Year: 2022 Source: Journal of Family Violence. (2022). SIEC No: 20221035

Intimate partner violence and women’s suicidality are known to be positively correlated; however, behaviour patterns and processes on managing these experiences are not well known. The purpose of this study was to understand how women with a history of intimate partner violence seek help for suicidality through an exploration of women’s perspectives on the opportunities and barriers to getting help.

A qualitative grounded theory and photovoice study using a critical theory philosophical underpinning was used to understand women’s experience seeking help for suicidality within health services. One-to-one interviews occurred with 32 women from [Area of Country], 7 of whom participated in 5 group meetings where they shared self-generated photos that reflected their experiences. Interview and photovoice meeting transcripts were analyzed with a grounded theory approach.

Women sought to Feel Human by Enduring and Distancing, a way of managing System Entrapment or a sense of dehumanization from health care providers’ invalidation. Women Endured unfair treatment to avoid bothering health care providers and Distanced from the system to protect against invalidation even if it means not having access to professional help. Patterns of Enduring System Entrapment and Distancing from the System was found to parallel ways of managing coercive control from an abusive partner, named Abuser Entrapment, and managing hopelessness related to suicidality, named Trauma Entrapment.

Trauma and violence informed interventions are discussed, including using a relational approach to understanding how the use of self, the environment, and systemic structures influences women’s capacity to continue living.