Voices from the silent ranks: narratives of leaving an abusive military marriage




Kern, Erin Owen

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Research regarding experiences of and advocacy for military service members is prevalent, particularly with the current returning influx to the United States. Similarly, research around civilian female experiences of and escape from intimate partner violence is abundant. However, there is severely limited literature on the experiences of military wives who have successfully left abusive marriages. This narrative research study focused on the stories of civilian women who left abusive marriages to a military service member. Eight women were interviewed as a part of this research. Their interviews were transcribed and analyzed using narrative analysis, which allowed the participants to generate stories in order to understand their experiences of leaving. Results yielded both individual themes centered on identity, voice, and meaning-making of the experience, and systemic themes centered on military influences and structural barriers to reporting. Suggestions for future research and implications of this study are discussed, and recommendations for counselors and counselor educators are provided.


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Identity, Intimate partner violence, Marriage and family, Military, Narrative inquiry