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NCJ Number: 201584 Find in a Library
Title: "He's a Man, and I'm a Woman": Cultural Constructions of Masculinity and Femininity in South African Women's Narratives of Violence
Journal: Violence Against Women  Volume:9  Issue:8  Dated:August 2003  Pages:1003-1029
Author(s): Floretta Boonzaier; Cheryl De La Rey
Date Published: August 2003
Page Count: 27
Sponsoring Agency: Andrew W Mellon Foundation
New York, NY 10021
University of Cape Town
Cape Town, 7700, South Africa
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on narrative interviews with 15 South African women about their experiences of partner violence, this study examined how abused women have interpreted and reacted to their victimization experiences.
Abstract: The ways in which women adopted strategies for avoiding partner violence and its adverse consequences challenge traditional representations of women as passive and helpless victims in abusive relationships. The women in this study endured numerous hardships because of difficult economic circumstances as well as their husbands' abuse. These factors converged to burden women with the sometimes sole responsibility of maintaining the household and family in addition to dealing with their partners' violence. Many women's narratives turned around a recurring theme, i.e., a determination to overcome the abuse. All of the women described how their husbands' abusive behaviors were enacted as a form of control and domination. The abusers attempted to erode women's self-esteem or minimize their confidence. They described emotional changes in which any affection they held for their abusive partner changed to hate and disgust. The focus of their lives became the development of mental and behavioral strategies for avoiding their partner's abuse. Although the women faced a number of social structural constraints, they also exercised agency and made attempts to end the violence in their lives by using personal resources and outside assistance, such as social and legal resources, assistance from family and friends, and attempting to obtain support from religious institutions. 4 notes and 50 references
Main Term(s): Victim attitudes
Index Term(s): Domestic assault; Domestic violence causes; Psychological victimization effects; South Africa; Victims of violent crime
Note: This study was based on a master's research project conducted by one of the authors and completed in 2001.
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