Culture and Systems of Oppression in Abused Women's Lives


  • Dena Saadat Hassouneh Phillips ANP, MSN

    Corresponding author
    1. Dena Saadat Hassouneh Phillips is a PhD candidate at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland.
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Address for correspondence: Dena Saadat Hassouneh Phillips, ANP, MSN, 14560 SE Bramble Court, Milwaukie, OR 97267.


Women's experiences of abuse are shaped by the social and cultural contexts in which they live. Recognition of the complex ways in which culture and systems of oppression interact, creating qualitatively different abuse experiences, is important nursing knowledge. Of particular concern are the ways in which women are constrained in their efforts to combat abuse as they experience the harsh and alienating effects of racism, sexism, classism, and other forms of social injustice. An understanding of the ways in which race and ethnicity, class, language and citizenship, religion, and culture intersect and shape women's experiences of abuse is critical to the provision of culturally competent nursing care. This understanding is the springboard from which more effective assessment and intervention strategies with vulnerable abused women of diverse backgrounds can emerge.