Survivors of intimate partner violence in non-violent romantic relationships
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The long-term effects of intimate partner violence (IPV) and the later non-violent romantic relationships of those who have survived it are important areas that have not been the focus of most IPV research. This study was intended to extend the literature through an exploration of the process of successfully transitioning out of violent relationships into new non-violent relationships from a perspective based in resilience and strengths-based theory. The term “survivor-couple” is developed from the literature to describe these later, non-violent relationships, and research questions are posed regarding the relational strengths of these survivor-couples, the factors that contribute to their resilience, and the experiences survivors identify as illustrators of the survivor-couple’s resiliency. Eleven participants who survived past, violent relationships and are currently in non-violent relationships with new partners were interviewed, and the resulting data were analyzed using grounded theory analysis. Analysis detailed the important factors that affect and relate to the transition out of violent relationships and into non-violent relationships. These factors were broken into six main categories that correspond to Strauss and Corbin’s Paradigm Model and describe the contexts, strategies, and dynamics related to resilience surrounding this transition: Increases in Risks and Strengths; Microsystemic Conditions; Macrosystemic Conditions; Transition from Violent to Nonviolent Relationships; Agency in Preparation, Termination and Single-hood; and Expressions of Individual and Survivor-Couple Resilience. Findings are illustrated using quotes from participant interviews, and applications for IPV outreach providers and other professionals are provided.