Storying Autobiographical Experiences with Gender-Based Violence: A Collaborative Autoethnography

Jess Moriarty, Mel Parks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In earlier work, the author identified collaborative autoethnography as a viable methodology for researching stories that drew on lived experiences with domestic abuse. Collaborative autoethnography offers a method of working with women outside of academia who have experienced gender-based violence (GBV) and including them as co-researchers whose writings can and should be valued as academic research. In this article, also a collaborative autoethnography, the authors explore methods for storying autobiographical experiences of GBV as a potential way of reclaiming stories whilst navigating the legal, ethical and moral dilemmas sometimes associated with autobiographical writing that might help to make these stories less difficult to write, and also read, avoiding stereotypes that have led to critique around battle-weary narratives of GBV and bad romance tropes. We argue that evocative texts that draw on lived experiences but layer the real with the imaginary, the remembered with the fictitious, can be more accessible to read and write. Cook and Fonow argue that feminist work is often creative and spontaneous, and this article will detail writing methods that were shared by the authors in creative workshops with survivors of GBV as part of a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). We will also share examples of our own stories that have been inspired by this approach and the challenges and motivations of working in this way.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129 - 143
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Autoethnography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1. Jessica Moriarty and Nicola Ashmore, “RISE up: Women Sharing Personal and Shared Stories to Resist and Heal,” in Autoethnographies from the Neoliberal Academy: Rewilding, Writing and Resistance in Higher Education, ed. Jessica Moriarty (Abingdon, England: Routledge, 2019); Luciana Whittle and Jessica Moriarty, “Woman Must Write Her Self: A Collaborative Auto-ethnography on Two Women’s Experiences with a Community Research Project,” in Storying the Self, ed. Jessica Moriarty and Ross Adamson (Bristol, England: Intellect). 2. Janice Haaken, Hard Knocks: Domestic Violence and the Psychology of Storytelling (London: Routledge, 2010). 3. Francesca Poletta, “The Sociology of Storytelling,” Annual Review of Sociology 37 (2011): 109–130. 4. M. Fonow and J. Cook, eds., Beyond Methodology: Feminist Scholarship as Lived Research (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991). 5. The project (AH/V013122/1) is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of UKRI’s Covid-19 funding. 6. Kathleen R. Gilbert, “Taking a Narrative Approach to Grief Research: Finding Meaning in Stories,” Death Studies 26, no. 3 (2002): 223–239. 7. D.E. Polkinghorne, “Narrative Configuration in Qualitative Analysis,” in Life History and Narrative, ed. J.A. Hatch and R. Wisniewski (London: Falmer Press, 1995). 8. John H. Harvey, Shelly K. Stein, and Paul K. Scott, “Fifty Years of Grief: Accounts and Reported Psychological Reactions of Normandy Invasion Veterans,” Journal of Narrative and Life History 5, no. 4 (1995): 315–332. 9. Carolyn Ellis and Arthur P. Bochner, “Telling and Performing Personal Stories: The Constraints of Choice in Abortion,” in Investigating Subjectivity: Research on Lived Experience, ed. Carolyn Ellis and M.G. Flaherty (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1992), 79–101. 10. Marilyn Metta, “Putting the Body on the Line,” in Handbook of Autoethnography, ed. Stacy Holman Jones, Tony E. Adams, and Carolyn Ellis (Abingdon, England: Routledge, 2013), 491.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by The Regents of the University of California.


  • autoethnography
  • gender based violence
  • storytelling
  • feminist
  • collaborative


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