SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.33 issue2Perceptions of clients regarding family planning service delivery in a clinic of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan CouncilKnowledge related to nutrition and hypertension management practices of adults in Ga-Rankuwa day clinics author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  


On-line version ISSN 2223-6279
Print version ISSN 0379-8577

Curationis vol.33 n.2 Pretoria Jan. 2010




Experiences of physical violence by women living with intimate partners



FC MadzimbalaleI; LB KhozaII

IMA (Cur). Limpopo College of Nursing (Thohoyandou Campus)
II(PhD).School of Health Sciences, University of Venda





Intimate partner violence directed towards females by male partners is a common significant global public health problem. Most victims of physical aggression such as women and children are subjected to multiple acts of violence over extended periods of time, suffering from more than one type of abuse, for example physical which is more symbolic and evidenced by scars. The purpose of this study is to increase understanding of the symbols of physical violence as experienced by women who live with intimate partners in the Vhembe district of the Limpopo Province.
The research design of this study was qualitative, exploratory and descriptive in nature. The accessible population was those participants who used the trauma unit A in a particular hospital. Seven women comprised the sample of the study. In-depth individual interviews were conducted exploring the women's experiences in the context of physical violence.
From the data collected all seven participants experienced some form of physical violence which resulted in permanent deformity. They experienced some form of battering such as kicking, stabbing, burning, fracturing, strangling and choking. Recommendations were made that health care providers are encouraged to implement screening for physical violence, to provide appropriate interventions if assault is identified and to provide appropriate education regarding, employment opportunities, legal literacy, and rights to inheritance. Human rights education and information regarding domestic violence should be provided to them because this is their absolute right (UNICEF, 2000:14).

Key words: Intimate Partner Violence; domestic violence; physical violence; battering; abuse; symbolic violence



“Full text available only in PDF format”




ASTBURY, J 2006: Violence against women and girls: Mapping the Health consequences. International Congress Series. 1287:49-53.         [ Links ]

BURNS, N & GROVE, SK 2001: The practice of nursing research, conduct critique and utilisation. 4th edition. Philadelphia: Saunders.         [ Links ]

CHAN, RL & MARTIN, SL 2009: Physical and sexual violence and subsequent contraception use among reproductive aged women. Contraception. 80:276-281.         [ Links ]

CELBIS, O; GÖDODAN, MR; KAYA M & GÜNES, G 2006: Review of forensic assessments of female referrals to the branch of legal medicine, Malatya region, Turkey - 1996-2000. The Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine. 13(1):21-25.         [ Links ]

CRESWELL, JW 2003: Research design: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approach. London: Sage.         [ Links ]

DE VOS, AS 2001 : Research at Grassroots. A Primer for the caring professions. Pretoria: JL van Schaik.         [ Links ]

DIAS-OLAVARRIETA, C; PAZ, F; ABUABARA, K; MARTINEZ AYALA, HB KOLSTAD, K & PALERMO, T 2007: Abuse during pregnancy in Mexico City. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 97(1):57-64.         [ Links ]

DISSEL, A& NGUBENI, K 2003: Giving women their voices: Domestic violence and Restorative Justice in South Africa Presented at the XI th International Symposium on Victimiology in Stellenbosch. The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Johannesburg.         [ Links ]

ELLSBERG M 2006: Violence against women and the Millennium Development goals: Facilitating women's access to Support. International Journal of Gynaecology & Obstetrics. 94(3):325-332.         [ Links ]

FAWLER, HW & FAWLER, FR 1995: The concise Oxford Dictionary. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.         [ Links ]

FORD-GILBOE, M; WUEST, J; VARCOE, C; DAVIES, L; MERRITT-GRAY, M; CAMPBELL, J & WILK, P 2009: Modelling the effects of intimate partner violence and access to resources on women's health in the early years after leaving an abusive partner. Social Science & Medicine. 68:1021-1029.         [ Links ]

GAGE, AJ 2005: Women's experience of intimate partner violence in Haiti. Social Science & Medicine. 61(21:344.         [ Links ]

GOOSEN, M & KLUGMAN, B 1996: The South African Women's Health Book. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.         [ Links ]

HERBERT, TB & SILVER, RC 2000: Coping with abusive relationship. How and why women stay. Journal of Marriage and Family. 53(21:311-315.         [ Links ]

HYDÉN, M 2005: 'I must have been an idiot to let it go on': agency-and positioning in battered women's narratives of leaving. Feminism and Psychology. 15(2):169-188.         [ Links ]

JAFFE, PG; CROOKS, NC & POISSON, SE 2003: Common misconceptions and addressing domestic violence in child custody disputes. Juvenile and Family Court Journal. 54(20):57-67.         [ Links ]

KGOSIMORE, D 2004: Explaining violence in the workplace...part 1. Nursing Update. 28(10):38.         [ Links ]

LINCOLN, YS & GUBA, EG 1985: Understanding and Doing Naturalist Inquiry. London: Sage.         [ Links ]

McFARLANE, J; WIIST, W & WATSON, M 1998: Predicting physical abuse against pregnant Hispanic women. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 15(21:134-138.         [ Links ]

MORGAN, K & THAPAR-BJÖRKERT, S 2006: I'd rather you'd lay me on the floor and start kicking me': Understanding symbolic violence in everyday life. Women's Studies International Forum. 29(5):441-452.         [ Links ]

PARETI, T 2001 : Employer awareness. Victims of Family Violence. 87(70):86-90.         [ Links ]

SANCHEZ, SE; QIU, C; PERALES, MT; LAM, N; GARCIA, P & WILLIAMS, MA 2008: Intimate partner violence (IPV) and preeclampsia among Peruvian women. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Reproductive Biology. 137(1):50-55.         [ Links ]

STREUBERT, H J & CARPENTER, DR 1999: Qualitative research in nursing. Advancing the humanistic imperative. Philadelphia: Lippincott.         [ Links ]

TAILLIEU,TL& BROWNRIDGE, DA 2009: Violence against pregnant women: Prevalence, patterns, risk factors, theories, and directions for future research. Aggression and Violent Behavior, article in press (Assessed 02 December 2009)        [ Links ]

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA 1996: (Act No. 108 of 1996).         [ Links ]

THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT 1998: (Act No. 116of 1998).         [ Links ]

THE WORLD HEALTH REPORT 2002: World Report on Violence and Health. A vision for all. Geneva: The World Health Organization.         [ Links ]

TSANG, JA & STANFORD, MS 2007: Forgiveness for intimate partner violence: the influence of victim and offender variables. Personality and Individual Differences. 42(4):653-664.         [ Links ]

UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN'S FUND (UNICEF) 2000: Domestic violence against women and girls. Innocenti Digest No.6 June 2000.         [ Links ]

VAN DYK, A2003: HIV/AIDS care and counselling: a multidisciplinary approach. South Africa: Pearson Education.         [ Links ]

WATSON, DS 2002: Disruptive behaviour and patient safety. AORN Journal, 72 (2):229-230.         [ Links ]

WENZEL, SL; TUCKER, JS; ELLIOT, MN; MARSHALL, GN & WILLIAMSON, SL 2004: Physical violence against impoverished women: A longitudinal analysis of risk and protective factors. Women's Health Issues. 14(5):144-154.         [ Links ]

WOODS, SJ; HALL, RJ; CAMPBELL, JC & ANGOTT, DM 2008: Physical Health and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in Women Experiencing Intimate Partner Violence. Journal of Midwifery & Women Health. 53(6):538-546.         [ Links ]

WOMEN'S HEALTH VICTORIA REPORT 2005: Promoting access to quality women's health informational Accessed 05/06/2006.         [ Links ]

YOSHIHAMA, M & HORROCKS, J 2009: Risk of intimate partner violence: Role of childhood sexual abuse and sexual initiation in women in Japan. Children and Youth Service Review. 32(2010):28-37.         [ Links ]



Dr LB Khoza
School of Health Sciences
University of Venda
Thohoyandou, 0950
Tel: (015) 962-8114; Fax: 086273 0852

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License