Family and cultural protective factors as the bedrock of resilience and growth for Indigenous women who have experienced violence


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Despite Indigenous women in the United States experiencing elevated rates of intimate partner violence (IPV), little is known about family resilience and relevant protective factors, particularly those related to family and culture. Using a framework of historical oppression, resilience, and transcendence, the purpose of this research was to uncover family and cultural-level protective factors for Indigenous women who have experienced IPV. Thematic analysis of 49 ethnographic interviews with Indigenous women who experienced IPV and with professionals who work with them indicated the following emergent protective factors: (1) family support through IPV, (2) family affirming nonviolent values, (3) tight-knit extended family unity and connectedness, (4) elders’ instilling Indigenous principles through storytelling, and (5) enculturation fostering nonviolence and ethnic pride. Depending on the family’s response to IPV, families can be protective or risk factors for Indigenous women’s wellness and recovery from IPV.

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