The perspectives of educated women on surviving abusive marital relationships have not been adequately explored, thus implying a gap in the literature regarding the role of education in enhancing or mitigating the prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV). In this context, the question is how do educated women perceive surviving abusive relationships? Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), using flexible semi-structured face-to-face interviews, was conducted to understand the experiences of eight highly educated women (master’s, Ph.D.) in abusive marriage. Four superordinate interrelated themes were developed: (a) developing an awareness of self-respect generating role confusion, (b) being torn between traditions and ambitions, (c) normalizing abuse as part of marriage, and (d) challenging abuse by self-promotion. Like other survivors of abuse, educated women tried to justify, blame themselves, work harder to please the perpetrator, and promote themselves; finally, they continued to live their lives by embracing abuse to bring peace and save their marriage. The effect of sociocultural context on educated women’s perspectives seems to play a crucial role in women’s decisions to stay in abusive relationships, despite the assumptions of empowerment and independence.


intimate partner violence, education, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, women, Jordan

Author Bio(s)

Mayada Daibes, Ph.D., CNS, is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Nursing, Philadelphia University, Jordan. Her research interest is focused on employing qualitative methods to study minorities and vulnerable populations, emphasizing gender and power-related issues. Please direct correspondence to mdaibes@philadelphia.edu.jo.

Reema Safadi, RN, Ph.D., LCCE, is a Professor at the School of Nursing, the University of Jordan, Department of Maternal and Child Health Nursing. Her research interests include nursing education, women’s health, and gender issues. She was granted the Fulbright Scholarship Award, 2015-2016, to the University of Pittsburgh, USA. Please direct correspondence to r.safadi@ju.edu.jo.


Our thanks go to the women who shared with us their private life experiences.

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