Book Review: Journeys: Resilience and growth for survivors of intimate partner abuse

AuthorHeather Prince
Published date01 December 2022
Date01 December 2022
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews
Miller, S. L. (2018). Journeys: Resilience and growth for survivors of intimate par tner abuse. Oakland: University of
California Press. 304 pp. $29.95, ISBN 978-0-520-28610-8.
Reviewed by: Heather Prince, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
DOI: 10.1177/0734016819843981
Dr. Susan L. Miller is a professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware,
with work focusing on women and victims of crime. Journeys: Resilience and Growth for
Survivors of Intimate Partner Abuse identif‌ies and describes the challenges that survivors of intimate
partner abuse face through anecdotes from women involved in a statewide activist group, Women in
Nonviolent Domains (WIND). Dr. Miller brings to light issues that survivors of abusive relationships
face in such relationships: planning to leave, actually leaving, and the challenges that arise after they
have left. Overall, the book provides a comprehensive understanding of the issues that survivors of
intimate partner violence and abuse (IPV/A) face in all the stages of the relationship.
To begin, Dr. Miller def‌ines IPV/A as the main term she uses to describe the relationships.
Abusive relationships do not necessarily include physical violence. Some narratives included in
this book come from women who were not physically abused by their partners, though they were
abused nonetheless. Dr. Miller makes an important distinction in choosing to use the inclusive
term intimate partner violence and abuse,and throughout the book, she recognizes and brings
light to all types of abuse, including but not limited to physical violence. Her analysis is survivor
centered,focusing on the womens accounts and experiences and their def‌initions of survival and
resilience. Dr. Miller refers to victims as survivors throughout the book. She explains that many
victims of IPV/A do not associate themselves with a victimidentity. They prefer not to be seen
as victims, as this can have negative connotations such as helplessness, weakness, having given
upor having allowedthemselves to be victimized.
The aim of this book is to provide an understanding of the process of survival and resilience from
victims/survivors themselves: how they became free and stayed free of abusive relationships and the
factors that helped or hindered that process. Dr. Miller dispels, through survivors stories, the
common misconception that once an abused partner leaves, everything will just be f‌ine. Dr. Miller
describes the complex issues that abused partners face when leaving, such as child custody
battles, continuation of stalking and abusive behaviors, and use of f‌inances, family, or religion to
manipulate and continue abusive behaviors. She details womens experiences with their support net-
works or lack thereof and problems with the criminal justice system in handling IPV/A cases. The
book thoroughly illustrates that when one leaves an abusive relationship, it does not guarantee a
safe or stress-free time. Journeys describes vulnerabilities that prevented women from leaving
abusive relationships, including religion, being threatened by their partner with weapons, and eco-
nomic abuse. Through her work, Dr. Miller details womens strategies for survival and what
factors made them decide to leave for good. She continues to describe the journey in the postsepara-
tion stage through descriptions of survivorslingering fears and how their children and families
impacted their strength postbreakup. Many women became involved in activism, and this was a
Book Reviews
Criminal Justice Review
2022, Vol. 47(4) 523-534
© 2019 Georgia State University
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