The Healing Journey
Intimate Partner Abuse and Its Implications in the Labour Market
Review by Crystal Erickson Victims of intimate partner abuse frequently suffer a bleak array of obstacles after leaving abusive relationships. This overlooked subject is the focus of The Healing Journey: Intimate Partner Abuse and Its Implications in the Labour Market by Linda DeRiviere, an associate professor in the political science department at the University of Winnipeg.
The Healing Journey study was comprised of 414 participants who were interviewed in seven waves to observe the many challenges victims faced in their daily lives after leaving abusive relationships.
Employment rates were correlated to the last year of abuse for the participants. Many were working low-level jobs, DeRiviere found, the sorts of occupations in which women dominate but which also fail, in most cases, to provide a reliable income. Unfortunately, these low-paying jobs keep women in poverty and reliant on tenuous government-funded programs for their survival.
The system only works as well as its design allows, and there are plenty of cracks into which victims fall. Public programs considered gender-neutral can actually ignore the complex problems that arise due to intimate partner violence.As DeRiviere writes, “The plight of abused women can be viewed in the context of a patriarchal ideology at a broader societal level: this ideology leads to policy decision-making that largely undervalues the interests of marginalized women in the labour force.”
DeRiviere concludes that many women eventually end up in another abusive relationship because they can’t afford to live alone and don’t receive the supports they need.
The Healing Journey is a much-needed glimpse into the special circumstances victims of intimate partner abuse face. It’s an issue that desperately needs more research and government attention.