This paper argues that sleep disruption is both a strategy and an effect of violence and abuse which profoundly affects the lives of women and children. This paper traces the interconnections between the patterns of sleeping (not sleeping) for women and children living with and recovering from the effects of violence and abuse. It highlights the threat to the emotional and physical well-being of children and women and provides a non-pathologizing route into an exploration of one of the symptoms of trauma. It is based on a pilot study which interviewed 17 women, 14 of whom were mothers to 28 children. Mothers reported that many of their children experienced nightmares, bed-wetting, night panics and disrupted sleep patterns. Recovery of the ability to sleep was often slow and uneven with interactive effects between women and children slowing progress.
- domestic violence
- mother–child relationship