Buchbinder, Eli, and Nisreen George Karayanni. “Rejection and Choice: Arab Battered Women Coping with Stigmatization After Leaving Battered Women’s Shelters in Israel.” Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work 24.3 (2015): 235-50.
In the collectivist Arab society, intimate partner violence (IPV) is considered to be a personal and a family problem. Arab women who seek refuge in shelters for battered women are perceived as violating a cultural norm. This study focused on how Arab women cope with living independently in the community after spending time in a shelter. In this qualitative study, 12 women between the ages of 25 and 42 were interviewed, after having spent six to 30 months in the shelter. Since then, they had been living in the community. Analysis of the interviews revealed that the women described their independent lives as positioned between two poles: On one pole, they experienced stress and rejection from the family and society, which caused them pain, anger, and loneliness. On the other pole, the women experienced strength that enabled them to find meaning in their right to choose. The discussion of the study findings focuses on the dialectical relationships between the social stigma of rejection and the women’s self-transformation toward an empowered identity in the context of a collectivist-patriarchal community.