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Violence Against Women. 2011 Jan;17(1):28-46. doi: 10.1177/1077801209347636. Epub 2009 Dec 22.

Lesbian/bisexual mothers and intimate partner violence: help seeking in the context of social and legal vulnerability.

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Dept. of Human and Community Development, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 905 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


Mothers in same-sex relationships face unique challenges when help seeking for intimate partner violence (IPV). Formal helping systems often invalidate their family relationships, leaving them vulnerable and distrustful when help seeking. To better understand their experiences, the authors interviewed 24 lesbian/bisexual mothers who were either in or had left abusive same-sex relationships. Increasing severity of violence, effects of violence on children and families, and "being tired" influenced their definitions of the situation. Decisions to seek formal help appeared to be influenced by their support from informal networks and perceived stigma related to the intersection of IPV and being lesbian or bisexual.

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