Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Confronting "Victim" Discourses: The Identity Work of Battered Women

Amy Leisenring
Symbolic Interaction
Vol. 29, No. 3 (Summer 2006), pp. 307-330
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction
DOI: 10.1525/si.2006.29.3.307
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/si.2006.29.3.307
Page Count: 24
  • Download ($42.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Item Type
Article
References
If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Confronting "Victim" Discourses: The Identity Work of Battered Women
Preview not available

Abstract

In this article I explore how battered women both draw from and reject victim discourses in their processes of self-construction and self-representation. Data gathered from semistructured interviews with forty women who experienced violence from an intimate partner in a heterosexual relationship demonstrate that available "victim" discourses are both enabling and constraining. Four common representations of a victim emerged as most influential to women's identity work: as someone who suffers a harm she cannot control; as someone who deserves sympathy and/or requires some type of action be taken against the victimizer; as someone who is culpable for her experiences; and as someone who is powerless and weak. "Victim empowerment" and "survivor" discourses also played a role in how women understood and made sense of their experiences. In their attempts to construct identities for themselves, battered women become caught between notions of victimization, agency, and responsibility.

Page Thumbnails