Saying NO to Women Abuse!
Nevada Attorney General’s office, describes Domestic violence as a violent crime committed in the context of an intimate relationship. It involves the acts of violence, power and coercion intended to control the next person’s behavior. Domestic violence can also be referred to as intimate partner relationship, as it is most likely to occur between partners. Both men and women can be victims of domestic violence, but women are more likely to be the victims in South Africa. In many countries, cultural values and norms and many other factors can serve to condone and reinforce abusive practices against women (Kim & Motsei, 2002). Cultural values can prevent most women from breaking the silence and seeking help, and due to most of the challenges that our society are facing, such as poverty, unemployment and crime would be the main reasons why women in south Africa would not easily want to report any form of violence against them. There is a high rate of women in the poor communities who dependent on their husbands or partners for everything, leaving them with no choice but to stay in the abusive relationships. (Boonzaier, 2002) mentions in the contextual analysis that in the Arab society, there is a stigma attached to seeking assistance from outside when being abused and women are encouraged to maintain a secrecy surrounding the abuse. Thus getting someone who is or has been a victim of abuse to open up to you would not be an easy process. On the other hand, in South Africa, the increase rate of poverty, unemployment, crime and deprivation can influence how women understand the violence in their relationships.
It is therefore important when coming across a patient, who is being abused that we handle the situation with empathy as it might not be easy for the person.
On one of my clinical blocks, I had a 45 year old patient from Heideveld who was shot to the head, which then resulted in a traumatic brain injury. The patient came across very weird, as I was doing the subjective assessment, I asked her about her family and she told me that her kids are living with other people and that she is living with her boyfriend. I then went deeper into what the boyfriend does and she opened up more about her situation. She told me that her boyfriend likes fighting and her kids do not like him, she then told me that he is the reason why she is in hospital. I was a bit shocked, but what surprised me more was the fact that she did not see anything wrong with her situation. She continued telling me that he makes her happy, by buying her alcohol and taking care of her even if his a bad guy. This patient was willing to stay in an abusive relationship which almost cost her, her life and willing to lose her relationship with her children because of this guy. I did not know what to say and where to start in terms of educating her about domestic abuse/violence as it came across as it did not bother her. In this way domestic violence or abuse can also have an impact on the psychological state of a person, where they accept their circumstances and see no hope. I know of many women in my community who allow their partners to abuse, just because they are supplied with drugs and alcohol. Some victims also tend to focus more on the material things, rather than their well-being. What do you then do if a women being abused does not want to admit that it is wrong? In most cases most women are not ready to admit that they are being abused.
I think it is therefore important that the abuse topic is spoken more about in schools and hospitals, in order to ensure that people know of it and know that there is hope and help outside, they should not allow the society or culture determine how they should live.
Boonzaier.F. (2005). Women abuse in South Africa: A brief contextual analysis. Feminism & Psychological, 99, 103.
Kim, J., & Motsei.M. (2002). “Women enjoy punishment”: attitudes and experiences of gender-based violence among PHC nurses in rural South Africa. Social science & medicine, 54, 1243-1254.
Jewkes, R., Levin, J., & Penn-Kekana, L. (2002). Risk factors for domestic violence: findings from a South African cross-sectional study. Social science & medicine, 55, 1603-1617.