Damned if I do, and damned if I don't : an autoethnographical knotty affair about living with, and leaving male partner violence
Male partner violence involves repeated abuse, committed by an intimate partner, someone you know and care about, over a period of time. A woman who has experienced this unimaginable betrayal by her intimate partner, the man she believed would protect and cherish her, struggles with the many complexities involved in male partner violence. I use autoethnography as methodology to share my own personal story of male partner violence and I explore, examine, and challenge the socio-cultural and socio-political norms that influenced me to stay in an abusive relationship and also leave the relationship. I include the knottiness of my healing journey after moving out and moving on. I use a silkscreen portrayal of male partner violence, a pen and ink self-portrait, photographs, poetry, court documents and journal entries to explore different perspectives of my experience and to examine the relationship between seeing, thinking, and knowing, and the complex nature of my experience of male partner violence. I struggle and untangle what kept me in the marriage for so long and share the stimulus for why I eventually left and I examine the very troubling effects of male partner violence on myself and my children. I share my guilt, shame, grief and loss but I also recognize my resourcefulness, strength, and determination to survive and move beyond male partner violence. I made many decisions along the way and I always felt caught in a losing dichotomy every time. Through a feminist way of viewing male partner violence and autoethnographic writing, I also examine social perceptions of male partner violence, domination, the loss of voice and power that occurs and the lack of support from traditional social institutions. While I understand that women experience male partner violence in different ways, this is my personal experience of living with and leaving male partner violence.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
DepartmentEducational Psychology and Special Education
ProgramSchool and Counselling Psychology
SupervisorClaypool, Dr. Tim; Murray, Dr. Lee B.
CommitteeStelmach, Dr. Bonnie B.; Barrette, Dr. Mary Jean
Copyright DateJanuary 2014
autoethnography male partner violence