Belonging: women living with intellectual disabilities and experiences of domestic violence

Katrina Pestka, Sarah Wendt

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)


    Women with an intellectual disability are under-represented in domestic violence research, yet they are one of the most vulnerable groups who are at risk of violence and abuse. This article aims to contribute to the domestic violence field by reporting on a narrative dialogic performative study, which utilised a feminist poststructural perspective to explore significant relationships and the concept of belonging in the lives of women with a mild intellectual disability. Four in-depth narrative interviews were conducted. The study found that the women shared similar stories of devaluation and rejection in childhood and hence the women's search for belonging contributed to their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse in domestic violence relationships. The paper argues that gendered discourses and constructions of intellectual disability regulate domestic violence as a personal problem or way of life for women with intellectual disabilities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1031-1045
    Number of pages15
    JournalDisability & Society
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


    • belonging
    • domestic violence
    • intimate partners
    • women with intellectual disabilities


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