You are here

Leaving Abusive Partners

Leaving Abusive Partners
From the Scars of Survival to the Wisdom for Change

October 1993 | 192 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
A moving and accessible book, Leaving Abusive Partners not only reshapes our understanding of woman abuse but makes a major contribution to a key issue in feminist theory. Drawing on firsthand accounts, Catherine Kirkwood goes beyond the discourse of "victims" and "survivors" to offer new insights into the multifaceted nature of woman abuse: She focuses on the concept of emotional abuse and the experiences of leaving and surviving abuse. New light is shed on the dynamics of abuse and resources women draw on to regain power. Examining abuse experiences and societal issues women confront after leaving abusive relationships, Kirkwood discovers that the two are interrelated. She develops the concept of a "web" of abuse to explain the shared experiences of abused women and women in general. Essential reading for those concerned with understanding woman abuse, Leaving Abusive Partners develops existing knowledge by fully exploring emotional abuse. It also details both emotional and practical struggles women confront in leaving and healing from abuse. "The book's main strength for me was its attempt to describe the longer-term impact upon women of such abuse and the difficult process of breaking free from the damaging relationship." --Clinical Psychology Review "I love this book. Catherine Kirkwood has translated the voices of 30 formerly abused women into descriptive, conceptual, theoretical, methodological, and practical insights the likes of which I have not seen since the Dobashes's pioneering work. . . . Although Kirkwood's major focus is on the process through which women extricate themselves from abusive relationships and continue their survival beyond the escape, about one-third of the book deals brilliantly with the abuse experience itself, and another fifth is a general review of the 'woman abuse' literature." --Journal of Marriage and the Family "This short book comes at the right time and theoretical hiatus in the literature on woman abuse to offer a major connecting theory for psychologists and sociologists. Kirkwood is sensitive to many different kinds of relationships: The theory is valid for heterosexual and lesbian relationships (and gay male ones also, although she doesn't mention this); for abusive relationships where physical violence takes a back seat to emotional violence; and for women on every class level. . . . What I like best about Kirkwood's book is that it explains even more than she claims." --Journal of Family Violence "Perhaps this book is best read in combination with Sage's other new feminist-oriented book: Barnett and LaViolette's It Could Happen to Anyone (1993), which is better at summarizing standard psychological research, and perhaps more accessible as a text." --Journal of Family Violence "Researchers continue to ask, "Why do they stay?" Friends of women suffering abuse grieve over the same issue, and even advocates for women who have been battered fall into that frustrating line of inquiry. All will find Kirkwood's description of emotional abuse useful. Everyone concerned about women's safety and freedom will benefit from answers to the reframed question: "What are the complexities that make it so hard to leave?" "What needs to happen before a particular woman can stay away?" Kirkwood has opened the doors." --Violence and Victims

The Face of a `Battered Woman'
Traditional Approaches to Understanding Woman Abuse

Towards a New Perspective
Women's Experiences of Emotional Abuse
Emotional Abuse and the Dynamics of Control
Obstacles to Securing Independence
The Impact of Abuse and the Context in which Formerly Abused Women Seek Healing
Victims and Survivors
Concepts and Issues Central to Women's Action for Change


Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9780803986855

ISBN: 9780803986862