Theses Doctoral

The Role Of Multiple Marginalized Identities In Typologies Of Ipv And Access To Ipv Services Among Black Women Who Have Sex With Women And Men: Race, Drug Use, And Criminal-legal Involvement

Richer, Ariel Marie Shirley

The extremely high rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) experienced by Black women in community supervision programs (CSPs) who use drugs represents a major public health concern given the vast overrepresentation of Black women in the criminal legal system compared to non-Hispanic white women due to racialized drug laws and policies. National IPV surveillance data suggest that the rates of IPV in this population may be even higher among Black women who have sex with women and men (WSWM) in CSPs who use drugs. However, there remains a dearth of research that centers the experience of Black WSWM. Fear of experiencing police violence and experiences of racial and sexual discrimination pose additional challenges for Black WSMW in CSPs who use drugs to access both IPV and a broader range of services.

No studies, to date, have examined typologies of IPV and its association to accessing IPV-related services among Black women with multiple intersecting minoritized identities including substance use, sexual behavior, and criminal-legal involvement. To address these gaps, this dissertation: 1) Identified typologies of IPV; 2) Examined how membership to latent classes is associated with use of core IPV services; and 3) Explored underlying mechanisms that may link IPV class, sexual behavior, and access to and utilization of IPV-related services.

This dissertation study uses a sequential explanatory mixed methods approach with 1) secondary baseline survey data from Project EWORTH, a NIDA-funded HIV intervention study of 352 Black, drug-involved women mandated to CSPs and 2) primary qualitative follow-up data with participants from the same study to inform findings from the secondary data analysis. This dissertation found positive significant associations between having had both male and female sexual partners and more types and greater severity of IPV. Additionally, there was a significant, positive association between more types and greater severity of IPV and lifetime use of an order of protection. WSWM had a significantly higher odds of lifetime use of a DV shelter. Of interest, WSWM moderated the effect of people experiencing more severe violence accessing DV shelters.

Qualitative interviews revealed unique forms of IPV such as feeling coerced to take a criminal charge for their partner and spiritual abuse, both of which are not captured with standard IPV measures or discussed broadly in IPV literature. Additionally, CSP staff served as an important link to services among these women. Overall, these results suggest that more inclusive IPV screening, referral to service, and actual services, as well as providing training for service providers that consider the effects of multiple, marginalized identities has on experience of IPV, and access to and use of services among Black women in the criminal legal system.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Social Work
Thesis Advisors
Gilbert, Louisa
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
November 1, 2023