Title page for ETD etd-09292010-152425

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Mlombo, Fikile Ethel
Email fmlombo@gmail.com
URN etd-09292010-152425
Document Title Experiences and coping mechanisms of black middle class women who remain in abusive marital relationship
Degree Master of Arts
Department Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Mrs R P E Gcabo Supervisor
  • domestic violence
  • physical abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • marital abuse
  • coping mechanisms
  • marital relationship
Date 2010-09-03
Availability unrestricted

This study aims to explore the experiences and coping mechanisms of black middle class women who remain in abusive marital relationships. The study also aimed to explore the reasons black women attach towards remaining in marital abusive relationships. Even though our current democratic Government has put efforts towards fighting against domestic abuse, South Africa is still characterised by high rates of domestic abuse. In South Africa a woman has about one in three chances of being violated in her life time, which puts it amongst the highest statistics of violence in the world, with one in six women standing a chance of being abused by her intimate partner in her lifetime (People Opposing Women Abuse, 2005). Domestic abuse does not just involve minor forms of physical assault, but, frequently, serious injury and even death. According to statistics from the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation at Wits University, one woman is murdered by her partner every six days in the Gauteng province in South Africa.

Qualitative approach, as well as literature review and in-depth interviews have been used in order to study the experiences of abused women in the Mpumalanga province at KwaMhlanga. The theoretical approach used was (i) Social Learning Theories which focused on the mechanisms whereby family members influences each other through modelling, reinforcement and coercion to behave violently, (ii) The feminist theory in which the origins of abuse included stereotyping and patriarchal values, (iii) the General Systems Theory which demonstrates that abuse cannot be explained by focusing on an individual level, but rather that systems interact and as they interact, they influence the reaction of others. General Systemís theory was used as the backdrop of the study because it provided a broader understanding of how abuse occurs within a family system and hence allowed the researcher to explore the experiences and coping mechanisms of women who remain in abusive marital relationships.

Snowball sampling was used to recruit participants. The criteria included that the participants were currently in abusive marital relationships and had at least a tertiary qualification and were employed in middle management job position. Nine participants were interviewed using individual in depth interviews. The interviews were audio recorded and field notes were taken. Data was analysed qualitatively. Five broad categories formed a framework for the analysis. (i) The Experiences of abused women, (ii) the Impact of remaining in an abusive relationship, (iii) the Meaning attached to staying, (iv) the Coping mechanisms used by abused women, (v) and Social support. The themes were coded in form of numbers, counting the number of times the theme occurs in an interview, data was collected until a level of saturation was reached. The themes were then compared and integrated with the literature. The study concludes that abuse occurs in all social groups and that a complexity of factors contribute towards black middle class women resorting to remaining in marital abusive relationships, for example, culture and societal beliefs and structures, personality factors, and lack of support.

© 2010, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Mlombo, FE 2010, Experiences and coping mechanisms of black middle class women who remain in abusive marital relationship, MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-09292010-152425/ >


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