Narrative Art and Incarcerated Abused Women

By Williams, Rachel; Taylor, Janette Y. | Art Education, March 2004 | Go to article overview

Narrative Art and Incarcerated Abused Women


Williams, Rachel, Taylor, Janette Y., Art Education


Approximately 2 to 4.4 million women each year are involved in a relationship that includes domestic violence (Plichta, 1996).

Almost half the women in the nation's jails and prisons were physically or sexually abused before their imprisonment (Bureau of Justice Statistics, April 1999). Despite the large numbers of women in jail and prison who have experienced domestic violence, studies of battered women in prison as a distinct and separate population are limited (Richie & Johnsen, 1996). The mental health needs of these women are high, yet few intervention programs have been offered and evaluated for this population.

The arts and narrative intervention program described in this article used visual art, storytelling, music, journaling, and support groups with incarcerated abused women to address the following questions: How can visual art and music empower incarcerated female survivors of domestic violence? Can art, music, sLorytelling, journaling, and support groups with incarcerated women alter their self images?

During an 8-week pilot program at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women (ICIW) the authors, an Assistant Professor of Nursing, and an Assistant Professor of Art Education, gathered qualitative data. The findings were shared with undergraduates and graduates in both the Nursing and Art Education programs. The implications of this research for art education preservice teachers and educators who work in settings outside the public school system can be drawn from the outcomes of this type of intervention. The ideas presented within this article could easily be transferred to any population, especially people in mental health settings, hospitals, shelters, community centers, and support groups. For preservice educators in particular, this research provides a look into the prison system, a place where art education can produce incredible results, but where committed teachers are hard to find. A model for narrative arts-based intervention is also offered. While the focus of this example addresses women, the model can be adapted and used with males as well as females. For example, the intervention topic could be something other than domestic violence, such as substance abuse, self-esteem, divorce, or even issues related to the body.

Participants, Prison Structure, and Group Facilitators

The general population of the ICIW consists of over 600 women who are incarcerated for various crimes and are serving sentences that range from one year to life. The housing and treatment of inmates is structured such that buildings contain units based on special needs and/or programs. Women from the General Population (GP), Therapeutic Community (TC), and After Care Community (ACC) volunteered to participate in this program. The TC unit is for women who have substance abuse problems. The ACC is a complementary program to TC where these women transition back into GP or out of the system. Volunteers for the study reviewed and signed an informed consent document that was approved by the University Institutional Review Board, and we obtained a Certificate of Confidentiality from the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The group facilitators-two nurse researchers, a social worker and an art educator-were all associated with the University of Iowa. Because of similar and overlapping interests of the inmates, we decided to engage in an interdisciplinary project with the women at ICIW. The project brought together our knowledge of women in prison with art, music, storytelling, and domestic violence education.

Blending Art, Music, and Empowerment

Our curriculum objectives were based on an empowerment intervention. Empowerment interventions facilitate the restoration of power, control, and dignity by offering knowledge and skills to better direct people's lives and develop healthier self-concepts (Button, 1992; Schechter & Gary, 1988). Interventions for an individual's reactions to major loss and steps toward positive recovery must include opportunities for supportive storytelling, private account making, and social interaction (Harvey, Orbuch & Weber, 1990; Pennebaker & Seagal, 1999; Taylor, 2000). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Narrative Art and Incarcerated Abused Women
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.