The ways advocates make meaning of feminism and domestic violence

Meaning-making and domestic violence victim advocacy an examination of feminist identities, ideologies, and practices

From Feminist Criminology

This study examines the relationship between feminism and advocacy. It outlines the ways advocates make meaning of feminism and domestic violence, and how such meanings guide advocates’ practices.  Specifically, the interaction between feminist identity, ideologies, and practices is explored.


Early domestic violence victim advocacy included survivor-defined, intersectional, and social change practices rooted in feminism. Yet, research specifically examining the ways that advocates identify with and make meaning of feminism, and the relationship of such meanings to advocates’ practices, is limited. Drawing from interviews with 26 domestic violence victim advocates, the interaction between feminist identity, ideology, and practices is examined. Findings indicated that advocates with feminist identities and ideologies held survivor-defined, social change, and intersectional approaches to advocacy. Nonfeminist advocates practiced survivor-defined advocacy, but did not maintain social change or intersectional practices. Implications for advocacy are provided.

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Article details
Andrea J. Nichols
Meaning-Making and Domestic Violence Victim Advocacy: An Examination of Feminist Identities, Ideologies, and Practices
Feminist Criminology July 2013 8: 177-201, first published on April 12, 2013 doi:10.1177/1557085113482727



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