Problematizing the Uniform Application of the Formula Story: Advocacy for Survivors in a Domestic Violence Support Group

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Conceptualizations and definitions of domestic violence (DV) wield tremendous effects on how it is understood, investigated, experienced, legislated, and deterred. DV agencies typically conceptualize DV as a " formula story " that includes severe physical violence, controlling behaviors, and the " evil villain " terrorizing a " pure victim " (Loseke, 2001, p. 107; see also Loseke, 2009). The formula story can be tremendously influential for those whose experiences align with it, but it can also create confusion or distress for those whose experiences do not. In this article, fueled by our observation and interviewing of, advocacy for, and group facilitation with, female survivors of DV, we answer Loseke's (2001, 2009) call for expanding the formula story at the microlevel. Ultimately, the aim of this article is to illuminate how DV workers and support group facilitators can attempt to better meet the needs of survivors by communicating in ways that affirm their experiences—whether those experiences relate to the formula story or not.


Domestic violence; advocacy; applied research; support group

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