Lesbian mothering in the context of intimate partner violence

Jennifer L. Hardesty, Ramona Faith Oswald, Lyndal Khaw, Carol Fonseca, Grace Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Twenty-four lesbian mothers (12 African American, 9 White, and 3 Latina) who had experienced physical abuse by a same-sex partner were interviewed. Three types of IPV were found: intimate terrorism, situational violence, and mutual violent control. Further, relationships between mothers/abusers, mothers/children, and abusers/children were examined. Regarding relationships with abusers, 71% of mothers reported lengthy sagas, 17% had worked it out, and 13% made a clean break from the abuser. Regarding relationships with their children, 48% of mothers hid the violence, 26% minimized it, and 26% openly communicated about the situation. Relationships between abusers and the mothers' children were found to be either co-parental (29%), playmate (21%), abusive (21%), or non-parental (21%). Correlations among relational and demographic variables were also examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-210
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Lesbian Studies
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2008


  • Grounded theory
  • Intersectionality
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Lesbian mothers
  • Parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies


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