How do the Life Histories of Women who have Experienced Domestic Violence Impact the ways they Decide on and Engage with Higher Education?



My doctoral inquiry focused on understanding the experiences of mature aged female higher education students who had experienced domestic violence. Guided by the concepts of Bourdieu’s (1977) capital, field, and habitus this feminist narrative inquiry analysed the life histories of nine women from across the Australian state of New South Wales in relation to their resources and engagement within higher education. The findings presented in this paper point to the women’s success through sheer determination and perseverance, the choosing to limit engagement outside of the classroom, and frustrations over a lack of understanding.


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Author Biography

Kelly Lewer, University of Wollongong

Dr Kelly Lewer

Lecturer, School of Nursing, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, University of Wollongong, Shoalhaven, New South Wales, Australia

Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI), Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia


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How to Cite

Lewer, K. (2023). How do the Life Histories of Women who have Experienced Domestic Violence Impact the ways they Decide on and Engage with Higher Education?. Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, 4(3), 48–67. Retrieved from