t a c t with t h e i r husbands d u r i n g t h e i r s t a y i n the t r a n s i t i o n house and a f t e r they l e f t . In most cases t h i s c o n t a c t was necessary because the husbands had access orders to t h e i r c h i l d r e n t h a t s p e c i f i e d times of co n t a c t and c o n d i t i o n s under which c o n t a c t could occur. For example, one f a t h e r was allowed o n l y s u p e r v i s e d v i s i t s with h i s c h i l d because there was thought to be a p o t e n t i a l c h i l d abduction concern. In most cases the women d i d not leave the t r a n s i t i o n house u n t i l these l e g a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s had been addressed and, even then, they were 39 e x t r e m e l y nervous e v e r y time t h e y had t o c o n t a c t t h e i r husbands. Two of the women were l e a v i n g t h e i r husbands f o r the f i r s t t i m e . The o t h e r s i x had l e f t a t l e a s t once b e f o r e , two of them s i x and seven t i m e s r e s p e c t i v e l y . F i v e of the women were s t i l l committed t o s t a y i n g away from t h e i r husbands when l a s t c o n t a c t e d , which was a t l e a s t f o u r months a f t e r l e a v i n g . One of the o t h e r t h r e e women planned t o r e t u r n t o her husband to g i v e him another chance, and, a f t e r t he second i n t e r v i e w , she d i d s o. C o n t a c t w i t h the r e m a i n i n g two women was l o s t between the f i r s t and second i n t e r v i e w s ; i t i s t h e r e f o r e not known i f t h e y r e t u r n e d t o t h e i r husbands. A l t h o u g h one woman spen t o n l y a week i n the t r a n s i t i o n house, most of the s t a y s were from t h r e e weeks t o a month. In most cases the l e n g t h of the s t a y was governed by the date t h e i r new accommodations would be a v a i l a b l e , a l t h o u g h two women were unable t o l e a v e the s e c u r i t y of the t r a n s i t i o n house u n t i l some l e g a l s a f e g u a r d such as a r e s t r a i n i n g o r d e r a g a i n s t the husband was i n p l a c e . In a l l but one i n s t a n c e the women had a l r e a d y been i n c o n t a c t w i t h s e v e r a l d i f f e r e n t s e r v i c e s b e f o r e e n t e r i n g the t r a n s i t i o n house, from s o c i a l workers t o husbands' p r o b a t i o n o f f i c e r s and from m a r r i a g e c o u n s e l l o r s t o d i v o r c e l a w y e r s , i n e f f o r t s t o improve t h e i r s i t u a t i o n s . The women seemed a b l e t o c o o r d i n a t e t h e s e s e r v i c e c o n t a c t s from the s a f e t y of the 40 t r a n s i t i o n house i n a way which was Impossible while they were l i v i n g with t h e i r husbands. L a s t l y , a l l of the women except the two with whom cont a c t was l o s t had some f a m i l y support a v a i l a b l e to them. In s e v e r a l cases i t was evi d e n t t h a t the f a m i l y was r e l u c t a n t to i n t e r f e r e i n the marriage when the couple were together but, once they were a p a r t , the f a m i l y was a v a i l a b l e and i n every case helped whenever p o s s i b l e . The women chose to l i v e w i t h i n easy t r a v e l l i n g d i s t a n c e of t h e i r f a m i l i e s of o r i g i n when they l e f t the t r a n s i t i o n house. D e s c r i p t i o n of N o n - P a r t i c i p a n t s As p r e v i o u s l y d i s c u s s e d , the mechanism f o r s e l e c t i n g p a r t i c i p a n t s i n c l u d e d a t t e n d i n g the t r a n s i t i o n house r e s i d e n t s ' weekly meetings and making a p r e s e n t a t i o n about the study a f t e r t h e i r other business had been concluded. Those who could have p a r t i c i p a t e d but chose not t o , d i d so f o r a v a r i e t y of reasons. The f i r s t and by f a r the s m a l l e s t group c o n s i s t e d of three women who gave an unequivocal r e f u s a l upon being approached. Within t h i s group were those who cou l d see no value i n the study, e i t h e r to themselves or to anyone e l s e . T h i s group was unusual i n being so a s s e r t i v e . S i x women re f u s e d to p a r t i c i p a t e because, although they d i d not q u e s t i o n the value of the study, they were h u m i l i a t e d by the experience and wished to put i t behind them. 41 A f a r l a r g e r group was composed of 17 women who cou l d not q u i t e b r i n g themselves e i t h e r to commit themselves to the study, or to r e f u s e . They c o n s t a n t l y s a i d "Maybe" or "Perhaps," or asked f o r time to th i n k i t over. Some of them had been r e s i d e n t s f o r s e v e r a l weeks and even l i s t e n e d with apparent i n t e r e s t to the p r e s e n t a t i o n two or three times. However, they would then leave the t r a n s i t i o n house without j o i n i n g the study. I t i s p o s s i b l e that some of them lacked the a s s e r t i v e powers necessary to ref u s e o u t r i g h t . I t i s a l s o p o s s i b l e t h a t s e v e r a l needed more a c t i v e encouragement to j o i n the study than i t was a p p r o p r i a t e to g i v e . Nine women t e n t a t i v e l y agreed to be i n the study but then disappeared from the t r a n s i t i o n house without making c o n t a c t . There were s e v e r a l reasons why t h i s seemed to have happened. For i n s t a n c e , one woman's husband found the l o c a t i o n of the t r a n s i t i o n house, f o r c i n g a sudden move to another house; another was o f f e r e d an apartment and moved out between c o n t a c t times. The motives of the other women i n t h i s group are not known. The o n l y other major group of n o n - p a r t i c i p a n t s were women who, although r e s i d e n t s of the t r a n s i t i o n house, d i d not l i s t e n to the p r e s e n t a t i o n about the study. These women e i t h e r were not home a t the time of the meeting, went out d i r e c t l y a f t e r the meeting, went to another p a r t of the house when the p r e s e n t a t i o n began or had only a r r i v e d t h a t day and had l e f t before the next meeting. I t was d i f f i c u l t to keep an 42 accurate count of these women, but there were between 20 and 30 of them. Two women occupy a category of t h e i r own. One phoned and volun t e e r e d to be i n the study but then d i d not answer the door f o r her i n t e r v i e w . Another made an appointment but d i d not move i n t o the apartment she had rented; i t was l a t e r d i s c o v e r e d t h a t she had returned to her husband. Those who chose to p a r t i c i p a t e were a group with a high degree of s i m i l a r i t y i n terms of age, number and ages of c h i l d r e n and length of time they had been e x p e r i e n c i n g abuse. I n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of the data i n t h i s study are based on accounts of the experiences of these e i g h t women. Past Experiences i n Close R e l a t i o n s h i p s T h i s s e c t i o n w i l l d e s c r i b e the women's p e r c e p t i o n s of three d i f f e r e n t types of c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p and the s o c i a l support they r e c e i v e d from each. They a r e : 1. R e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h i n the woman's f a m i l y of o r i g i n . 2. R e l a t i o n s h i p s with f r i e n d s . 3. R e l a t i o n s h i p s with the m a r i t a l p a r t n e r . R e l a t i o n s h i p s with Family of O r i g i n Only three women came from a harmonious and i n t a c t home. The other f i v e had parents who had d i v o r c e d - - a l l with c o n s i d e r a b l e i l l - f e e l i n g - - a n d one of them had an a l c o h o l i c mother who had o c c a s i o n a l l y been p h y s i c a l l y abused by the p a r t i c i p a n t ' s f a t h e r p r i o r to the d i v o r c e . 43 Four women re p o r t e d c l o s e , c a r i n g and s u p p o r t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p s with a b r o t h e r . Two of the four had three br o t h e r s but re p o r t e d s p e c i a l c l o s e n e s s to one of them. Two women had s i s t e r s with whom they were not i n c o n t a c t . Even where parents had been separated or d i v o r c e d , r e l a t i o n s h i p s between the women and f a m i l y members had been warm and c a r i n g i n most cases, although two of the women had l o s t c o n t a c t with t h e i r f a m i l i e s . In one case i t was a gradual t h i n g which " j u s t happened," and i n the other the woman had cut o f f co n t a c t with her mother, f a t h e r and s i s t e r because she d i d not l i k e t h e i r a t t i t u d e towards her husband. She s a i d : C.2 . . . they weren't much hel p . I used to t r y to co n t a c t them. And he, my husband was always very n i c e to them. There was no need f o r them to be [that way] . . . and my s i s t e r was very c o l d j u s t because she d i d n ' t l i k e him . Th i s woman had the a l c o h o l i c mother and wife-abusing f a t h e r but even so, she remembered her ch i l d h o o d as e s s e n t i a l l y happy and c l o s e . I n t e r e s t i n g l y , t h i s woman t a l k e d about how she f e l t she got two d i f f e r e n t messages from her f a t h e r , about h e r s e l f as a woman and h e r s e l f as a person. She saw him as a very c o n t r o l l i n g husband. C.2 I t seemed c o n t r o l l e d , I mean he c o n t r o l l e d her, you know. He t o l d her what to wear, and not to d r i n k . What to say and when to say i t . . . . So I always f e l t my dad was kind of the type t h a t oh, he wouldn't have minded i f I had gotten any n o n - t r a d i t i o n a l type job, he was always pushing me to get ahead, do t h i n g s . Yet, I was g e t t i n g , I guess, t h i s other example. 44 T h i s woman, even though she remembered her chi l d h o o d as happy and c l o s e , d i d not thin k t h a t she had learned anything about f a m i l y support from them or about the way f a m i l i e s should be. She s a i d : C.2 They never t a l k e d about i t [ t h e i r l i v e s t o g e t h e r ] . They had a rough time j u s t communicating, and l e t t i n g out the f e e l i n g s , emotional, and s t u f f l i k e t h a t . In g e n e r a l , most of the women had p o s i t i v e r e c o l l e c t i o n s of t h e i r c h i l d h o o d s . In a l l cases there was a t l e a s t one person i n the f a m i l y with whom they f e l t a b l e to share s e c r e t s and concerns and to whom they could t u r n f o r hel p . In most cases the women were c l o s e to t h e i r mothers and had always been able to c a l l on them i n times of t r o u b l e , but i n two cases a brother was the one the woman turned t o . In f a c t , i n four cases a brother had been the onl y c l o s e f a m i l y member who had been a c t i v e l y encouraging the woman to leave the abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p . One brother had sought out i n f o r m a t i o n on the t o p i c and brought i t to h i s s i s t e r . C. 3 My brother gave me t h i s a r t i c l e out of a magazine and i n i t i t had the p r o f i l e of a wife b a t t e r e r . The end of the a r t i c l e l i s t e d a l l those t h i n g s and he s a i d "You've got to read t h i s , t h i s i s [him]." T h i s i s not to say t h a t the other f a m i l y members were i n d i f f e r e n t to the woman's problems. However, there was a gen e r a l understanding among the women t h a t , although t h e i r parents would be happy to support them when they made the move 45 t o l e a v e t h e i r m a r r i a g e s , t h e y w e r e n o t s u p p o r t i v e i n h e l p i n g t h e m t o m a k e t h e d e c i s i o n t o l e a v e . C.3 Y o u k n o w , my mom w a n t e d me t o l e a v e , f o r a l o n g t i m e , b u t s h e w o u l d n e v e r c o m e o u t a n d s a y " G e t o u t o f t h e r e . I w a n t y o u o u t o f t h e r e , " o r w h a t e v e r , i t w a s m o r e " I h o p e y o u d o d e c i d e t o l e a v e " k i n d o f t h i n g , " I t h i n k y o u s h o u l d , " b u t s h e w a s l e t t i n g me m a k e my o w n d e c i s i o n , w h i c h i s t h e o n l y - - I m e a n , I ' m t h e o n l y o n e t h a t c o u l d . T h e w o m e n a c c e p t e d t h e i r f a m i l i e s ' p o s i t i o n a s v a l i d a n d f e l t g o o d a b o u t t h e s u p p o r t t h e y w o u l d g e t i f t h e y l e f t t h e i r h u s b a n d s . C.3 O h , y e s , k n e w t h a t w h e n — I f e l t g o o d b e c a u s e I k n e w i f a n d w h e n I , y o u k n o w , w e r e t o l e a v e t h a t t h a t s u p p o r t w o u l d b e t h e r e . B e c a u s e , y o u k n o w , a l o t o f i t y o u h a v e t o d o i t o n y o u r o w n b u t i t d o e s h e l p t o k n o w t h a t y o u h a v e g o t t h a t s u p p o r t o u t t h e r e . O n e w o m a n w a s q u i t e s u r p r i s e d t h a t s h e w a s g e t t i n g s o m u c h s u p p o r t f r o m t h e f a m i l y o f h e r b r o t h e r ' s w i f e . C . 6 H e ' s i n [ p l a c e ] , s o we s e e a l o t o f e a c h o t h e r . A n d h i s w i f e , s h e ' s r e a l l y s u p p o r t i v e t o o . . . . I m e a n , I s p e n t l a s t C h r i s t m a s t h e r e , b e c a u s e b e i n g i n t h e t r a n s i t i o n h o m e , . . . s o I ' v e g o t t e n r e a l l y c l o s e w i t h t h e m , s o i t ' s b e e n n i c e t h a t , i n t h i s w a y , I ' v e f o u n d p e o p l e who a r e s u p p o r t i v e . T h e w o m e n h a d a g r e a t d e a l o f s u p p o r t f r o m t h e i r f a m i l i e s o n c e t h e y l e f t t h e i r p a r t n e r s . H o w e v e r , i n s o m e c a s e s i t s e e m e d t h a t f a m i l y m e m b e r s h a d n o t u n d e r s t o o d t h e g r a v i t y o f t h e s i t u a t i o n f o r s o m e t i m e . C.4 A n d I w a s r e a d y t o s t a y o v e r a t my p a r e n t s ' p l a c e , b u t my p a r e n t s s a i d " N o , y o u g o b a c k t o h i m . " T h e y d i d n ' t t h i n k t h e r e w a s a n y r e a s o n f o r me t o s t a y . 46 C.5 W e l l , my mom cou l d see I was upset. She could see I was l o s i n g weight. She co u l d see what i t was doing to me. L i k e something was wrong. She d i d n ' t want to say anyth i n g , she d i d n ' t want to get i n v o l v e d . And every time they came over to see [the husband], or j u s t to v i s i t , they would be greeted by t h i s w o n d e r f u l l y courteous man, who would go out of h i s way, bend over backwards f o r them, e v e r y t h i n g , you know, and then as soon as the door would c l o s e a f t e r they'd leave, he'd be a t me a g a i n . So they d i d n ' t know any of t h a t . So nobody understood. I thought nobody would understand, 'cause he t r e a t e d everybody i n my f a m i l y r e a l l y good. Yeah. So how would they understand t h a t he was so awful? T a l k i n g about her f a t h e r , one woman s a i d : C.6 . . . he even s a i d to me "Look, who's gonna want a 22 year o l d with two k i d s ? Go back to him. You're never gonna f i n d anyone b e t t e r than him." There may have been s e v e r a l reasons f o r the f a c t t h a t the f a m i l y d i d not immediately r e a l i z e the s e v e r i t y of the s i t u a t i o n . One, which w i l l be d i s c u s s e d i n more depth l a t e r i n t h i s chapter, i s t h a t women tend to minimize or deny the extent and/or the s e v e r i t y of the v i o l e n c e . I t may be that the women were not g i v i n g v ery c l e a r cues to t h e i r f a m i l i e s because, a t the time, they themselves d i d not understand how bad t h i n g s were. T h i s i s borne out by the women's d e s c r i p t i o n s of t a l k between r e s i d e n t s i n the t r a n s i t i o n house. They d e s c r i b e — a g a i n , t h i s w i l l be d i s c u s s e d i n more depth l a t e r i n t h i s chapter--how important i t was to compare s i t u a t i o n s with other women because of the understanding gained d u r i n g such t a l k s . I f t h i s understanding was not achieved u n t i l they were r e s i d e n t s , then they o b v i o u s l y d i d 47 not have i t while they were s t i l l l i v i n g a t home. I t may t h e r e f o r e be true t h a t they were not g i v i n g c l e a r messages to t h e i r f a m i l i e s . They may a l s o have been too h u m i l i a t e d and embarrassed to d i s c u s s i t . Both the women and t h e i r f a m i l i e s operated w i t h i n the l i m i t s s e t out by the abusive husbands u n t i l the women became w i l l i n g or ab l e to leave the marriage. In two cases the l i m i t s were c o v e r t l y c h a l l e n g e d . One woman used to sneak her c h i l d r e n out to see t h e i r grandparents, which was a fo r b i d d e n c o n t a c t . Another had an e l a b o r a t e telephone c o n t a c t system s e t up with her mother, who was not allowed to c a l l her. C l When he was out I used to phone her. We had our phone number changed but I phoned her and I t o l d her my new number because I s a i d " L i s t e n , i n case you r e a l l y need to get hold of me," I s a i d , " I ' l l phone you once i n a blue moon," and she s a i d "Well, i f I phone you and he answers the phone I ' l l j u s t hang up or I ' l l say 'Sorry, wrong number' (using o r i e n t a l a c c e n t ) . " She's r e a l l y good a t doing t h a t . The data from a l l the women, except one, support the a s s e r t i o n t h a t they had p o t e n t i a l support from t h e i r f a m i l i e s . As w i l l be d i s c u s s e d l a t e r , some of the women were slower than they might have been to approach t h e i r f a m i l i e s or f r i e n d s f o r help, because they d i d not thin k anyone would understand the s i t u a t i o n . However, t h i s r e t i c e n c e was not due to a b e l i e f t h a t there was no support f o r them but r a t h e r to t h e i r sense t h a t t h e i r s i t u a t i o n was unique, u n b e l i e v a b l e and too hard to e x p l a i n . A l l but one of these women had grown up i n a f a m i l y 48 where there was a t l e a s t one i n d i v i d u a l from whom they c o u l d get support. R e l a t i o n s h i p s with F r i e n d s A l l the women had f r i e n d s with whom they were c l o s e before they entered the abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p . These f r i e n d s h i p s underwent a great d e a l of s t r a i n d u r i n g the p e r i o d of the marriages, and i n some cases d i d not endure. C.4 And t h a t a l l changed as soon as I met [husband]. And I don't know what to do. And my f r i e n d s , I had l o s t them a l l , because of him. I: So you were g r a d u a l l y being cut o f f ? C: E x a c t l y . Yeah. I: From everybody? C: Everybody, and e v e r y t h i n g . One woman t a l k e d about the f a c t t h at once she was married she was allowed to be i n co n t a c t o n l y with people who had begun by being her husband's f r i e n d s . C.5 . . . . I l o s t a l l my f r i e n d s when I met him, 'cause I'm 27, and he's almost 40, so there's such a b i g age d i f f e r e n c e . He d i d n ' t want anything to do with the people I knew, although he had never met anybody, and known anybody, he f i g u r e d they were a l l j u s t . . . Even the women who were s t i l l i n c o n t a c t with t h e i r f r i e n d s d u r i n g t h e i r marriages sometimes found i t to be more of a s t r a i n than a support, because they were having to defend, to t h e i r f r i e n d s , the d e c i s i o n to remain i n the abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p . C.6 I had my g i r l f r i e n d s . Mind you, my g i r l f r i e n d s d i d n ' t l i k e my husband a t a l l . They d i d n ' t l i k e him, and they j u s t kept s a y i n g to me "Look, get out of the r e . You're s t a r t i n g to deserve i t i f you s t a y . " I 49 mean, I h i d a l o t of the times I was beaten, because I d i d n ' t want to hear i t , because I knew what they'd say. One woman who was able to keep up a long-term f r i e n d s h i p managed i t o n l y by making the d e c i s i o n not to t a l k about the abuse. C.5 I had one g i r l f r i e n d , t h a t I've been i n touch with but she has a b e a u t i f u l home, with b e a u t i f u l f u r n i t u r e , n i c e husband t h a t would do anything, and there's no way she would understand. I d i d n ' t f i l l her i n with any of the d e t a i l s . She d i d n ' t know th a t he h i t me, or she would've been p r e t t y d i s g u s t e d with me, so I j u s t never t o l d her anything about t h a t . I wanted t o , but I knew she wouldn't understand. She would j u s t t e l l me "What are you doing? Why are you with t h i s s t u p i d man?" You know, that type of t h i n g . Throughout the accounts there was a great sense t h a t the women would have welcomed someone knowing what was happening to them but t h a t they found i t hard to t a l k c l e a r l y about i t . I t may be t h a t j u s t as they had some d i f f i c u l t y being c l e a r and e x p l i c i t with t h e i r f a m i l i e s , they a l s o had the same d i f f i c u l t y with t h e i r f r i e n d s . Once the d e c i s i o n was made to leave the s i t u a t i o n , most of the women found that they had a great d e a l of support from t h e i r f r i e n d s . One woman t a l k e d with g r a t i t u d e about the concrete support she had r e c e i v e d throughout the extended process of l e a v i n g her husband. C.8 And we stayed f o r a week a t my f r i e n d ' s house, and then we came back f o r about a week and a h a l f , or two weeks, and he threw us out again, and t h i s time . . . he was h i t t i n g me, and, you know, s l a p p i n g my head, and k i c k i n g me, and throwing t h i n g s a t me . . . and I was r e a l l y a f r a i d , so we stayed a t my f r i e n d ' s t h i s time f o r over a month. 50 The two women who worked r e c e i v e d a great d e a l of support from f r i e n d s a t work. C.3 I am going back to work on the 15th. And they have s a i d to me, you know, i f you need anything, you know, we are a l l going to look around our houses f o r t h i n g s t h a t you-- i t was r e a l l y n i c e . T o t a l l y . That s u r p r i s e d me because . . . i t i s a d i f f e r e n t t h i n g g i v i n g . . . emotional support as opposed to [concrete support] . C.4 And I remember he phoned there [work] a couple of times, and each time i t was kind of intervened by one of the g i r l s , and they would kind of put him o f f and say "No, she's not here. We can't g i v e you any i n f o r m a t i o n . " But, I remember I t o l d my manager what the whole s i t u a t i o n was, and she was more upset than I was about the whole matter. Other women found that when they r e c e i v e d encouragement to leave t h e i r marriages from f r i e n d s of t h e i r husband, i t c a r r i e d s p e c i a l weight with them. C . l [Husband's f r i e n d speaking] " . . . don't go back to him r i g h t now." And he s a i d t h a t r i g h t i n f r o n t of [husband], and a l l my f r i e n d s are s a y i n g "Don't go back," so that r e a l l y h e l p s . One woman made the f i n a l d e c i s i o n to leave because she r e c e i v e d a phone c a l l from an o l d b o y f r i e n d j u s t a f t e r she had been i n an abusive i n c i d e n t . C. 5 . . . so I t o l d him, and found him to be very s u p p o r t i v e , and that was another way of s e e i n g t h a t I d i d have f r i e n d s out there . . . The idea of there being s u p p o r t i v e people "out t h e r e , " and what they represented to the women, was very important to them. 51 C.5 . . . and there was people t h a t cared out ther e , and tha t s o r t of made me r e a l i z e . I wanted to l i v e the l i f e I wanted to l i v e , and not the kind of l i f e he t h i n k s I should l i v e . C. 3 . . . I f e l t good because I knew i f and when I, you know, were to leave t h a t t h a t support would be t h e r e . In g e n e r a l , the women seemed to th i n k t h a t the s o c i a l support represented by t h e i r f r i e n d s h i p s gave them s t r e n g t h to do the t h i n g s they knew they had to do. This i s an idea which i s confirmed by the s o c i a l support l i t e r a t u r e , where the no t i o n i s emerging t h a t adequate s o c i a l networks have a d i r e c t and p o s i t i v e i n f l u e n c e on general h e a l t h and w e l l being (Braverman, 1983; Brownell & Shumaker, 1984; G o t t l i e b , 1983). Caplan (1961) sees the f u n c t i o n of s o c i a l support as p r o v i d i n g the i n d i v i d u a l with feedback and v a l i d a t i o n . I t i s a l s o recognized t h a t a s t r o n g support network may help to inc r e a s e p e r s o n a l f e e l i n g s of w e l l being and thereby i n f l u e n c e the way a s t r e s s o r i s experienced by the i n d i v i d u a l (Brownell & Shumaker, 1984). A rec e n t study by M i t c h e l l & Hodson (1983) d i s c u s s e d " S o c i a l Support and P s y c h o l o g i c a l Health Among Ba t t e r e d Women." These r e s e a r c h e r s i n t e r v i e w e d 60 women i n t r a n s i t i o n houses w i t h i n a week of t h e i r a r r i v a l a t the house. One s i g n i f i c a n t f i n d i n g i s th a t the s t r u c t u r e of the s o c i a l t i e s a v a i l a b l e to a woman g r e a t l y i n f l u e n c e the s o c i a l support she r e c e i v e s . S p e c i f i c a l l y , the more the o v e r l a p between her s o c i a l network and that of her husband, the l e s s the support 5 2 she was o f f e r e d . T h i s i s because i n most cases the f r i e n d s were o r i g i n a l l y her husband's f r i e n d s . I t i s recognized i n the l i t e r a t u r e t h a t b a t t e r i n g may be a d i f f i c u l t i s s u e on which to seek support from f a m i l y and f r i e n d s ( M i t c h e l l & Hodson, 1983). Battered women f e e l ambivalent and embarrassed about r a i s i n g the issue and, as M i t c h e l l and Hodson s t a t e : I f f r i e n d s and f a m i l y are aware of the s i t u a t i o n , a t l e a s t to some degree, a woman's apparent r e l u c t a n c e to "open up" may r e i n f o r c e t h e i r b e l i e f s t h a t i t i s a " p r i v a t e " matter between husband and wife i n which they should not i n v o l v e themselves, (p. 634) I t may be that a l l e i g h t women i n the c u r r e n t study were abl e t o leave because of t h e i r p r e v i o u s l y e s t a b l i s h e d support network. A l l of these women, even those who had been i s o l a t e d from t h e i r f r i e n d s d u r i n g t h e i r marriages, were used to having the kind of support found i n c l o s e f r i e n d s h i p s . R e l a t i o n s h i p s with Husbands A l l the women had experienced p h y s i c a l abuse w i t h i n the context of marriage. When t a l k i n g about t h i s p e r i o d of t h e i r l i v e s , some of the women showed a tendency to minimize the extent of the t h r e a t under which they had l i v e d . Some of the th i n g s which women s a i d were c o n t r a d i c t o r y , and even when they d i d acknowledge that the v i o l e n c e occurred, they seemed to imply t h a t some degree, l e v e l or frequency of v i o l e n c e was more ac c e p t a b l e than o t h e r s . C . 2 I wouldn't say badly beaten up, I got pushed around q u i t e a b i t . Nothing l i k e cuts and b r u i s e s on my face, 53 but p r e t t y w e l l kicked around. C . l We don't p h y s i c a l l y f i g h t . We scream and y e l l and throw t h i n g s , but we don't-- he doesn't u s u a l l y h i t me. A couple of times he's h i t me, a couple of times he's threatened me, but-- he j u s t can't b r i n g himself to h i t anyone. H e ' l l grab and h e ' l l s q u e e z e — I've had b r u i s e s on my arms, i t ' s j u s t squeezing. C . 4 The t h r e a t was t h e r e . He has threatened me i n many d i f f e r e n t ways. Mainly v e r b a l l y . I don't know i f he would have ever done i t . A c t u a l l y , a t one p o i n t , he d i d throw a b o i l i n g pot of water a t me. He's thrown a s h t r a y s a t me, he's thrown a number of dishes a t me. He's put knives beside him, threatened to throw them a t me. I don't know. One woman, t a l k i n g about the tendency of women she had t a l k e d to i n the t r a n s i t i o n house to minimize what had happened to them, s a i d : C.6 And t h e r e ' s a l o t of f e a r s I don't t h i n k t h a t they want to hear, you know, because I know-- I'd say "Well, my husband d i d t h i s . " "Oh, mine's never done t h a t . He would never do t h a t . I t ' s not so much that he doesn't beat me, he j u s t k i c k s me i n the head, or punches me." They haven't r e a l i z e d t h a t t h a t ' s b e a t i n g . The tendency of both abused wives and abusive husbands to minimize the extent of the v i o l e n c e i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s has been d i s c u s s e d i n the l i t e r a t u r e (Ganley, 1981). R o u n s a v i l l e (1978b) t a l k s about the f a c t t h at women per c e i v e d and i n t e r p r e t e d the abuse they r e c e i v e d very d i f f e r e n t l y even though, to o b j e c t i v e observers, the abuse was i d e n t i c a l . However, p h y s i c a l abuse was only one method by which these husbands attempted to ex e r t c o n t r o l over t h e i r wives. Every aspect of the wives' behaviour was monitored and 54 c o n t r o l l e d by these men. A l l e i g h t women had remarkably s i m i l a r s t o r i e s to t e l l i n t h i s a r e a . Some examples a r e : C.7 Mental s t r e s s would be the main t h i n g . You never knew what he was gonna do, and he was always very c r i t i c a l - - I c o u l d n ' t do anything r i g h t , i n h i s eyes. He would-- you know, I might t r y and do things to the best of my a b i l i t y , but i t wasn't good enough. C l I'd have to get up and do a l l the housework then s i t around and watch T.V. I wasn't allowed to go out very much, and i f he wanted to go swimming I had to go swimming, and i f he d i d n ' t l i k e the way something was done he'd t e l l me to do i t agai n the way he wanted i t done, and i t was j u s t a b i g h a s s l e . C. 4 You know, I was t h i n k i n g over a l l the t h i n g s t h a t have happened and, I mean, when I think about i t he wouldn't even l e t me have a bath. I wasn't allowed to have a bath, because I was s i t t i n g i n d i r t y water. I'm not allowed to do t h a t . I f I have a bath, I have to take a shower r i g h t a f t e r t h a t . Husbands a l s o t r i e d to i n f l u e n c e t h e i r wives by being n i c e to them. This i s a phenomenon w e l l - d e s c r i b e d i n the l i t e r a t u r e although there are d i f f e r e n t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s f o r i t (Dutton & P a i n t e r , 1981; Ganley, 1981; Walker, 1979). Ganley re c o g n i z e s husbands' e x c e s s i v e dependence on the women they abuse and notes that men w i l l do more or l e s s anything to keep t h e i r wives. Walker's b a t t e r i n g c y c l e d e s c r i b e s a "honeymoon p e r i o d " f o l l o w i n g a v i o l e n t i n c i d e n t and sees t h i s phase as r e s u l t i n g from the husband's remorse. Dutton and P a i n t e r t a l k about the unhealthy dependency needs of these husbands. A f t e r being i n the t r a n s i t i o n house the women had a f a i r l y c y n i c a l a t t i t u d e to these i n f l u e n c i n g attempts. 55 C.6 L i k e i t makes you s i c k . . . . So, . . . i f [he] gave me fl o w e r s , I'd j u s t - - i t doesn't mean anything, because he had used i t f o r the wrong reasons, t r y i n g to make up, you know, but flowers don't make the b r u i s e s , or the p a i n , or anything e l s e go away. C.5 Oh he s a i d "No, no, you can't go now, t h i s type of t h i n g . I s a i d "Just leave me a l o n e , " and he s a i d "You're not going, you're not l e a v i n g , " t h i s type of t h i n g . And I r e a l i z e d l a t e r t h a t what he was doing was, he was t h i n k i n g of h i m s e l f a t t h a t p o i n t , because he always thought i f I l e f t him, he was going to charge me with d e s e r t i o n , r i g h t ? That was h i s b i g p l o y . He was t h i n k i n g i f I l e f t , being e i g h t months pregnant, going to a t r a n s i t i o n house, a judge would look upon t h a t as being a p r e t t y desperate woman, to leave under those c o n d i t i o n s . However, even though the women saw these attempts to manipulate f o r what they were, they a l s o t a l k e d a great d e a l about the f e e l i n g s they had f o r t h e i r husbands. The women had great f e e l i n g s of r e g r e t and ambivalence and seemed almost to want to c l a r i f y the way they f e l t about t h e i r husbands and t h e i r marriages. C.3 Oh, I don't want to l i v e with him, but I ' l l always be married to him. C.4 Although he made i t happen. I don't t h i n k i t was a s u r p r i s e f o r him, nor f o r me. You know, we love each other v e r y much, but we j u s t cannot l i v e with each other. Some of the women t a l k e d about t h e i r husbands i n ways which showed that they s t i l l f e l t a t i e or sense of commitment. C.5 But having k i d s with somebody, i t ' s a t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t world. I t ' s not l i k e g i r l f r i e n d / b o y f r i e n d s t u f f , and 56 you say "O.K., see you l a t e r - - " C. 8 . . . b e c a u s e — Oh, I f o r g o t to mention on the tape, j u s t before Christmas, he [was s i c k , which hadn't happened b e f o r e ] , and t h a t scared the l i v i n g d a y l i g h t s out of me then, and a l s o to leave him knowing that t h a t could happen to him again, and perhaps, because he was l i v i n g on h i s own, a l l by h i m s e l f , I mean, what kind of g u i l t t r i p — For the f i r s t three or four days t h a t I was a t the house, and away, I was j u s t as t e r r i f i e d f o r him, as I was f o r me. It seemed as though the women were s a y i n g that although they had taken the only a c t i o n p o s s i b l e , t h i s marriage was important to them and the d e c i s i o n to leave i t was a l a s t r e s o r t . One woman seemed to sum i t up as she t r i e d to e x p l a i n her husband's f e e l i n g s towards h i s v i o l e n c e and her response to i t . C l He f e e l s v e r y s o r r y , he doesn't know why he gets v i o l e n t and he wants to f i n d out why and work i t out, but I s a i d I won't come home u n t i l you do. U n t i l I f e l t s a f e a g a i n . There have been numerous attempts to e x p l a i n the dynamics of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the abuser and the abused. Dutton and P a i n t e r d i s c u s s the unfortunate e f f e c t s of one of the most per v a s i v e myths, the "female as masochist", i n t h e i r 1981 a r t i c l e on traumatic bonding. As they p o i n t out, agencies to which a woman may t u r n to f o r help o f t e n r e f l e c t such b e l i e f s i n t h e i r approach to the women. There has been a great d e a l of work i n recent years to ch a l l e n g e the masochism e x p l a n a t i o n f o r wife abuse ( F e r r a r o , 1983; Langley and Levy, 1977; R o u n s a v i l l e & Weissman, 1978; 57 S t a r , 1978). Other t h e o r i e s r e l a t e d to c a u s a t i o n which appear i n the l i t e r a t u r e are Walker's (1978) learned h e l p l e s s n e s s theory and t h e o r i e s which d i s c u s s s o c i a l and c u l t u r a l norms of v i o l e n c e (Pagelow, 1984; Stark, e t a l . , 1979; St r a u s s , 1976). I t i s beyond the scope of t h i s study to reach any c o n c l u s i o n s r e g a r d i n g the r e l a t i v e merits of p s y c h o l o g i c a l v s . s o c i o l o g i c a l t h e o r i e s of wife abuse. However, i n the context of the present d i s c u s s i o n i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note t h a t a p o s s i b l e c o n n e c t i o n has been suggested between exposure to v i o l e n c e as a c h i l d and w i l l i n g n e s s to remain i n an abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p as an a d u l t (Dutton & P a i n t e r , 1981). T h i s may be because exposure to v i o l e n c e i n chi l d h o o d appears to r a i s e the acceptance of i t (Owens & S t r a u s s , 1975) or because such exposure may lead t o in c r e a s e d p e r c e p t i o n s of powerlessness and h e l p l e s s n e s s ( B a l l & Wyman, 1978). The next s e c t i o n of t h i s chapter w i l l look a t the cumulative e f f e c t s t h a t c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s have had on the women i n t h i s study. Cumulative E f f e c t s of a l l Experiences i n Close R e l a t i o n s h i p s These women's experiences seem, i n g e n e r a l , to have r e s u l t e d i n women who were somewhat v u l n e r a b l e to the i n f l u e n c e s w i t h i n t h e i r marriages but who had the degree of inner s t r e n g t h necessary to help themselves when they needed i t . When the data were analyzed, concepts were found to be present which were s i m i l a r to those d e s c r i b e d i n the l i t e r a t u r e . T h i s s e c t i o n of the chapter w i l l look at the connecti o n between the women's experiences i n c l o s e 58 r e l a t i o n s h i p s and these f a c t o r s mentioned e a r l i e r as being common i n the l i v e s of abused women: 1. S o c i a l i s o l a t i o n . 2. Low s e l f - e s t e e m . 3. Learned h e l p l e s s n e s s . Each of these f a c t o r s w i l l be looked a t i n terms of i t s i n f l u e n c e on these women's a b i l i t i e s to g a i n the support they needed. S o c i a l i s o l a t i o n . There i s no doubt t h a t these p a r t i c u l a r women were s o c i a l l y i s o l a t e d . A l l the women d i s c u s s e d the i s o l a t i o n they experienced and the way i t made them f e e l . C l I wasn't allowed to t a l k to my mum . . . . C.3 They i s o l a t e you from f a m i l y and f r i e n d s or from my f a m i l y , I was t o t a l l y cut o f f from the, my f a m i l y . C.4 Because I was s e e i n g my parents, and my parents were fo r b i d d e n to be i n the apartment, so whenever the s u b j e c t of my parents come up we always argued over the matter. C.6 He d i d [ i s o l a t e me from] my f r i e n d s . You know, he d i d n ' t l i k e my dad because he preached AA. He d i d n ' t l i k e anyone t h a t I knew. As p r e v i o u s l y d i s c u s s e d , some of the i s o l a t i o n was sel f - i m p o s e d . The women d i d not t e l l f r i e n d s and f a m i l y about the abuse. In t h i s sense, there was a c e r t a i n degree of self - i m p o s e d and s e l e c t i v e s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n . These women d i d not lack s o c i a l c o n t a c t as such. They lacked permission to 59 t a l k about the f a c t t h a t they were being abused. In t h i s sense they were s o c i a l l y i s o l a t e d . They lacked o p p o r t u n i t i e s to g a i n s o c i a l support because t h e i r s o c i a l c o n t a c t s were a t a s u p e r f i c i a l l e v e l . S o c i a l i s o l a t i o n can vary i n i n t e n s i t y . The e f f e c t s of a s i g n i f i c a n t degree of s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n may be nervousness, l e s s comfort i n the use of s o c i a l s k i l l s and decreased p e r s o n a l e f f e c t i v e n e s s (Jones, 1980). These women d i d experience a s i g n i f i c a n t degree of s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n d u r i n g t h e i r marriages; however, a l l e i g h t had a well-developed s e t of s o c i a l s k i l l s and a well-developed s o c i a l network. Therefore the i s o l a t i o n was not complete. Any time the women were able to reach out to t h e i r network i t was there f o r them. I t can t h e r e f o r e be assumed t h a t t h i s knowledge may have given them some comfort, even a t the worst of times; they were c e r t a i n l y not more than a phone c a l l away from someone who cared. Access t o s o c i a l r esources may be an important f a c t o r i n a woman's d e c i s i o n to s t a y i n or to leave the r e l a t i o n s h i p (Dutton & P a i n t e r , 1981). I t i s a well-documented t r a i t of c u l t l e a d e r s such as J . Jones of the Jamestown mass s u i c i d e tragedy, or the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, to i s o l a t e t h e i r f o l l o w e r s i n order to decrease the e f f e c t s of o u t s i d e i n f l u e n c e and inc r e a s e t h e i r own (Aronson, 1984). In the case of these b a t t e r e d wives the attempts to i s o l a t e them had not been complete. They d i d have f r i e n d s . T h erefore, u n l i k e c u l t 60 members, they were able to get feedback from o u t s i d e r s . I t may have been p a r t i a l l y due to t h i s l i m i t e d c o n t a c t t h a t they were a b l e , e v e n t u a l l y , to make the break. Low s e l f - e s t e e m . A l l but one of the women had been somewhat a f f e c t e d by the v e r b a l abuse they had r e c e i v e d . A l l d i s c u s s e d a p e r i o d i n t h e i r marriages d u r i n g which they almost l o s t t h e i r confidence as a r e s u l t of t h e i r husbands' "put-downs." C5 . . . and he kept s a y i n g t h a t i t was me, i t was my f a u l t , and I kept t h i n k i n g i t was, maybe I was s t u p i d , and e v e r y t h i n g , and I took i t r e a l l y to heart, and i t was always on my mind. One woman was a t y p i c a l . She d e s c r i b e d the r e l a t i o n s h i p with her husband as one i n which there was never any sug g e s t i o n t h a t she was r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the v i o l e n c e . O c c a s i o n a l d i s p a r a g i n g remarks were made but they were never enough t o make her f e e l i n f e r i o r or to make her f e e l doubts about h e r s e l f . C.2 Not about me, he d i d n ' t r e a l l y put me down. Which was a d i f f e r e n t t h i n g compared to a l o t of oth e r - - w e l l , sure, he would, l i t t l e remarks, but i t wasn't c o n s t a n t . I mean, he'd compliment me, and t h i n g s , you know. So I d i d n ' t f e e l bad about myself. No, of b e l i e v i n g what he was t e l l i n g me, that I was s t u p i d , or something. In t h i s case the husband had been s e v e r e l y abused as a c h i l d , and they both a t t r i b u t e d h i s v i o l e n c e to t h i s i n f l u e n c e . Both women who worked t a l k e d about the m i t i g a t i n g e f f e c t t h a t the co n t a c t with o u t s i d e r s had on t h e i r a b i l i t y to withstand t h e i r husbands' a t t a c k s on t h e i r s e l f - e s t e e m . 61 C.3 I ' l l t e l l you what saved me i s having my job because I was down i n [place] three days a week and sometimes more, not too much, but there I was my own s e l f , r i g h t ? Nobody was t e l l i n g me t h a t , you know, what a crummy job I was doing. There seems to have come a p o i n t i n s e v e r a l of the r e l a t i o n s h i p s where the women suddenly r e a l i z e d t h at indeed they were worthwhile, and th a t what was happening was not t h e i r f a u l t . C.l Yes, I used to t h i n k about i t as my f a u l t and then the second time I knew i t wasn't my f a u l t , a t a l l , l i k e I d i d n ' t do anything wrong. C.5 I d i d n ' t b e l i e v e i t . I j u s t knew I wasn't l i k e t h a t . I knew he had pegged me wrong, and from then on I j u s t s o r t of s a t th e r e , and took i t , and . . . . A l l these women had ou t s i d e c o n t a c t s with people who valued them and who made i t p l a i n t h a t support was a v a i l a b l e when needed. A l l but one of these women had had a ch i l d h o o d i n which there was c l o s e n e s s and support and a f e e l i n g of s e c u r i t y . The one woman who had not had t h i s c h i l d h o o d support was i n an abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p i n which there were no overt a t t a c k s on her s e l f - e s t e e m . I t i s p o s s i b l e t h a t the r e s u l t s would have been very d i f f e r e n t f o r her, had t h i s not been so. Th e r e f o r e , one i n t e r p r e t a t i o n which might be drawn i s t h a t the background of these women helped them to maintain t h e i r s e l f - e s t e e m . I t i s important to remember that none of these women went to the t r a n s i t i o n house as an immediate r e s u l t of a v i o l e n t i n c i d e n t . Rather, they went there i n 62 a n t i c i p a t i o n of the i n e v i t a b l e next i n c i d e n t . They r e a l i z e d t h a t t h e i r c h i l d r e n were being a d v e r s e l y a f f e c t e d , or they r e a l i z e d that nothing would change unless they made the move to l e a v e . T h i s i s f u r t h e r c o n f i r m a t i o n t h a t the women were a c t i n g i n a c a r e f u l l y c o n s i d e r e d way and being p r o a c t i v e r a t h e r than r e a c t i v e . Almost a l l the r e s e a r c h e r s i n the l i t e r a t u r e d i s c u s s the c o r r e l a t i o n between women w i t n e s s i n g abuse d u r i n g c h i l d h o o d and becoming abused as a d u l t s (Dutton & P a i n t e r , 1981; Langley & Levy, 1977). Dutton and P a i n t e r d i s c u s s the f a c t t h a t g i r l s who see t h e i r mothers beaten may begin to see themselves as "second-class c i t i z e n s who deserve to be i l l - t r e a t e d " (pp. 142-143). T h i s view of s e l f c o n t r i b u t e s to low s e l f - e s t e e m . G e l l e s (1976) interviewed members of 41 f a m i l i e s i n which wife abuse had oc c u r r e d . He found t h a t one of the major f a c t o r s i n f l u e n c i n g the l i k e l i h o o d of the wife remaining i n the marriage was the amount of p h y s i c a l punishment she had r e c e i v e d as a c h i l d . The more she had been s t r u c k , the more l i k e l y she was to s t a y with an abusive husband. None of these women had been s t r u c k as c h i l d r e n and t h e i r s e l f - e s t e e m had not been i r r e v o c a b l y damaged by t h e i r husbands' v e r b a l a t t a c k s , although there had been an i n i t i a l p e r i o d of s e l f - d o u b t a f t e r the abuse began. I t may be t h a t t h i s combination c o n t r i b u t e d to the a b i l i t y of these women to begin a c t i n g i n t h e i r own best i n t e r e s t s r e l a t i v e l y e a r l y i n the process of l e a v i n g . 63 Learned h e l p l e s s n e s s . S e v e r a l of the women went through p e r i o d s when they were not sure how to handle the s i t u a t i o n . However, none of them ever e x h i b i t e d the c l a s s i c kind of learned h e l p l e s s n e s s d e s c r i b e d by Seligman (1974), a t t r i b u t e d to abused women by Walker (1979) and endorsed by t h e r a p i s t s ( B a l l and Wyman, 1978; Weingourt, 1985). In f a c t , these women never gave up t r y i n g to i n f l u e n c e what was happening to them. They d i d t h i s i n many d i f f e r e n t ways. S e v e r a l of the women made conscious e f f o r t s to i n v o l v e o u t s i d e agencies to help them before they a c t u a l l y l e f t the r e l a t i o n s h i p . C.3 So I s t a r t e d to make plans and I went to a lawyer and I got h i s a d v i c e . C. 8 I phoned everywhere. I phoned the t r a n s i t i o n home, p s y c h i a t r i s t s , d o c t o r s , p o l i c e , lawyers, t r y i n g to get help f o r him . . . . Two of the women t r i e d being v e r y f i r m with t h e i r husbands, e x p l a i n i n g t h a t they would not take any more of the abuse. C . l And I t o l d him I was going t o charge him i f he ever h i t me a g a i n . C.5 Gave him an ultimatum t h a t he could d r i n k beer, 'cause t h a t d i d n ' t change him. I thought i t was j u s t d r i n k i n g t h a t made him abusive, so I gave him an ultimatum. He coul d d r i n k beer, 'cause that d i d n ' t change him v i o l e n t l y , or e l s e I'd l e a v e . However, there were times when they f e l t "stuck", and unsure of what t o do. 64 C.5 And I d i d n ' t do anything. I was stuck, I was pregnant. One woman developed a mechanism which enabled her to t o l e r a t e what was happening to her. C.3 . . . I would tune him out and t u r n i t o f f . I mean I would j u s t s o r t of be a l l tense i n s i d e but th a t was my way of ha n d l i n g i t . I wouldn't c r y , I wouldn't break down, I would j u s t s o r t of s i t and h a r d l y - - I mean I j u s t — because I d i d n ' t c a r e . An i l l u s t r a t i o n of how c r e a t i v e l y the women looked f o r help i s found i n the account of how one of them found the t r a n s i t i o n house. C.5 I was so fed up with e v e r y t h i n g , so I thought there has to be somewhere where I c o u l d go with the c h i l d r e n . I'd heard of an unwed mothers' home so I thought, i f they've got a place l i k e t h a t , they've got to have a pl a c e f o r b a t t e r e d women, type t h i n g , you know, and t h e i r c h i l d r e n to go, so I phoned, i n the blue pages of the phone book, I phoned a place c a l l e d T r a n s i t i o n House, and I f i g u r e d t h a t was f o r e x - c o n v i c t s , or something, to go a f t e r they get out of j a i l , you know, t h a t type of t h i n g , so I wasn't sure, but I phoned i t anyways, and sure enough, i t turned out to be the place I was l o o k i n g f o r . Seligman's o r i g i n a l concept of learned h e l p l e s s n e s s l i n k e d i t with the development of de p r e s s i o n ( M i l l e r & Seligman, 1975; Seligman, 1975). T h i s l i n k has continued throughout the wife abuse l i t e r a t u r e (Dutton & P a i n t e r , 1981; M i t c h e l l and Hodson, 1983). The women i n the present study d i d not e x h i b i t learned h e l p l e s s n e s s and they d i d not r e p o r t d e p r e s s i o n i n any c l i n i c a l sense. T h i s may be f u r t h e r support f o r a hypothesis t h a t previous c o n d i t i o n i n g i n c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s with f a m i l i e s and f r i e n d s provided them with the 65 needed defences to cope with t h e i r husbands. The o v e r a l l cumulative e f f e c t s of t h e i r experiences i n c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s was t h a t they were f o r c e d to leave the r e l a t i o n s h i p with t h e i r husbands and t h a t experiences with f a m i l i e s and f r i e n d s enabled them to do so. There was no evidence from these women th a t they ever developed f e e l i n g s of apathy l e a d i n g to i n a b i l i t y to a c t . Indeed, q u i t e the opposite seemed t r u e ; they r e c o g n i z e d v e r y r e l u c t a n t l y t h a t they were not abl e to make the changes i n t h e i r marriages that they wanted. These determined attempts to i n f l u e n c e t h e i r s i t u a t i o n s may be a r e s u l t of the upb r i n g i n g these women had r e c e i v e d . Readiness t o Leave Even though these women were o r i g i n a l l y committed to t h e i r marriages, t h e i r experiences f o r c e d them to abandon the r e l a t i o n s h i p s . The d e c i s i o n s to leave were not taken l i g h t l y and i n s e v e r a l cases seemed to happen on l y when a c h i l d was i n v o l v e d . C. 2 W e l l , my whole t h i n g about i t i s th a t I don't want t o have the baby here. I mean, he wasn't h i t t i n g me. He wasn't b e a t i n g me. C.4 I had h i s [the c h i l d ' s ] welfare to thin k about. Up to th a t p o i n t , i t was j u s t me th a t I was t h i n k i n g about. But now, I have a second person t h a t I have to worry about. C.7 My daughter a c t u a l l y came t o me . . . and my daughter came out to me when I was g e t t i n g supper, and she says "Mommy, I'm shaking." I says "Don't worry, so am I . " And I f i g u r e d r i g h t then and there I had to do something to get the k i d s away from the s i t u a t i o n . . . . 66 I t has been shown t h a t c h i l d r e n of abusive m a r i t a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s f u n c t i o n s i g n i f i c a n t l y lower i n developmental t e s t s and higher on measurements of p s y c h o l o g i c a l d i s t r e s s and somatic complaints (Westra & M a r t i n , 1980). The women i n t h i s study had a "gut" f e e l i n g t h a t i t was important to get t h e i r c h i l d r e n away from the i n f l u e n c e s i n the home. This i n t u i t i v e f e e l i n g i s amply supported by the l i t e r a t u r e on the e f f e c t s of w i t n e s s i n g v i o l e n c e as c h i l d r e n (Hughes, 1982; Moore, 1974; Post e t a t . , 1981; Rouse, 1984). S e v e r a l women l a t e r r e p o r t e d having these i n i t i a l f e e l i n g s r e i n f o r c e d d u r i n g t h e i r s t a y i n the t r a n s i t i o n house when they t a l k e d with other women and d i s c o v e r e d how bad the s i t u a t i o n might e v e n t u a l l y become. Star (1978) conducted a study comparing v a r i o u s psycho- s o c i a l a spects of b a t t e r e d and non-battered women. Her f i n d i n g s are onl y p a r t i a l l y supported by the present study. She f i n d s t h a t women are not m a s o c h i s t i c or submissive but p a s s i v e , and are l e s s l i k e l y than average to a c t p u r e l y on t h e i r own b e h a l f . I t may be t h a t having c h i l d r e n to worry about motivated the women i n the present study to a c t , when they would have been slower to do so f o r themselves alone, but they never saw themselves as p a s s i v e . S e v e r a l of the women, who d i d not t a l k about c h i l d r e n as being the m o t i v a t i n g f o r c e , were able to leave because one p a r t i c u l a r i n c i d e n t f i n a l l y convinced them there was no other p o s s i b i l i t y , or they suddenly " j u s t knew" the time was r i g h t . 67 C.3 Right, i t ' s i n c r e d i b l e , you j u s t know, and you j u s t t a l k to anybody and i t i s j u s t l i k e the l i g h t goes on and you got to get out j u s t to preserve y o u r s e l f . C.5 T h i s time I thought, I don't want to go back. I don't want to l i v e — and I had to reach that p o i n t you see, and I f i n d the reason, t h a t ' s why I'm here r i g h t now, you know, I f i n a l l y reached that p o i n t , t h i n k i n g , O.K., j u s t get y o u r s e l f out t h a t door, you know, and get y o u r s e l f going, and don't t u r n back, 'cause you're making a b i g mistake, and j u s t a d m i t t i n g to myself I don't want to l i v e t h i s way. The women were unable to i d e n t i f y e x a c t l y what i t was that made them determined to leave f o r good t h i s t i m e — a s p r e v i o u s l y s t a t e d , most of them had l e f t s e v e r a l times b e f o r e . One of the women was seein g a p s y c h o l o g i s t who warned her that i t might take a while f o r her to be ready to lea v e . C.3 Yes. I got some s t r e n g t h from him [ p s y c h o l o g i s t ] but i t d i d n ' t - - you know, I d i d n ' t leave though when I was going to him, and, of course, he s a i d "Don't put time l i m i t s on y o u r s e l f too, t h i s c ould take you a year, could take you a few weeks, could take you a few months," he s a i d , "you w i l l j u s t know." Yes, they c a l l i t the f i n a l f o o t p r i n t i n one of those a r t i c l e s I was r e a d i n g . However, the women who had l e f t a s i g n i f i c a n t number of times before recognized t h a t they f e l t " d i f f e r e n t " t h i s time. C.5 A c t u a l l y the other two times I'd l e f t to go to the house, I f e l t s i c k i n s i d e , to the sense o f : Am I doing the r i g h t t h i n g ? Because every time I'd l e f t b efore, I l e f t not f o r me. I'd l e f t because of my f r i e n d s s a y i n g "Stop t a k i n g t h i s crap. Come and l i v e with me." S t u f f l i k e t h a t T h i s l a s t woman had been i n the t r a n s i t i o n house f o r a r e l a t i v e l y long time and had seen a l o t of other women come and go. She had a theory r e l a t e d to re a d i n e s s to leave the 68 marriage. She thought that a woman was not ready to leave u n t i l she was c o n s c i o u s l y w i l l i n g to r e l y upon h e r s e l f r a t h e r than upon o t h e r s . She t a l k e d about i t a t l e n g t h . C.6 I t h i n k when you f i r s t get i n t o the t r a n s i t i o n home, f i r s t of a l l you have to be-- i t ' s almost l i k e a graph, you have to be a t a c e r t a i n p o i n t before even l e a v i n g , and then when you leave you're at another p o i n t , but you've s t i l l got a long way to go before you make t h a t d e c i s i o n t hat I'm not going back, ever a g a i n . And I t h i n k i n the f i r s t couple of days, or so, i t ' s a t h i n g where you go even lower than what you've ever been i n your l i f e . Even w i t h i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p . I t ' s a r e a l l y neat p a t t e r n , and I think the o n l y times where i t r e a l l y changes i s when somebody comes i n who's not ready to leave, and t h a t ' s where i t ' s d i f f e r e n t , because t h a t ' s the people who r e a l l y t u r n to someone e l s e , i n s t e a d of themselves, immediately they do t h a t . Well, some of them h a v e — They come i n , they've j u s t been beaten, or whatever, and they go out with t h e i r boy f r i e n d s or husbands. So, you know, t h a t ' s a p r e t t y good idea t h a t they're t u r n i n g to that person i n s t e a d of themselves. The r e s e a r c h e r s i n the l i t e r a t u r e do not say what f a c t o r s predispose a woman to s t a y away from her husband one time r a t h e r than another time when she l e a v e s . I t makes sense to think that having a baby or beginning to see c h i l d r e n a f f e c t e d by w i t n e s s i n g v i o l e n c e "might be one f a c t o r which encourages her to a c t . T h i s s e c t i o n has examined the e f f e c t t h a t women's past experiences i n c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s had on t h e i r h e l p - s e e k i n g behaviours p r i o r to t h e i r a r r i v a l a t the t r a n s i t i o n house. The next s e c t i o n w i l l d e s c r i b e the women's p e r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r need f o r s o c i a l support a f t e r t h e i r a r r i v a l a t the house. 69 Women's Need f o r S o c i a l Support i n the T r a n s i t i o n House The women were aware of t h e i r need to leave t h e i r marriages and change t h e i r l i v e s , but were not sure of the form the changes would take. They were a l s o aware t h a t they needed something from a t r a n s i t i o n house, but were not sure e x a c t l y what t h a t something was. However, as the women began to t a l k about t h e i r time i n the house, some of t h e i r needs became more e x p l i c i t . The needs seemed to d i v i d e i n t o (a) the need to t a l k , (b) the need f o r i n f o r m a t i o n , (c) the need f o r some degree of p r i v a c y , and (d) the need f o r emotional support. The Need t o Talk Once the women had a r r i v e d i n the t r a n s i t i o n house and recognized the s o c i a l support a v a i l a b l e to them, they used the other women to compare s i t u a t i o n s and to gai n some reinforcement and reassurance. The value of comparing experiences was enormous. The women were astounded a t the s i m i l a r i t y i n the behaviour of t h e i r husbands. C.5 Other women? Yeah, i n the sense t h a t you had a l o t i n common with them, and i t ' s almost l i k e you were t a l k i n g about the same man, you know. C.3 Very s i m i l a r . You could've j u s t w r i t t e n a book on those guys, and l e f t blanks f o r the names, and j u s t plugged i t i n . The women f e l t a sense of r e l i e f when they r e a l i z e d t h a t t h e i r husbands were so a l i k e . I t was t h i s kind of use of the support which began to make them f e e l s t r o n g e r . 70 C.3 0 h 7 i t j u s t made me f e e l s t r o n g e r i n s i d e t h a t I was doing the r i g h t t h i n g . I mean, i t j u s t makes you r e a l i z e t h e re's a l o t of people out there l i k e t h a t and, w e l l , I knew what path they were t a k i n g , i t helped me s t a y c l o s e to my path, s t i c k t o my r e s o l v e s . C.3 And t h a t gave me even more s t r e n g t h to not go back. One woman summed i t a l l up and e x p l a i n e d why i t was so important f o r her to r e a l i z e t h a t she was not alone and t h a t her s i t u a t i o n was so c l o s e to the o t h e r s . C.4 W e l l , I keep on s a y i n g to everybody t h a t i f I hadn't gone to the house, I'm sure I would've gone back. I t ' s j u s t the idea t h a t you're not the onl y one there doing i t , and you're t a l k i n g with other people, and you a l l of a sudden f i n d out - w e l l , my husband's j u s t l i k e t h a t ! I t was f e l t t h a t f e e l i n g s of s e l f - w o r t h came from these i n t e r a c t i o n s with other r e s i d e n t s . However, some of the women t a l k e d about meeting other r e s i d e n t s who were not prepared to share exp e r i e n c e s . C l They a l l kept i t i n s i d e , and kept i t to themselves. C.6 But yeah, there's gonna be problems, but the support - I think i f the women want i t , they're gonna get i t . But i t ' s up to the r e s i d e n t s too. 'Cause I know when we were i n t h e r e , there was times there was o n l y one lady who had o n l y been beaten once, and she was going back, and she d i d n ' t t a l k to anyone a t a l l . . . . One woman, t a l k i n g about the d i f f e r e n c e between h e r s e l f i n the house a t the beginning of her s t a y and a t the end, s a i d t h a t t a l k was s t i l l v a l u a b l e t o her even when she was not ready to j o i n i n . 71 C.6 But, I mean, the day t h a t I was t h e r e , the f i r s t day, when I d i d n ' t want to t a l k , e v e r y t h i n g that went on, I heard. I don't care i f i t was downstairs i n the f a r t h e s t corner of that house, I heard i t . The same woman, t a l k i n g about her month-long s t a y i n the house, s a i d : C.6 Oh, i t was. Yeah, I'm s t i l l i n touch with q u i t e a few of the g i r l s t h a t I was there with. I think t h a t helped a l o t to l e ave, we'd r e a l l y come a long way h e l p i n g each other. J u s t having the support, from people who had been t h e r e . The value of t a l k , both between r e s i d e n t s and between r e s i d e n t s and s t a f f , was c r i t i c a l and seemed to demonstrate a d e s i r e f o r reassurance. They wanted reassurance t h a t they were not the o n l y ones, t h a t they had r e a l l y been through a l o t and t h a t t h e i r d e c i s i o n to leave was the r i g h t one. C.3 . . . we would be s i t t i n g i n the l i v i n g room and t a l k i n g and again the whole t h i n g i s the support and the c o n f i d e n c e t h a t comes out of d i s c u s s i n g these problems with people who understand and have been through i t . Not somebody who has never ever had i t happen to them. C.8 And I guess I d i d n ' t r e a l i z e how abusive, u n t i l I got to speaking to people i n the t r a n s i t i o n home, and h e a r i n g myself t e l l the s t o r y about how he was before made me kind of t h i n k , you know, geeze, t h a t ' s been awful. French (1983) t a l k s about reassurance as being r e s t o r a t i o n of people's confidence i n themselves and i n t h e i r environments by a l l e v i a t i n g a n x i e t y and f e a r . Using t h i s d e f i n i t i o n , the value of t a l k between r e s i d e n t s of a house may be e x p l a i n e d . I t has long been rec o g n i z e d i n the l i t e r a t u r e t h a t t a l k between r e s i d e n t s i s a v a l u a b l e and important 72 component of l i f e In the t r a n s i t i o n house ( R i d i n g t o n , 1978; Vaughan, 1979). The concept of h e l p i n g women gai n confidence i s mentioned by Vaughan as "one of the main purposes i n p r o v i d i n g s h e l t e r to b a t t e r e d women" (p. 114). R i d i n g t o n sees the f u n c t i o n of t a l k between r e s i d e n t s i n the t r a n s i t i o n house as being a way of d e c r e a s i n g the p e r c e p t i o n of i s o l a t i o n the woman might have. I t i s d u r i n g t h i s " t a l k i n g time" t h a t the woman begins the change process which w i l l r e s u l t i n a new independent l i f e ( R i d i n g t o n , 1978). The f i n d i n g s i n t h i s study supported t h i s view of the value of t a l k . Lynch and N o r r i s (1978) d i s c u s s the " v i c t i m " needs i n t h e i r a r t i c l e on p r o v i d i n g s e r v i c e s to b a t t e r e d women. They d i s c u s s the need to be abl e to reach help, the need f o r p h y s i c a l s a f e t y , m a t e r i a l needs, emotional needs and the need to c o n s i d e r " l i f e a l t e r n a t i v e s " (p. 554). I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note t h a t none of the women i n the present study ever mentioned p h y s i c a l s a f e t y or r e f e r r e d to i t i n any way. I t may have been t h a t the t o p i c was so obvious t h a t they never f e l t there was a reason to b r i n g i t up. The Need f o r Information The need f o r i n f o r m a t i o n i s a more obvious one and i t d i v i d e s i n t o two c a t e g o r i e s , the need f o r i n f o r m a t i o n about a v a i l a b l e l e g a l s e r v i c e s and the need f o r i n f o r m a t i o n about the issue of wife abuse. The women recognized the importance of the t r a n s i t i o n house s t a f f i n p r o v i d i n g i n f o r m a t i o n on l e g a l i s s u e s . 73 C.4 . . . I d i d n ' t even know I c o u l d q u a l i f y f o r Legal A i d . I d i d n ' t even know there was such a t h i n g . C.3 Information on M i n i s t r y of Human Resources. Yes . . . that was good because i t was a l l new to me and that was j u s t wonderful, the help I got t h e r e . The l i t e r a t u r e handouts were gr e a t , the more the b e t t e r . Some of the women had not even r e a l i z e d t h a t t h i s kind of i n f o r m a t i o n was a v a i l a b l e f o r them u n t i l they were given i t . They reco g n i z e d the s t a f f ' s r o l e i n t h i s area and were g r a t e f u l f o r t h e i r e x p e r t i s e . T h i s f u n c t i o n of t r a n s i t i o n house s t a f f i s a w e l l - r e c o g n i z e d one i n the l i t e r a t u r e (Loseke & Berk, 1982; Lynch & N o r r i s , 1978; Roberts, 1981). Most t r a n s i t i o n houses seem to be prepared to meet t h i s need. The need f o r i n f o r m a t i o n about the issue of wife abuse was an e q u a l l y important one. But i n some cases, before t h e i r a r r i v a l a t the t r a n s i t i o n house the women seemed to be t o t a l l y unaware t h a t such i n f o r m a t i o n e x i s t e d . The women were given some pamphlets and l i t e r a t u r e about c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of abusing husbands and Walker's Cycle Theory of V i o l e n c e (Walker, 1979), a l s o known as the b a t t e r i n g c y c l e . I t seemed that t h i n g s began to f a l l i n t o p l a c e f o r them, once they had t h i s k i nd of i n f o r m a t i o n . Some of the women went so f a r as to imply t h a t access to the l i t e r a t u r e was a s i g n i f i c a n t f a c t o r i n h e l p i n g them decide not to r e t u r n to the marriage. C.3 And brother I'm t e l l i n g you i f I had had i t [ i n f o r m a t i o n ] I might not have gone back to him. I'm 74 not s a y i n g guaranteed but a t l e a s t , you know, I might have been more aware of what I was up a g a i n s t . C.4 So t h a t kind of helped me r i g h t t h e r e . I put i t down t o , i f I was not i n the t r a n s i t i o n house I probably would've gone back ag a i n . But being at the t r a n s i t i o n house, having the support, knowing what I went through the past month, knowing the b a t t e r i n g c y c l e , p u t t i n g a l l t h a t together, I mean, I don't have any f e e l i n g s of going back a t a l l . The pamphlets and handouts given by the s t a f f seemed to a s s i s t the women to understand the i s s u e . Another l e v e l of understanding may be being achieved d u r i n g i n t e r a c t i o n s with the other r e s i d e n t s . C.4 I could t a l k with the g i r l s q u i t e r e a d i l y . I saw what they had gone through i n the past, and how they went back and f o r t h , so I knew p r e t t y w e l l what to expect. The s t a f f supported me on the other s i d e by showing me what i s the [ b a t t e r i n g ] c y c l e , look what's gonna happen, look what you've gone through, reminding me what I've gone through i n the past. The f u n c t i o n of t h i s k i nd of t a l k may be to take the concrete f a c t u a l m a t e r i a l the s t a f f have s u p p l i e d and to make i t r e a l and p e r s o n a l f o r the i n d i v i d u a l r e s i d e n t . In l i s t e n i n g to the women's accounts there was the sense of a jigsaw puzzle i n which pieces were g r a d u a l l y f a l l i n g i n t o p l a c e f o r them. There does not seem to be re f e r e n c e i n the l i t e r a t u r e to the need women have f o r t h i s k i nd of i n f o r m a t i o n . Both of the women who had been i n other t r a n s i t i o n houses s a i d that they had not been given any t h e o r e t i c a l m a t e r i a l and both s t a t e d t h a t such an i n t e r v e n t i o n might have prevented them from r e t u r n i n g to t h e i r husbands the l a s t time. 75 T h e N e e d f o r E m o t i o n a l S u p p o r t I n o r d e r f o r t h e w o m e n t o b e n e f i t f r o m t h e i n f o r m a t i o n t h e y r e c e i v e d , t h e y n e e d e d t o b e i n a s t a t e i n w h i c h t h e y c o u l d l e a r n . T h e y a l l t a l k e d a b o u t n e e d i n g a g r e a t d e a l o f e m o t i o n a l s u p p o r t . T h i s m a k e s i n t u i t i v e s e n s e c o n s i d e r i n g t h e c r i s i s s i t u a t i o n s i n w h i c h t h e y f o u n d t h e m s e l v e s . S o m e o f t h i s n e e d f o r s u p p o r t w a s m e t b y t h e o t h e r w o m e n a n d s o m e b y t h e h o u s e s t a f f . I n g e n e r a l , t h e w o m e n s e e m e d t o m e e t e a c h o t h e r ' s n e e d s f o r e m o t i o n a l s u p p o r t . A n e x c e p t i o n w a s e n c o u n t e r e d w h e n a p a r t i c u l a r w o m a n d i d n o t g e t a l o n g w e l l w i t h t h e w o m e n i n r e s i d e n c e . I n t h i s c a s e t h e w o m a n u s e d t h e s t a f f t o f u l f i l l t h e s a m e f u n c t i o n . I n e i t h e r c a s e t h e s u p p o r t w a s t h e r e w h e n i t w a s n e e d e d . T h e i m p o r t a n c e o f t h e s t a f f ' s r o l e i n p r o v i d i n g e m o t i o n a l s u p p o r t s e e m e d t o b e i n r e l a t i o n t o t h e w a y i n w h i c h t h e y p r o v i d e d i n f o r m a t i o n . T h e w o m e n f e l t c a r e d f o r a n d c a r e d a b o u t w h e n s t a f f g a v e i n f o r m a t i o n t o t h e m i n a m a n n e r w h i c h t a u g h t t h e m s o m e t h i n g b u t w h i c h a l s o r e l a t e d t o t h e m a s i n d i v i d u a l s . C. 5 L o t s o f e m o t i o n a l s u p p o r t , a n d j u s t t h a t I t h i n k t h e v e r y f i r s t t i m e I w a s i n t h e r e , ' c a u s e I f e l t l i k e I c a m e f r o m a s i t u a t i o n w h e r e I w a s t h e o n l y o n e , y o u k n o w , i n t h e w o r l d , t h a t t h i s h a d h a p p e n e d t o . A n d o n c e I g o t t h e r e , a n d t h e y r e a l l y g a v e me a l o t o f s u p p o r t , a n d [ s a i d ] i t w a s s a d , b u t t r u e , t h a t i t h a d h a p p e n e d t o a l o t o f w o m e n , a n d a l l t h i s k i n d o f s t u f f , a n d j u s t r e a l l y w e r e c o n c e r n e d . C.6 S o we a r r i v e d a t t h e h o u s e , a n d I r e m e m b e r t h e r e w a s a p o t o f c o f f e e , y o u c o u l d s m e l l i t t h r o u g h t h e h o u s e , a n d 76 i t was such a warm atmosphere, l i k e as soon as you walked i n , you f e l t s a f e . [ S t a f f member] greeted me, and she s a i d to come on up, and we can s i t and t a l k f o r a whi l e . And j u s t i n her eyes, I remember, I knew she'd been ther e , t h a t she understood. C. 8 They make i t a p o i n t to ask you "How was your day? How d i d t h i n g s go? What happened i n your day?" and then a f t e r you s a i d what happened i n your day, "How do you f e e l about t h a t ? " Most of the a r t i c l e s on t r a n s i t i o n house s e r v i c e s r e c o g n i z e the need to provide the women with emotional support (Loseke & Berk, 1982; Lynch & N o r r i s , 1978; Roberts, 1981; Sutton, 1978). However, the exact form the emotional support should take i s not c l e a r l y d e f i n e d . Lynch and N o r r i s d i s c u s s the p r o v i s i o n of "a p p r o p r i a t e s u p p o r t i v e and c l i n i c a l c o u n s e l l i n g " (p. 558). Sutton t a l k s about one aim of the B r i t i s h s e r v i c e to b a t t e r e d women as being "to o f f e r support and a d v i c e and help to any woman who asks f o r i t " (p. 580). Loseke and Berk t a l k about the job of t r a n s i t i o n house s t a f f as i n v o l v i n g a great d e a l of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n and i n t e r a c t i o n i n order to provide t h e i r s e r v i c e . The Need f o r P r i v a c y Although the women seemed to welcome the c o n t a c t with both the s t a f f and the other women, they a l s o expressed a d e e p l y - f e l t need to have time to themselves t o thin k t h i n g s through. C.4 I'd have p r e f e r r e d a l i t t l e b i t of peace and q u i e t sometimes, and there was no place to go to get t h a t . 77 C . 5 Yet they never seemed to want to bug anybody a b o u t — they always seemed to be very aware that these women needed a break, they needed to be l e f t alone i f they wanted . . .. T h i s need seemed to be one of the hardest to meet because the house was s m a l l , most women had s m a l l c h i l d r e n , and the c h i l d r e n were unable to be o u t s i d e d u r i n g the bad weather. In f a c t , when asked what, i f any, were the problems i n the house, seven of the e i g h t women immediately t a l k e d about "the k i d s " . I t was the most s t r o n g l y f e l t concern. The concern was r e l a t e d to the c o n s t a n t l y high noise l e v e l and the f a c t t h a t c h i l d r e n were o f t e n up e a r l y i n the morning—making noise--and stayed up l a t e a t n i g h t — a n d made n o i s e . C . l I t was j u s t a w f u l . I used t o get so t i r e d . Kids were up and down the h a l l s , screaming a t the top of t h e i r lungs a t f i v e t h i r t y i n the morning. C.2 The k i d s were a l l screaming and y e l l i n g , and a l l coming out of v i o l e n t homes, I co u l d see i t i n them. They were out of c o n t r o l . Even though the women were being d i s r u p t e d they recognized the s t r e s s the c h i l d r e n were under. One woman remarked upon the f a c t t h a t s e e i n g the other c h i l d r e n helped her to make up her mind that she was doing the r i g h t t h i n g . C.4 . . . because the k i d s , a t t h a t time, they need a l o t of support themselves, and I think t h e i r support i s g e t t i n g from t h e i r mother. I'd l i k e to know how you could keep the k i d s ' a t t e n t i o n t h a t long. Because, l i k e I s a i d , they want t o be with t h e i r mother, more than a n y t h i n g . They're scared t h a t a l l of a sudden t h e i r mother i s going to leave them. You know, I j u s t knew— i t made my mind up even s t r o n g e r t h a t I was doing the r i g h t t h i n g , and my son would be b e n e f i t t i n g , and I would be b e n e f i t t i n g . I 78 m e a n , c a n y o u i m a g i n e my s o n g r o w i n g up l i k e t h a t ? I t i s o b v i o u s t h a t t h e a b i l i t y t o p r o v i d e q u i e t a n d p r i v a c y i s l i m i t e d i n a t r a n s i t i o n h o u s e w h i c h , b y i t s n a t u r e , t e n d s t o be c r o w d e d a n d n o i s y . I t may a l s o be t r u e t h a t w h a t l i t t l e m i g h t be done t o mee t t h i s n e e d i s n o t a t t e m p t e d b e c a u s e t h e n e e d i s n o t r e c o g n i z e d . I t seems t o be a n a c c e p t e d p r i n c i p l e i n t h e l i t e r a t u r e t h a t women h e a l e a c h o t h e r when t h e y a r e c r o w d e d t o g e t h e r " s h a r i n g t h e b e d r o o m s a n d o t h e r s p a c e " ( V a u g h a n , 1 9 7 9 , p . 1 1 4 ) . The c o n c e p t o f s h a r i n g i s c e n t r a l t o w h a t R i d i n g t o n c a l l s " t h e t r a n s i t i o n a l p r o c e s s " ( p . 5 6 9 ) . J o b s a r o u n d t h e h o u s e , c o o k i n g , b a b y s i t t i n g a n d e x p e r i e n c e s a r e a l l s h a r e d d u r i n g t h i s p r o c e s s , t h e o b j e c t i v e o f w h i c h seems t o be t o c o n v i n c e a woman t h a t s h e i s n o t a l o n e . W h i l e t h i s m i g h t be a l l q u i t e v a l i d , i t seems f r o m t h e p r e s e n t d a t a t h a t women may n e e d a l i t t l e t i m e t o t h e m s e l v e s t o move t h r o u g h t h e p r o c e s s o f u s i n g t h e s u p p o r t i n t h e h o u s e . Once t h e women i n t h e s t u d y h a d d e c i d e d t o l e a v e t h e i r m a r r i a g e s a n d a r r i v e d a t t h e t r a n s i t i o n h o u s e , a l l t h e i r n e e d s , t o t a l k , t o r e c e i v e i n f o r m a t i o n a n d t o r e c e i v e e m o t i o n a l s u p p o r t w e r e met w i t h o u t t o o much d i f f i c u l t y . The o n l y p r o b l e m a r e a s eemed t o be t h e n e e d f o r p e a c e a n d q u i e t . The n e x t s e c t i o n o f t h i s c h a p t e r w i l l a d d r e s s t h e way i n w h i c h t h e women w e n t a b o u t u s i n g t h e s u p p o r t t h e y f o u n d i n t h e t r a n s i t i o n h o u s e . 79 The Use of Support By the end of the i n t e r v i e w s the women were f e e l i n g t h a t t h e i r d e c i s i o n s t o l e a v e were the r i g h t ones even when t h e y r e g r e t t e d the n e c e s s i t y of h a v i n g t o make thos e d e c i s i o n s . They had a r r i v e d a t the t r a n s i t i o n house and had put i n t o e f f e c t t h e i r u s u a l methods of g a t h e r i n g the h e l p t h e y needed. For example, t h e y t a l k e d t o everyone who would l i s t e n , t h e y g a t h e r e d i n f o r m a t i o n and p r o c e s s e d i t and, u n e x p e c t e d l y , found t h a t i t was h e l p f u l t o them t o h e l p o t h e r s . As the d a t a were c o l l e c t e d i t q u i c k l y became ob v i o u s t h a t the women were a l l , w i t h minor v a r i a t i o n s , s a y i n g the same t h i n g s . They were t a l k i n g about a p r o c e s s which t h e y had gone th r o u g h i n t h e i r use of the s u p p o r t t h e y found i n the house. The next s e c t i o n w i l l examine the use of the s u p p o r t p r o c e s s . The framework f o r use of s o c i a l s u p p o r t began t o emerge d u r i n g t h e e a r l y s t a g e s of a n a l y s i s . There were o b v i o u s l y themes which were of c r i t i c a l importance t o the women and about which t h e y t a l k e d a t l e n g t h . A p a t t e r n of use of s u p p o r t began t o d e v e l o p from t h e s e themes, which s u g g e s t e d t h a t a l l the women had gone t h r o u g h the same s t a g e s . V a l i d a t i o n i n t e r v i e w s were c a r r i e d out a f t e r the process had been e x p l i c i t l y d e f i n e d . S. Cobb (1976) d e f i n e d s o c i a l s u p p o r t as b e i n g composed of t h r e e d i f f e r e n t t y p e s o f i n f o r m a t i o n , (a) i n f o r m a t i o n l e a d i n g the s u b j e c t t o b e l i e v e t h a t he i s c a r e d f o r and l o v e d , (b) i n f o r m a t i o n l e a d i n g the s u b j e c t t o b e l i e v e t h a t he i s 8 0 e s t e e m e d a n d v a l u e d , a n d ( c ) i n f o r m a t i o n l e a d i n g t h e s u b j e c t t o b e l i e v e t h a t h e i s p a r t o f a n e t w o r k o f c o m m u n i c a t i o n a n d m u t u a l o b l i g a t i o n . T h e w o m e n h a d a l l r e c e i v e d t h e s e k i n d s o f s u p p o r t . F r o m t h e m o m e n t o f t h e i r a r r i v a l a t t h e t r a n s i t i o n h o u s e t h e y w e r e m a d e t o f e e l w e l c o m e a n d c a r e d f o r . T h e y w e r e s o u g h t o u t a n d e n c o u r a g e d t o t a l k . I n f o r m a t i o n w a s g i v e n t o t h e m i n a s u p p o r t i v e w a y . T h e o t h e r r e s i d e n t s e x c h a n g e d s t o r i e s w i t h t h e m a n d g a v e t h e m a d v i c e . O v e r a l l , t h e r e w a s n o d o u b t t h a t t h e y w e r e c a r e d f o r a n d l o v e d . T h e w o m e n b e g a n t o r e c o g n i z e t h a t t h e y w e r e g e t t i n g t h e i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t t h e y w e r e e s t e e m e d a n d v a l u e d a l i t t l e l a t e r , a n d i n m o r e s u b t l e w a y s . F o r e x a m p l e , t h i s k i n d o f s u p p o r t w a s i m p l i e d w h e n o t h e r w o m e n a s k e d f o r t h e i r o p i n i o n , o r w h e n t h e s t a f f r e f u s e d t o m a k e r e s i d e n t s ' d e c i s i o n s f o r t h e m . T h e a c t o f h e l p i n g a r e s i d e n t t o t a k e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r h e r o w n d e c i s i o n s w a s c r i t i c a l t o h e r a c q u i s i t i o n o f p o s i t i v e f e e l i n g s a b o u t h e r s e l f . A n u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t a w o m a n i s p a r t o f a n e t w o r k o f c o m m u n i c a t i o n a n d m u t u a l o b l i g a t i o n w a s a l s o i m p l i e d b y t h e t a l k i n g a n d s h a r i n g s e s s i o n s i n w h i c h t h e w o m e n e n g a g e d . T h e a c t i o n o f s h a r i n g e x p e r i e n c e s w a s c o n c r e t e e v i d e n c e o f a c c e p t a n c e i n t o a g r o u p a n d r e s u l t e d i n f e e l i n g s o f m u t u a l i t y . C o b b ' s d e f i n i t i o n s e e m s t o h e l p e x p l a i n t h e k i n d s o f s u p p o r t w o m e n w e r e g i v e n i n t h e t r a n s i t i o n h o u s e a n d t h e 81 process which emerged seems to make e x p l i c i t the way i n which t h i s support was used. The process i s composed of four "stages", to each of which i s attached an " o r i e n t a t i o n " , a "need" and an " a c t i o n " . The stage d e s c r i b e s what i t i s t h a t the woman i s a c t u a l l y a c h i e v i n g , the o r i e n t a t i o n d e s c r i b e s the time p e r i o d she i s focussed upon, the need i s s e l f - e v i d e n t and the a c t i o n g i v e s a one-word d e s c r i p t i o n of what i t i s th a t she i s doing. Table 1 Framework f o r Use of S o c i a l Support Stage O r i e n t a t i o n Need A c t i o n Reassurance Past To L i s t e n Taking A n a l y s i s Past/Present To R e f l e c t Changing R e c i p r o c i t y Present To Talk Returning Independence Future To Act Ac h i e v i n g A l l the women went through a l l of the stages to some degree. Some had begun to work on the process before a r r i v i n g a t the t r a n s i t i o n house, using other sources of support. Others, because of p e r s o n a l i t y d i f f e r e n c e s , had l e s s need i n 8 2 one or another a r e a . I t i s important to examine the four stages s e p a r a t e l y i n order to understand what i s going on w i t h i n each of them. Reassurance There were many p o i n t s about which the women needed reassurance when they f i r s t a r r i v e a t the house, (a) that they were not the o n l y ones i n the world being abused, (b) t h a t they were not "going c r a z y " , (c) th a t what was being done to them was not t h e i r f a u l t , (d) t h a t they were r i g h t to leave, (e) t h a t there was help f o r them, and ( f ) t h a t they c o u l d make i t on t h e i r own. The way i n which they gained reassurance was by " t a k i n g " ; t a k i n g the support and i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t was a v a i l a b l e t o them. C . 8 Now t h a t you're away from i t you can look a t i t more o b j e c t i v e l y , but you have to hear someone e l s e t a l k about i t , otherwise the memories don't come c l e a r enough. A l l the women had a need to make sense of what had happeneded to them, to understand i t , and to base t h e i r subsequent a c t i o n s on a s o l i d f oundation of knowledge. One of the ways they d i d t h i s was by g a t h e r i n g i n f o r m a t i o n from s t a f f about the issue of wife abuse and the l e g a l i m p l i c a t i o n s of t h e i r present s i t u a t i o n . They a l s o gathered i n f o r m a t i o n from the other women about s i m i l a r i t i e s — " I ' m not the o n l y o n e " — a n d about t h i n g s t h a t worked and helped them and th i n g s that d i d not work, e.g., going back to t h e i r husbands. The f e e l i n g they seemed to be d e s c r i b i n g was one of reassurance. 83 C . 4 But the main t h i n g i s , I wanted to c o n f i r m to myself t h a t I wasn't the onl y one. I: Can you put i n t o a sentence what i s the value of comparing your s i t u a t i o n ? C: S e l f - a s s u r a n c e , to v a l i d a t e , you know, what you've done. Each person has to make t h e i r own d e c i s i o n as to what to do, but i t ' s n i c e t o know t h a t there's somebody out there with the same s i t u a t i o n . C. 5 I t h i n k , because the other women had been there before, fo r a l i t t l e w h i l e - - and you're eager-- you know, to t e l l t h e i r s t o r y , e v e r y t h i n g , but you hear a l l these and t h i n k , What are you doing with t h a t guy? And they say the same to you. Yeah, yeah, i t s o r t of he l p s , 'cause the support i s g e t t i n g t h a t way. A l l the women, t a l k i n g about how they sought help, mentioned e i t h e r l i s t e n i n g to e v e r y t h i n g or a c t u a l l y approaching people and a l l of them spoke about the value of the s t a f f p r o v i d i n g the i n f o r m a t i o n they needed. There was a l s o l i t t l e doubt about the women's f e e l i n g s towards the value of t a l k among r e s i d e n t s . C . 4 To me, i t was important you get i t from these other women, because they went through i t . C. 8 Because i f you don't t a l k about i t t h a t way, the t h i n g s s t i l l s t a y jumbled i n your mind . . . . When they d e s c r i b e d the d i f f e r e n c e s between t r a n s i t i o n houses, the women picked out l o n e l i n e s s , lack of c o n t a c t and the la c k of t a l k between r e s i d e n t s as being of c r u c i a l importance i n determining how they f e l t about a p a r t i c u l a r house. The stage of reassurance was f i r s t conceived of as being e s s e n t i a l l y p a s s i v e , as i f the women s a t and had what they 84 needed "poured i n t o them". The women agreed upon the nature of the stage when v a l i d a t i n g t h i s but d i s p u t e d the p a s s i v i t y . They saw themselves as extremely a c t i v e and focussed i n the way they went about t a k i n g what they needed; even when they l i s t e n e d r a t h e r than t a l k e d , i t was viewed by them as being a c t i v e . The women were o r i e n t e d towards the past d u r i n g t h i s stage even though some of the i n f o r m a t i o n they gathered r e l a t e d to t h e i r f u t u r e , e.g., on l e g a l i s s u e s . The f u n c t i o n of the stage was f o r women to gather i n f o r m a t i o n which they needed to make sense of t h e i r p a s t . Analys i s The f u n c t i o n of the a n a l y s i s stage was to make sense of the past, perhaps g r i e v e f o r i t , then move i n t o the prese n t . What women were doing was "changing" through a process of a n a l y s i s . What seemed to happen d u r i n g t h i s stage was th a t women took what was giv e n to them d u r i n g the f i r s t stage, examined i t c l o s e l y i n the l i g h t of t h e i r own experiences, and came t o t h e i r c o n c l u s i o n s . The way women began to make sense of t h i n g s was by using p e a c e f u l q u i e t times to think t h i n g s through. C.8 I have to have a q u i e t time, where I can j u s t s i t and s t a r e out of the window, or whatever, you know, and I can t h i n k t h i n g s over, and t h a t , and I used to wait u n t i l everybody went to bed, and the workers were gone. I'd s i t up a t n i g h t i n the f r o n t room by myself and j u s t s o r t , you know. When asked what the value of t h i s time was, one woman s a i d : 85 C . 4 J u s t a n a l y z i n g . A n a l y z i n g what I've done i n the past week, or whatever-- past day-- and a n a l y z i n g what other people had t o l d me, and what they have suggested to me to do and how I co u l d f i t i t a l l together, and what I should do. One woman used time alone to w r i t e down what she was t h i n k i n g about, to help her s o r t out what had happened to her, and what she cou l d do now. Another woman t a l k e d about the f a c t t h a t she d i d not need much "making-sense-of-it" time i n the t r a n s i t i o n house because she had planned her move from home ve r y c a r e f u l l y over a prolonged p e r i o d of time. C . 3 . . . a l r e a d y done a l o t of t h a t i n i t i a l heavy g r i e v i n g and p l a n n i n g . L i k e , I a l r e a d y had a lawyer and I'd planned t o take some of the k i d s ' c l o t h e s and t o y s . I'd a l r e a d y done a l o t of that t h i n k i n g s t u f f so I d i d n ' t f e e l much need f o r i t i n the house. I would have, otherwise. The women were f i n a l l y able to b e l i e v e t h a t they were not r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the v i o l e n c e , t h a t they were doing the r i g h t t h i n g i n l e a v i n g and t h a t they d i d have the resources necessary to make i t a l o n e . T h i s was the p e r i o d when they needed q u i e t , p r i v a c y and t h i n k i n g time. This seemed to be the stage which showed the l a r g e s t i n d i v i d u a l v a r i a t i o n i n degree of need. As p r e v i o u s l y s t a t e d , one woman d i d not f e e l she had much need of t h i s time because she had "done a l o t of g r i e v i n g " before she l e f t her husband. Some women needed an hour here and there alone i n t h e i r rooms to t h i n k . One woman t a l k e d of l o o k i n g forward to being the l a s t one l e f t up a t 8 6 n i g h t so that she c o u l d s i t and think " f o r hours sometimes." I t makes sense t h a t women need t h i n k i n g time, be i t hours or days, when one c o n s i d e r s the amount of change t h a t had o c c u r r e d , and was s t i l l o c c u r i n g , i n t h e i r l i v e s . The need f o r q u i e t and p r i v a c y may be one of the hardest to meet i n a t r a n s i t i o n house because of the c r i s i s atmosphere, the crowded c o n d i t i o n s and the l a r g e number of c h i l d r e n u s u a l l y i n r e s i d e n c e . However, the r e s u l t of s u c c e s s f u l l y completing the work of t h i s stage i s t h a t the past has been put i n t o p e r s p e c t i v e and the woman i s ready to look a t the p r e s e n t . R e c i p r o c i t y Women have a tremendous need to give back to other women the same kind of peer support they themselves r e c e i v e d upon a r r i v i n g a t the house. T h i s f i n d i n g was t o t a l l y unexpected and u n s o l i c i t e d . A l l the women made at l e a s t two or three r e f e r e n c e s , with obvious sense of p r i d e and enjoyment, to how they helped the o t h e r s . Thus the way the women used the support they found was to take i t , use i t f o r as long as they needed i t , then r e t u r n i t to the next i n l i n e . Some of them rec o g n i z e d the value t h a t g i v i n g support to others h e l d f o r them, and why they d i d i t . During the v a l i d a t i o n i n t e r v i e w s they t a l k e d about the p r o c e s s . C . 4 . . . i f I needed help, I mean, somebody would come along and s t a r t g i v i n g me ideas of how to d e a l with i t . I f somebody e l s e needed help, you know, you j u s t give i t a u t o m a t i c a l l y , and you need t h a t . 8 7 C . 5 . . . I f e l t I had more l i f e e xperience, and I thin k they r e a l i z e d i t too, and more or l e s s took my opini o n s s o r t of as a good t h i n g to l i s t e n t o . I f they would l i s t e n to me enough to see the value of somebody e l s e ' s o p i n i o n - - and you f e l t t h a t you t r i e d to save them from the misery. T h i s woman, while s t i l l i n her marriage, had been phoned by her husband's e x - g i r l f r i e n d , wanting t o t r y to help the present wife to leave her husband. Having been through abuse h e r s e l f , with the same man, the e x - g i r l f r i e n d was t r y i n g to help i n the same way th a t she h e r s e l f had been helped by others f i v e years e a r l i e r . C . 5 And she had . . . a l o t of sympathy--like c o m p a s s i o n — and f e l t t h a t she had to t a l k to me before i t had gotten out of hand . . . . She was the one who d i d the t a l k i n g . Then when he came th a t n i g h t , I was l o o k i n g a t him i n a t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t way . . . . And somebody who had l i v e d with him f o r s i x years, t h a t you know what she'd gone through, and you f e e l t h i s mutual bond . . . . Thi s need to give back i s a phenomenon which i s not de s c r i b e d i n the l i t e r a t u r e . As d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r , there i s a great d e a l w r i t t e n i n the l i t e r a t u r e about women su p p o r t i n g each other but no sense t h a t the g i v i n g of such support i s a d e l i b e r a t e , conscious move; r a t h e r , i t seems to be represented as a s e r e n d i p i t o u s r e s u l t of p u t t i n g s e v e r a l women i n c l o s e p r o x i m i t y to each other. The r e s u l t s of t h i s study show t h a t i t was a d e l i b e r a t e a c t by the r e s i d e n t s and t h a t there were p o s i t i v e b e n e f i t s to both g i v e r and r e c e i v e r . The need to r e l a t e to other women i n t h i s way seemed to be a s t r o n g need. C . 8 . . . and your heart goes out to those people [the r e s i d e n t s ] . I s t i l l get t e a r y when I think about i t you 88 know. And I go back there sometimes . . . . I walk i n t o the house, and there are s t i l l women th e r e , and they haven't got a c l u e who I am, but you want to say "How are you doing?" I'm gonna go back when I get s i t u a t e d b e t t e r , then I can go back and say "Look, i t can be done. Here I am. I've done i t and you can too. " I t makes me f e e l good. I t makes me f e e l good t h a t I can gi v e some back. Women, d u r i n g the stage of r e c i p r o c i t y , were " r e t u r n i n g " to the new r e s i d e n t s the support and i n f o r m a t i o n g i v e n to them. T h i s r e t u r n i n g a c t i o n seems to serve s e v e r a l d i f f e r e n t f u n c t i o n s . F i r s t , i t helps to cement i n place what a woman has l e a r n e d . As one r e s i d e n t put i t : C.3 . . . because, you know, t h a t kind of r e i n f o r c e d — l i k e t e a c h i n g somebody something, you get to know i t b e t t e r as you teach them. Secondly, i t f u r t h e r confirmed a woman's own sense of worth and value to have other people l i s t e n i n g to her and v a l u i n g her o p i n i o n . T h i r d l y , i t was concrete proof of how f a r a woman had come and how much she had le a r n e d . F o u r t h l y , i t may be t h a t there was an a c t i v e need on the pa r t of the woman to demonstrate her own e q u a l i t y and m u t u a l i t y with the group. Whatever the reason, i t represented an important milestone i n the women's use of the t r a n s i t i o n house. I t may be th a t as a woman moves to s t a r t meeting the needs of other women she i s demonstrating a c e r t a i n l e v e l of development i n her attempt to leave her husband. The a b i l i t y to help others may re p r e s e n t achievement of a necessary g o a l : Moving i n t o the present. 89 Independence I t was obvious t h a t the women had a c l e a r sense of t h e i r own personal growth s i n c e l e a v i n g t h e i r husbands. No-one was upset a t l e a v i n g the t r a n s i t i o n house or f e l t i l l - p r e p a r e d to do so. They a l l had good memories of t h e i r s t a y but they were ready to leave and c o n f i d e n t of t h e i r a b i l i t y to succeed on t h e i r own. The a c t i o n being taken a t t h i s stage was that of " a c h i e v i n g " independence and the o r i e n t a t i o n was a p o s i t i v e one towards the f u t u r e . The sense of in c r e a s e d s e l f - e s t e e m and pers o n a l growth, which seemed to have begun to grow as soon as the women reached the t r a n s i t i o n house, continued to grow i n the months immediately a f t e r they l e f t . The women seemed secure i n t h e i r d e c i s i o n s . They were d i s c o v e r i n g a l o t about themselves and l i k i n g what they found. They had d i f f e r e n t plans under way and seemed to be w e l l on the road to e s t a b l i s h i n g the kind of independent l i f e which i s the o b j e c t i v e of the t r a n s i t i o n a l process ( R i d i n g t o n , 1978). One woman even went so f a r as to say t h a t the e n t i r e marriage was worth i t because of how she ended up. C.6 I f e e l g r e a t . I t ' s the best t h i n g I ever d i d . I mean, I'm not s o r r y t h a t I went through a l l t h a t . That p r o b a b l y sounds s t u p i d , but I mean, I've grown so much more, I've got independent. He broke me so low, that I had to grow a g a i n . T h i s i s not to say t h a t the women's view of the f u t u r e was u n r e a l i s t i c . The f i r s t i n t e r v i e w s took place w i t h i n seven 90 to ten days a f t e r they l e f t the t r a n s i t i o n house and the women had some d e f i n i t e r e g r e t s and a n x i e t i e s . They were concerned about what t h e i r husbands would do, they had f e a r s about p o t e n t i a l problems with maintenance payments and custody b a t t l e s and they recognized t h a t i t was going to be hard and l o n e l y on t h e i r own. However, even with a l l these concerns, there was a general agreement t h a t something had to be done to take c o n t r o l of t h e i r l i v e s and t h a t t h i s was a good move. C.3 And i t ' s s t r o n g . Yeah, I thought i t through, and I j u s t f e e l t h a t i t w i l l work, whatever i t i s . C.4 J u s t a l l of a sudden, you wake up, and say, Hey, I'm a l i v e . . . . You know, th a t a l l of a sudden you open up and say, Hey, th e r e ' s a whole world out there t h a t I haven't seen, you know, and I want to do t h i n g s , I want to go p l a c e s , I want to meet people, I want t o - - you know, i t ' s j u s t go, go, go, go. C. 6 . . . I look a t myself now and i t ' s almost going from i n f a n c y to adulthood, i t ' s j u s t - - I mean, i t ' s been such a dramatic change t h a t sometimes I f i n d myself I have to slow my growth down, so I can absorb e v e r y t h i n g , because i t ' s j u s t so q u i c k . By the time of the second and t h i r d i n t e r v i e w s they were s t i l l f e e l i n g good about themselves as people and s t i l l t a l k e d about l i k i n g themselves. Along with t h i s went a sense of a n t i c i p a t i o n f o r the t h i n g s which they would achieve i n time. D i f f e r e n t women t a l k e d of going back to s c h o o l , becoming a r e g i s t e r e d nurse, t a k i n g up p a i n t i n g , and becoming a c o u n s e l l o r . A l l the plans t o meet these goals were made w i t h i n a reasonable and r e a l i s t i c time frame, depending on 91 such t h i n g s as age and number of c h i l d r e n , and a v a i l a b l e time and money. These, then, were the four stages of the process the women went through i n t h e i r use of s o c i a l support i n the t r a n s i t i o n house. Summary This chapter has examined the way i n which the data were analyzed i n t h i s study and the r e s u l t s of the a n a l y s i s . T h i s was achieved by d e s c r i b i n g the p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the study and t h e i r experiences i n c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n some d e t a i l , and a l s o t h e i r need f o r and use of the s o c i a l support i n the t r a n s i t i o n house. A process r e l a t e d to t h i s use of support was proposed and d i s c u s s e d . The next chapter w i l l d i s c u s s i m p l i c a t i o n s of the study and p o s s i b l e recommendations. 92 CHAPTER FIVE Summary, Conclusions and I m p l i c a t i o n s Summary This study addressed two q u e s t i o n s : 1. What are women's pe r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r need f o r s o c i a l support i n a t r a n s i t i o n house? 2. In what way do women's past experiences i n c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n f l u e n c e t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r use of s o c i a l support? The f i r s t q u e s t i o n was the focus of the study. The women's p e r s p e c t i v e s on t h e i r use of s o c i a l support has not p r e v i o u s l y been sought; t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e i s c r i t i c a l to planni n g a s e r v i c e which women want and w i l l use. The second q u e s t i o n allowed the women to t e l l t h e i r s t o r i e s , which they had a great need to do; i t a l s o provided background on how the women had experienced and used s o c i a l support. Experiences i n c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s were a l s o examined i n an attempt to determine i f past r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n f l u e n c e d t h e i r present use of support. Phenomenology was the methodology used f o r the study. T h i s q u a l i t a t i v e approach seeks to understand the meaning t h a t people's experiences have f o r them. The approach examines people's p e r c e p t i o n s of events i n t h e i r l i v e s and to t r i e s to understand the s i g n i f i c a n c e of these events. Open-ended, s e m i - s t r u c t u r e d questions were used as an i n t e r v i e w guide. Women's pe r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r experiences i n 93 c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s with (a) t h e i r f a m i l i e s of o r i g i n , (b) t h e i r f r i e n d s , and (c) t h e i r husbands were examined. T h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h i n the t r a n s i t i o n house s e t t i n g , with s t a f f and with other women were a l s o d i s c u s s e d . E i g h t women were interv i e w e d f o r a t o t a l of 19 i n t e r v i e w s . The women were i n i t i a l l y c ontacted d u r i n g t h e i r s t a y i n the t r a n s i t i o n house. They were subsequently inte r v i e w e d i n t h e i r homes, provided they had not retu r n e d to t h e i r husbands. The i n t e r v i e w s l a s t e d from one to two hours and were recorded on audio-tape. The women's ages ranged from 20 to 42 years; they had 13 c h i l d r e n between them. Apart from one woman with two teenagers, the c h i l d r e n were s m a l l . S i x women were on welfare and two were working. A l l the women had been p h y s i c a l l y abused. The a n a l y s i s process i n v o l v e d examining accounts of the women's experiences f o r p o s s i b l e r e l a t i o n s h i p s between themes which emerged d u r i n g the i n t e r v i e w s . Some of the themes which were d i s c u s s e d were r e l a t e d to f a c t o r s p r e v i o u s l y i d e n t i f i e d i n the l i t e r a t u r e as being common to the experiences of abused women, such as s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n , decreased s e l f - e s t e e m and lea r n e d h e l p l e s s n e s s . Other themes emerged d u r i n g data c o l l e c t i o n and were r e l a t e d to the women's use of s o c i a l support d u r i n g t h e i r s t a y a t the t r a n s i t i o n house. A framework was developed to e x p l a i n the process which a l l the women went through i n t h e i r use of s o c i a l support i n the t r a n s i t i o n house. 94 The framework f o r use of s o c i a l support c o n s i s t e d of four s t a g e s : 1. Reassurance. 2. A n a l y s i s . 3. R e c i p r o c i t y . 4. Independence. During the stage of reassurance women were attempting to make sense of what had happened to them. They were a c t i v e l y a b s orbing i n f o r m a t i o n about the issue of wife abuse, about t h e i r l e g a l r i g h t s and about the way these matters r e l a t e d to t h e i r past. They needed reassurance t h a t they were not going out of t h e i r minds, that they were not the onl y ones and that what was done to them was not a c c e p t a b l e . The second stage, a n a l y s i s , was marked by a need f o r peace, q u i e t and p r i v a c y . During t h i s time the women were using a l l the in f o r m a t i o n they had gained, to change t h e i r understanding of t h e i r own pasts and of t h e i r needs f o r the f u t u r e . Women's needs f o r s o l i t u d e v a r i e d g r e a t l y d u r i n g t h i s stage but a l l needed a t l e a s t some time to themselves, to make sense of what had happened to them. The t h i r d stage, r e c i p r o c i t y , d e s c r i b e d the women's needs to r e t u r n to others the help and support which they themselves were g i v e n . Once they had done t h i s the women could move on to the l a s t stage. The f o u r t h and l a s t stage, independence, was c h a r a c t e r i z e d by a p o s i t i v e , r e a l i s t i c o r i e n t a t i o n towards the 95 f u t u r e . The women were by t h i s time f u n c t i o n i n g on t h e i r own and b e l i e v i n g i n t h e i r a b i l i t y to continue doing so. T h e i r s e l f - c o n f i d e n c e and t h e i r b e l i e f i n t h e i r own a b i l i t i e s was s t r o n g and, even though they were aware t h a t they faced d i f f i c u l t times, they b e l i e v e d t h a t they would succeed. T h i s framework was i d e n t i f i e d d u r i n g the study. I t was v a l i d a t e d d u r i n g some second and t h i r d i n t e r v i e w s with the women. Conclusions The f i r s t major c o n c l u s i o n r e s u l t i n g from t h i s study i s t h a t the popular view of day-to-day l i f e i n a t r a n s i t i o n house i s i n a c c u r a t e . The t r a d i t i o n a l view i s th a t a t r a n s i t i o n house i s where women t h r i v e on u n l i m i t e d crowding and c l o s e n e s s , g l a d l y s h a r i n g bathrooms, k i t c h e n s , bedrooms, noise and chaos. Everyone i s c h e e r f u l and s u p p o r t i v e ; when d i s p u t e s a r i s e the group s o l v e s them and growth a u t o m a t i c a l l y r e s u l t s . While some of t h i s may be true i t does not seem to be the t o t a l r e a l i t y . The present study i l l u s t r a t e s that although women do have the c a p a c i t y to e x i s t together i n a group and to help each other, they need an aware and understanding s t a f f to make sure t h i n g s run smoothly. Women do become s t r e s s e d by constant noise and c o n f u s i o n . They do need to have a place to be q u i e t and alone. The second major c o n c l u s i o n i s th a t women's previous experiences of c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s may i n f l u e n c e whether they are a b l e to leave an abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p s u c c e s s f u l l y . A l l 96 the women i n t h i s study saw themselves as having had a r e l a t i v e l y happy c h i l d h o o d . A l l but one had at l e a s t one person i n the f a m i l y of o r i g i n whom they c o u l d i d e n t i f y as s u p p o r t i v e and to whom they c o u l d t u r n . They a l l had f r i e n d s h i p support networks i n place and a v a i l a b l e to them when they l e f t t h e i r husbands. The women knew t h a t even though they d i d not always i n v o l v e t h e i r f a m i l i e s and f r i e n d s i n t h e i r d e c i s i o n to leave t h e i r husbands, these people would be s u p p o r t i v e when the d e c i s i o n was taken. I t seems l o g i c a l to conclude t h a t the lear n e d a b i l i t y to use support, and the a v a i l a b i l i t y of that support, are two f a c t o r s which may i n f l u e n c e a woman's a b i l i t y to leave an abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p ; o n l y one of the women from the present study i s known to have re t u r n e d to her husband. A l l the women grew up i n s u p p o r t i v e f a m i l i e s . I t may be that women from d i f f e r e n t backgrounds might respond d i f f e r e n t l y to the support i n a t r a n s i t i o n house. Conclus i o n s can a l s o be drawn about the f a c t o r s mentioned i n the l i t e r a t u r e review as being common to the experiences of abused women: (a) S o c i a l i s o l a t i o n , (b) decreased s e l f - e s t e e m , and (c) learned h e l p l e s s n e s s . The women were i s o l a t e d from s o c i a l support networks. Husbands discouraged meetings with f r i e n d s and f a m i l y . T h i s does not mean the women were not allowed any s o c i a l c o n t a c t s , r a t h e r t h a t the husband's f r i e n d s were ac c e p t a b l e and co n t a c t with the wife's f r i e n d s was l o s t , a t l e a s t t e m p o r a r i l y . The women were 97 f u r t h e r i s o l a t e d by t h e i r own u n w i l l i n g n e s s to r a i s e the t o p i c of t h e i r abuse with f a m i l y or f r i e n d s . T h i s seemed t o be because of embarrassment, d i s g u s t or a f e e l i n g t h a t no-one would understand. A r e l u c t a n c e by f a m i l y and f r i e n d s to hear about the v i o l e n c e may a l s o have c o n t r i b u t e d to the i s o l a t i o n . The c o n c l u s i o n then i s t h a t women were not i s o l a t e d from s o c i a l c o n t a c t d u r i n g the r e l a t i o n s h i p with t h e i r husbands but were i s o l a t e d from meaningful s o c i a l support. Abusive husbands c o n t i n u a l l y a t t a c k e d t h e i r wives' s e l f - e s t e e m . As was suggested i n the l i t e r a t u r e , the husbands were v e r b a l l y abusive and c o n s t a n t l y derogated t h e i r wives* attempts to p l e a s e . A l l but one of the women i n t h i s study had been a t t a c k e d i n t h i s way. However, there was a major d i f f e r e n c e between the way these women responded and what has been suggested i n the l i t e r a t u r e . Confidence wavered momentarily i n some cases but the women's s e l f - e s t e e m d i d not appear to be permanently a f f e c t e d . Again, there i s i n d i c a t i o n from the women's accounts t h a t a s t r o n g support network was a c r i t i c a l f a c t o r i n m i t i g a t i n g the e f f e c t s of t h e i r husbands' v e r b a l a s s a u l t s . The women knew they had f a m i l i e s and f r i e n d s who l i k e d them and knew them to be worthwhile people. T h i s strengthens the c o n c l u s i o n t h a t a s u p p o r t i v e network may be a c r i t i c a l f a c t o r i n determining a woman's a b i l i t y to leave the r e l a t i o n s h i p . The t h i r d concept from the l i t e r a t u r e , t h a t of learned h e l p l e s s n e s s , was not confirmed by the present study. Not one 9 8 of the women ever stopped t r y i n g to change what was happening to her. When they decided t h a t they were unable to i n f l u e n c e t h e i r s i t u a t i o n from w i t h i n the marriage they l e f t i t ; a t no p o i n t d i d they see themselves as h e l p l e s s v i c t i m s . Often i t was the r e a l i z a t i o n t h a t c h i l d r e n were s u f f e r i n g which helped the women to leav e . An important c o n c l u s i o n of t h i s study i s th a t the needs of the c h i l d r e n i n a t r a n s i t i o n house are not being met. A l l the women were a f f e c t e d by the c h i l d r e n i n the house. Most of them recognized t h a t the c h i l d r e n were i n c r i s i s j u s t as much as t h e i r mothers were. There was no program a v a i l a b l e to help mothers to parent the c h i l d r e n through t h i s c r i s i s . The women found t h i s to be the most d i f f i c u l t aspect of l i f e i n the t r a n s i t i o n house. There were s e v e r a l f a c e t s of l i f e i n the t r a n s i t i o n house which the women i d e n t i f i e d as being v a l u a b l e i n h e l p i n g them to reach the d e c i s i o n to remain out of an abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p . The atmosphere w i t h i n the house was important. Women needed to f e e l cared f o r , and p a r t of t h i s f e e l i n g was gained by knowing that the s t a f f were responsive to t h e i r needs. T h i s would i n v o l v e the s t a f f showing a great d e a l of pe r c e p t i o n and s e n s i t i v i t y . Women needed encouragement to t a l k f r e e l y , without f e e l i n g o b l i g a t e d to share. They needed to have s u b s t a n t i a l s o c i a l c o n t a c t but they a l s o needed peace and p r i v a c y . They needed the s t a f f to respond with emotional support when the other women cou l d not meet t h a t need, but to a l l o w the group to provide the support when p o s s i b l e . T h i s 99 means that the s t a f f have to "walk a very f i n e l i n e " and, above a l l , be c o n s t a n t l y aware of the undercurrents between s p e c i f i c p a i r s or groups of r e s i d e n t s . The study i n d i c a t e d t h a t the a v a i l a b i l i t y of i n f o r m a t i o n i n the house was another f a c t o r i n f l u e n c i n g the women's d e c i s i o n to leave an abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p . The p r o v i s i o n of l e g a l and t h e o r e t i c a l i n f o r m a t i o n on the issue of wife abuse was seen by the women as one of the most v a l u a b l e aspects of the t r a n s i t i o n house s e r v i c e . The need f o r l e g a l c o u n s e l l i n g i s w e l l - r e c o g n i z e d i n t r a n s i t i o n house l i t e r a t u r e . The need for theory on wife abuse i s not so w e l l recognized and may be even more important. The l a s t major c o n c l u s i o n r e l a t e s to the framework f o r use of s o c i a l support, and i s : A l l abused women who have s u c c e s s f u l l y completed the t r a n s i t i o n from a r e l a t i o n s h i p to independence have worked through a l l four stages of the process d e s c r i b e d i n the framework. T h i s c o n c l u s i o n may be h e l p f u l f o r s t a f f i n a c o u n s e l l i n g c o n t e x t . For i n s t a n c e , women may need help working through the stages of the process; s t a f f may adapt t h e i r c o u n s e l l i n g approaches to the knowledge of the sta g e s . I m p l i c a t i o n s The i m p l i c a t i o n s to be drawn from t h i s study f a l l i n t o t h r e e c a t e g o r i e s : 1. I m p l i c a t i o n s f o r s e r v i c e . 100 2. I m p l i c a t i o n s f o r nurses and other h e a l t h care p r o f e s s i o n a l s . 3. I m p l i c a t i o n s f o r r e s e a r c h . I m p l i c a t i o n s f o r S e r v i c e There are c o n s i d e r a b l e i m p l i c a t i o n s inherent i n the framework f o r those p r o v i d i n g s e r v i c e i n a t r a n s i t i o n house. I t would be h e l p f u l to women, when they f i r s t a r r i v e a t the t r a n s i t i o n house, i f they were given immediate feedback that they are not to blame and th a t they have done the r i g h t t h i n g i n l e a v i n g an abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p . I t would a l s o be h e l p f u l , both to the women and to those working with them d u r i n g the stage of reassurance, to have a c l e a r idea of the women's support networks. Therefore i t i s important to prepare h i s t o r i e s of f a m i l y and f r i e n d s upon t h e i r a r r i v a l , and t h e r e a f t e r encourage them to maintain c o n t a c t with those who are h e l p f u l to them. Contacts w i t h i n the house need to be e s t a b l i s h e d . Women must be giv e n time to s e t t l e i n and to get to know the other r e s i d e n t s so t h a t s u p p o r t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p s between them can grow. In the f i r s t few days, women may appear to be q u i e t and withdrawn, not t a l k i n g much, but l i s t e n i n g c a r e f u l l y ; t h i s i s important time and should not be h u r r i e d . I t i s a t t h i s stage t h a t women are g a t h e r i n g the i n f o r m a t i o n they need to make major d e c i s i o n s about t h e i r f u t u r e s . The next stage, a n a l y s i s , begins when the women have gathered the i n f o r m a t i o n they need. Ways must be found d u r i n g 1 0 1 t h i s p e r i o d to help the women have the q u i e t time they need. For example, c h i l d r e n ' s bedtimes c o u l d p o s s i b l y be more s t r i c t l y enforced so that the evenings, a t l e a s t , are p e a c e f u l . Each t r a n s i t i o n house would have to address t h i s concern w i t h i n the l i m i t s of i t s p h y s i c a l s t r u c t u r e ; i t may be more d i f f i c u l t i n some houses than i n others to provide space f o r peace and p r i v a c y . Another i m p l i c a t i o n , inherent i n t h i s stage and i n the next, r e c i p r o c i t y , i s th a t a woman's peace may have to be pr o t e c t e d from another woman's need to t a l k . For i n s t a n c e , i f one woman needs to t a l k , and a l l the others are seeking p r i v a c y or have reached independence and are i n the l e a v i n g process, the s t a f f must move to meet the needs of th a t woman. Or, i f one woman has an overwhelming need to help and the other has an overwhelming need f o r p r i v a c y , the s t a f f must move to p r o t e c t each from the other. The framework i m p l i e s the p o s s i b i l i t y of s u b s t a n t i a l b e n e f i t s to be gained from the i n t e r a c t i o n of women i n the t r a n s i t i o n house. As d e s c r i b e d above, i t might a l s o help to e x p l a i n some of the i n t e r p e r s o n a l d i f f i c u l t i e s which o c c a s i o n a l l y a r i s e . S t a f f must be aware that there may be advantages from women i n the house being a t d i f f e r e n t stages i n the process; but s t a f f a l s o need to be c o n s t a n t l y aware of the p o t e n t i a l f o r problems r e s u l t i n g from women being a t d i f f e r e n t s t a g e s . Indeed, a c h i e v i n g harmony between women a t 102 d i f f e r e n t stages i n the process may be one of the most d i f f i c u l t t a sks f a c i n g t r a n s i t i o n house s t a f f . Women i n the f i n a l stage, independence, place the fewest demands on t r a n s i t i o n house s t a f f . They might r e q u i r e help with p r a c t i c a l matters such as opening a bank account or having a telephone i n s t a l l e d but i n general they are ready to f u n c t i o n with a minimum of support and i n t e r v e n t i o n . One l a s t i m p l i c a t i o n concerns c h i l d r e n of abused women. I t i s v i t a l t h a t some kind of s p e c i f i c program be placed i n t r a n s i t i o n houses to address the needs of these c h i l d r e n . U n t i l t r a n s i t i o n houses are able to provide t h i s kind of program as an adj u n c t t o the e x i s t i n g s e r v i c e , the c y c l e w i l l c o n t i n u e . I t i s recognized that the needs of the women come f i r s t , they are the r a i s o n d ' e t r e f o r a t r a n s i t i o n house. However, the needs of the c h i l d r e n are i n e x t r i c a b l y l i n k e d with the needs of t h e i r mothers, and they are not being met. Im p l i c a t i o n s f o r Nurses and Other Health Care P r o f e s s i o n a l s One of the most i n t e r e s t i n g f i n d i n g s of the study was tha t there was no evidence of h e a l t h care workers being i n v o l v e d i n the l i v e s of these women. This confirms the opi n i o n s and a s s e r t i o n s s t a t e d i n the l i t e r a t u r e t h a t h e a l t h care p r o f e s s i o n a l s are not doing what they should to address the issue of wife abuse. Only one woman i n the study had turned to p h y s i c i a n s and nurses f o r help; a l l had completely misread the s i t u a t i o n and i n f a c t had made i t worse. One other woman had vol u n t e e r e d to have a student nurse f o l l o w her 103 f a m i l y f o r a p e r i o d . T h i s woman had a p p a r e n t l y not even c o n s i d e r e d e x p l a i n i n g her predicament e i t h e r to the student, or to a h e a l t h nurse with whom she had been i n c o n t a c t . There are two p o s s i b l e reasons f o r t h i s lack of use of h e a l t h care p r o f e s s i o n a l s , based on the women's experiences and on what i s w r i t t e n i n the l i t e r a t u r e . One i s t h a t they are g e n e r a l l y uninformed on the issue of wife abuse. The other i s t h a t abused wives do not regard them as a u s e f u l r e s o u r c e . Both reasons are probably v a l i d i n a gene r a l way, so the i m p l i c a t i o n s are obvious: Health care p r o f e s s i o n a l s must upgrade t h e i r knowledge and review t h e i r commitment to help these women and t h e i r f a m i l i e s to f i n d s o l u t i o n s to what are r e a l h e a l t h care concerns. Women may encounter p h y s i c i a n s and nurses i n a v a r i e t y of s e t t i n g s such as d o c t o r s ' o f f i c e s , h o s p i t a l emergency departments, m a t e r n i t y u n i t s and baby c l i n i c s . A l l assessments of women l i v i n g with a partner should i n v o l v e questions a d d r e s s i n g the p o s s i b l e occurrence of v i o l e n c e w i t h i n t h a t r e l a t i o n s h i p . Men, too, should be given a p p r o p r i a t e o p p o r t u n i t i e s to d i s c u s s the occurrence of v i o l e n c e i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s . There are a number of resources a v a i l a b l e to h e a l t h care p r o f e s s i o n a l s which give e x p l i c i t examples of how to approach t h i s i s s u e . One of them ( S i n c l a i r , 1985) provides sample que s t i o n s f o r every p o s s i b l e s i t u a t i o n , e.g., what to ask a c h i l d i f you suspect--and only s u s p e c t — v i o l e n c e ; how to de a l with a s i t u a t i o n where v i o l e n c e i s suspected and husband and 104 wife v i s i t the o f f i c e together. Health care p r o f e s s i o n a l s need to become comfortable i n as k i n g questions such as "How i s anger handled i n your f a m i l y ? " or "For in s t a n c e , some people, when they are angry, might k i c k , punch, h i t or choke; does t h a t ever happen i n your house?" T h i s approach g i v e s the c l i e n t — m a n , woman, or c h i l d — e x p l i c i t i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t i t i s p e r m i s s i b l e to t a l k about v i o l e n c e . Health care p r o f e s s i o n a l s need to be b e t t e r informed about the issue of f a m i l y v i o l e n c e and about a v a i l a b l e r e s o u r c e s f o r the v i c t i m s of v i o l e n c e . T h i s would i n v o l v e the i n c l u s i o n i n b a s i c medical and nu r s i n g c u r r i c u l a of theory r e l a t i n g to the i s s u e . The a b i l i t y to use such theory would i n v o l v e t a k i n g time to p r a c t i c e the use of the necessary s k i l l s i n s e t t i n g s l i k e t r a n s i t i o n houses. I f such content were i n c l u d e d i n the b a s i c e d u c a t i o n of h e a l t h care p r o f e s s i o n a l s they would be b e t t e r equipped to address the needs of t h e i r c l i e n t s . There i s one obvious way i n which to i n v o l v e a h e a l t h care worker i n the l i v e s of women i n t r a n s i t i o n houses: To provide l i a i s o n between the area community h e a l t h nurse and women l e a v i n g the t r a n s i t i o n house. T h i s might help to bridge the t r a n s i t i o n between l i f e i n the t r a n s i t i o n house and t o t a l independence. I t might a l s o provide women with a u s e f u l resource i n t h e i r new community. There are many o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r h e a l t h care p r o f e s s i o n a l s i n g e n e r a l , and nurses i n p a r t i c u l a r , to make a 105 p o s i t i v e impact on the l i v e s of abused women. More c r e a t i v e ways to make t h i s happen need to be developed. I m p l i c a t i o n s f o r Research The f i n d i n g s suggest s e v e r a l i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r f u r t h e r r e s e a r c h . They f a l l i n t o three c a t e g o r i e s , r e l a t i n g to (a) abused women, (b) c h i l d r e n of abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p s , and (c) the framework f o r use of s o c i a l support. The study should be repeated, using d i f f e r e n t p o p u l a t i o n s of women, e.g., c h i l d l e s s women, e l d e r l y women or women r a i s e d r a i s e d i n non-supportive f a m i l i e s , t o determine whether they would r e a c t i n the same way to being i n a t r a n s i t i o n house. I t would be u s e f u l to i n t e r v i e w women while they were s t i l l i n a t r a n s i t i o n house because the group who r e t u r n to t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s c o u l d then be i n c l u d e d ; i n t h i s way, d i f f e r e n c e s between those who do and those who do not r e t u r n might be i d e n t i f i e d . A l l the women i n t h i s study d i s c u s s e d d i f f i c u l t i e s with c h i l d r e n i n the t r a n s i t i o n house; s t u d i e s of c h i l d r e n ' s use of the house would help to i d e n t i f y t h e i r s p e c i a l requirements. I t i s an accepted p r i n c i p l e among those who work i n f a m i l y v i o l e n c e t h a t c h i l d r e n of abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p s grow up to be abusers or v i c t i m s of abuse. Yet, l i t t l e attempt i s made to address the needs of these c h i l d r e n i n any sys t e m a t i c manner. The framework f o r use of s o c i a l support needs to be s t u d i e d from s e v e r a l d i f f e r e n t approaches. (a) An attempt should be made to i s o l a t e and d e s c r i b e behaviours which may be 106 c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of each stage of the framework; i f t h i s c o u l d be achieved, the u t i l i t y of the framework would be improved, (b) The r e l a t i o n s h i p between s u c c e s s f u l l y p r o g r e s s i n g through the stages of the framework and the a b i l i t y to r e t a i n independence should be s t u d i e d . (c) The g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y of the framework needs to be t e s t e d i n a v a r i e t y of s i t u a t i o n s , (d) The p r e d i c t i v e value of the framework needs to be s t u d i e d . In c o n c l u s i o n , women i n t r a n s i t i o n houses have a number of needs to be met i n the area of s o c i a l support. The more-informed t r a n s i t i o n house s t a f f are about these needs and about the ways women go about meeting them, the more v a l u a b l e they are to the women. The framework f o r use of s o c i a l support may prove to be an Important guide f o r s t a f f to use i n a s s i s t i n g women to make the t r a n s i t i o n from an abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p to an independent l i f e . 107 References American P s y c h o l o g i c a l A s s o c i a t i o n . (1983). P u b l i c a t i o n manual of the American P s y c h o l o g i c a l A s s o c i a t i o n (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: Author. Aronson, E. (Ed.). (1984). Readings about the s o c i a l animal (4th ed.). New York: W. H. Freeman. Anderson, J . (1981). An i n t e r p r e t i v e approach to c l i n i c a l n u r s i n g r e s e a r c h . Nursing Papers, 13 (4), 6-11. B a l l , P. G., & Wyman, E. (1978). B a t t e r e d wives and powerlessness: What can coun s e l o r s do? V i c t i m o l o g y , 2_, 545-552. 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W o r r e l l , J . , & G a r r e t t - F u l k s , N. (1983). The r e s o c i a l i z a t i o n of s i n g l e - a g a i n women. In V. Franks & E. D. Rothblum (Eds.), The s t e r e o t y p i n g of women: I t s e f f e c t s on mental h e a l t h . New York: S p r i n g e r . Append i x e \ 119 Appendix A I n t r o d u c t o r y L e t t e r to P o t e n t i a l Volunteers Dear I am a r e g i s t e r e d nurse p r e s e n t l y working towards a Master's degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia. T h i s l e t t e r i s to inform you of a study I am going to be doing as my t h e s i s work. I have become v e r y i n t e r e s t e d i n the g e n e r a l area of f a m i l y v i o l e n c e and, i n p a r t i c u l a r , of wife abuse. I spent some time working as a v o l u n t e e r i n [Name] House and became i n t e r e s t e d i n how much support women give and r e c e i v e i n such a s e t t i n g . My study w i l l be aimed a t i d e n t i f y i n g what w i l l h elp women get the most b e n e f i t from such an experience. T h i s l e t t e r i s to ask you to p a r t i c i p a t e i n the study. P a r t i c i p a t i o n would i n v o l v e approximately three tape-recorded i n t e r v i e w s a f t e r your s t a y i n the house. No names w i l l be used a t any p o i n t d u r i n g the study and any m a t e r i a l you do not want to leave the room w i l l be erased from the tape i n your presence. I f you decide to p a r t i c i p a t e , then change your mind, you can withdraw a t any time. Your p a r t i c i p a t i o n i s e n t i r e l y v o l u n t a r y . Withdrawal w i l l not i n f l u e n c e your r i g h t to use the s e r v i c e s of the house. When the study i s complete, a r e p o r t w i l l be w r i t t e n and a copy w i l l be kept a t the t r a n s i t i o n house f o r you i f you would l i k e i t . I t i s hoped t h a t t h i s study w i l l b e n e f i t women who u t i l i z e t r a n s i t i o n houses. I f you are i n t e r e s t e d i n p a r t i c i p a t i n g , please t e l l a s t a f f member at the house and they w i l l c o n t a c t me. Thank you. Yours s i n c e r e l y , Angela Henderson, RN., BSN. 120 Appendix B Sample Questions Can you d e s c r i b e l i f e i n the t r a n s i t i o n house? What l e d up to your being i n the t r a n s i t i o n house? Can you say what was the best t h i n g about being there? What was the most d i f f i c u l t p a r t? Did your f e e l i n g s about y o u r s e l f and/or your marriage change d u r i n g your s t a y i n the house? I f so, how? How d i d you get along with the other women i n the house? Is there any way t r a n s i t i o n house i t f o r you? you would l i k e t o see the s e r v i c e changed that would improve

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