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NCJ Number: 183280 Find in a Library
Title: Eva's Story: One Woman's Life Viewed Through the Interpretive Lens of Gilligan's Theory
Journal: Violence Against Women  Volume:6  Issue:6  Dated:June 2000  Pages:586-605
Author(s): Ruth Ann Belknap
Date Published: June 2000
Page Count: 20
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper presents an interpretive reading of one Mexican-American woman's (Eva's) story of an abusive relationship, using the interpretive lens of women's moral development as described by Carol Gilligan.
Abstract: The paper begins with a review of Gilligan's theory of moral development. According to Gilligan (1982), the central moral problem for women is the conflict between self and other. Gilligan's study of women involved in making abortion decisions suggests that women construct moral dilemmas in terms of conflicting responsibilities. Gilligan describes a sequence of three levels with two transitions in the development of women's moral judgment. Decision making moves from the initial level of a total concern with one's own needs, to a second level of considering one's responsibility to others, and then to a third level that Gilligan calls the transition from goodness to truth. During this transition, the woman reconciles her own needs with her responsibility to others. Eva's story is presented as an exemplar of the developmental process Gilligan describes and as an illustration of the power this interpretive method has to bring another person into relationship with the narrator. Through this relationship, one is able to achieve a fuller understanding of the narrator's experience. This method of analysis explains experiences of moral conflict, the narrator's sense of self, and the "voices" of psychological distress and resilience in her story of decision making in the context of an abusive relationship. 15 references
Main Term(s): Victim attitudes
Index Term(s): Decisionmaking; Domestic assault; Moral development; Victims of violent crime
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