This provocative book challenges the pervasive stereotypes that depict battered women as passive and presents an alternative strengths-based framework. Battered women are not passive and in denial; they act to protect themselves and their loved ones in many ways. Many women who experience abuse are facing numerous other risks, such as the risk of homelessness or the threat of losing custody of their children in a divorce battle. Understanding the full range of risks is necessary to understanding the complex problem of battering. Using an approach called Multiple Criteria Decision Making, this book outlines a procedure for comprehensive risk assessment, safety planning and risk management. One key step is recognizing all of the protective strategies that battered women routinely use. Quantitative, qualitative, and clinical data reveal a wide range of protective strategies: immediate defensive responses in the moments following an attack, protecting children and other loved ones, reaching out for social support, turning to religious and spiritual resources and engaging formal helpseeking.
There are many, many strategies that are still largely invisible to providers and researchers-steps women take that receive very little attention or acknowledgement in the domestic violence field. In two new studies, survivors of domestic violence identified 133 different protective strategies in open-ended questions. These and other insights from survivors are included throughout the book. This book shows how to use the strength of battered women to create better and more nuanced research and intervention.