Gender-based violence within the couple constitues a serious problem in the world. It can assume many forms: physical, psychological, economic and sexual. The main focus of this study is to identify the specific lexical modes through which women victims of violence reconstruct the experience of their couple relationship and abuse. The research was conducted on a sample of 51 women recruited in three Antiviolence Centers in Tuscany, according to a narrative method. The participants were asked to write two reports: the first on their couple relationship and the second one on the most serious incident of abuse they suffered. The data analysis showed that the women’s narratives significantly vary according to their current status and the duration of their abuse experiences. The differences mainly concern the linguistic dimensions relating to perceptual and sensorial experiences, the psychological processes and the temporo-spatial coherence of reported experiences. The content analysis has also allowed the identification of the most relevant triggers risk factors and of the specific characteristics of the most serious episode of abuse.
Keywords: Gender-based violence, autobiographical narratives, text analysis, battered women.