Dating Violence and the Health of Young Women: A Feminist Narrative Study
Health Care for Women International
Dating violence is a significant public health problem in the lives of young women. Their age, in conjunction with perceived pressures to engage in intimate relationships, makes these women particularly vulnerable to dating violence. The pressures to be in relationships can be intense and therefore may add to young women's willingness to overlook, forgive, or excuse the violence that is occurring. The authors' purposes in this feminist study were to examine the experience of dating violence from young women's perspectives; investigate how contextual factors shape their experiences; examine how health is shaped by these experiences; and explore ways that dating violence is perpetuated and normalized in young women's lives. Findings revealed that family environment and gender are critical in shaping young women's experiences. The participants described a range of physical and emotional health problems and perceived few sources of support. Their efforts to obtain support were often met with skeptical and dismissive attitudes on the part of health care providers and other trusted adults. Recommendations for health care practice, education, and research are presented.