Intimate partner violence has profound effects on women's identities. However, detailed examination of how abuse affects identity is lacking. We interviewed 14 diverse women (Australia), applying social identity theory to analyze their experiences of identity and help-seeking in health settings. The destabilizing effect of violence on social identities was strongly supported. Women concealed abuse to preserve a public identity. However, when the violence threatened the most integrated identities, women unveiled an abuse identity, receiving mixed responses from health providers. A healing context where a woman can display an abuse identity safely is crucial to enable her to rebuild an integrated self-concept.
- intimate partner violence