Intimate Partner Violence and Help Seeking Behavior
Intimate partner violence is a growing epidemic in our country. Statistics indicate that an estimated 47.1% of women experienced at least one act of psychological aggression by an intimate partner during their lifetime (Breiding et al., 2014); that is, almost half of women experience some form of violence in their lifetime. Furthermore, women 18-24 and 25-34 are the number one and two (respectively) most vulnerable age groups to this kind of relationship violence. These statistics highlight the need to understand women’s experience of intimate partner violence as well as her help seeking behavior. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to give voice to the experiences of survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) and explore their help seeking behavior. I specifically considered the help seeking behavior of the 18-24 and 25-34 year old woman. In addition to seeking to understand each group separately, I also compared the two groups to one another to uncover similarities or differences in their help seeking behaviors that were mitigated by age. This study used the transcendental-phenomenological approach to qualitative research to give survivors of IPV the opportunity to speak about their experiences of help seeking behavior. The emergent themes in this study were divided into two categories: Internal Factors and External Factors. External Factor themes included: The Situation and Awareness of Resources with the subthemes of Formal Supports, Informal Supports, and Not Worth the Risk: Protective Measures. The Internal Factors include Classification/Label, Looking Back, and Blame with the subthemes Self Blame and Other Blame.