Structural justice; intimate partner violence; violence against women; policy; structural violence; critical feminist; feminist theory


Discourse and Text Linguistics | Feminist Philosophy | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Health Communication | Health Policy | Inequality and Stratification | Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Philosophy of Language | Politics and Social Change | Social Influence and Political Communication | Social Policy | Women's Studies


Violence against women is a human rights violation (UN, 2006). It affects the health of women globally (UN, 2009) and its elimination is at the heart of many international and national goals. Intimate partner violence (IPV), one of the most common forms of gender-based violence, affects one in three women worldwide (WHO, 2013). The consequences of IPV create negative health outcomes for women that diminish their quality of life and their overall well-being. Abused women access community supports such as shelters to seek safe refuge from the abuse and restore their lives. While shelters play an extensive role in helping women to rebuild their lives they often struggle to navigate inflexible and unjust systemic structures that can be re-victimizing to women and undermine their ability to live violence free. This study describes an emergent narrative of structural justice (SJ) that arose while examining the structural challenges of 6 shelters for abused women in urban and rural Virginia. It details the critical exploration of the intersection between structure and justice by integrating existing literature with qualitative participant narratives (N=36); and constructing an operational definition of structural justice (SJ) through an iterative process. Findings reveal SJ oriented patterns that shape five core tenets at the heart of this narrative. This SJ offers a framework out of which we can create a narrative of hope and a call-to-action. to rectify systemic violence. This framework contributes to the discourse concerning the elimination of VAW as it focuses on creating justice, equity and structural reconciliation.