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Male perpetrators' construction of masculine identity: Attitudes and beliefs on intimate-partner violence

De Kwaadsteniet, Nicole (2017-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY: Intimate-partner violence (IPV) severely affects the emotional and physical wellbeing of women who are abused by their partners (Coker et al., 2002). Despite intimate-partner violence being such a serious problem, limited research has been conducted on male perpetrators’ attitudes, beliefs and experiences of intimate-partner violence. The purpose of this study was to examine male perpetrators’ constructions of their masculine identity, and to determine how this influences their attitudes and beliefs on intimate-partner violence. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 men who had been apprehended for a domestic violence-related offence and referred, by the court or the South African Police Service, to Khulisa Social Solutions to attend a diversion programme in Mitchell’s Plain and Gugulethu. Participants were referred to the Khulisa Social Solutions offices in Mitchell’s Plain and Gugulethu. A qualitative research design was used to explore these male perpetrators’ understandings of their masculinity and their views on intimate-partner violence in order to gain more insight into men’s violent behaviour towards their partners. The data was analysed using grounded theory. The results indicate a relationship between intimate-partner violence and various risk factors, such as witnessing violence as a child, substance abuse and peer pressure. The themes that emerged from the data revealed that men who witnessed violence as children were more at risk of committing violent acts later in life. Participants were also more inclined to blame their abuse on their partners’ substance use and considered it their right to reprimand them if they acted ‘out of line’ with their (men’s) expectations. The findings of the study therefore reveal that men’s understanding of their masculine identity can be shaped by various social and environmental factors that can influence their ideas and beliefs on intimate-partner violence.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Intieme maat-geweld het ’n negatiewe impak op die emosionele en fisiese gesondheid van vrouens wat deur hul maats mishandel word (Coker et al., 2002). Ten spyte van die feit dat intieme maat-geweld ’n ernstige maatskaplike probleem is, word daar baie min navorsing gedoen oor manlike oortreders se oortuigings en houdings oor intieme maat-geweld. Die doel van hierdie studie was om ondersoek in te stel na hoe manlike oortreders van intieme maat-geweld hul manlike identiteit vorm en hoe hul oortuigings oor manlikheid hul gedrag teenoor hul maat beïnvloed. Individuele semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude is met 12 mans wat in hegtenis geneem is vir ’n intieme maat-geweld oortreding en deur die Suid-Afrikaanse Polisiediens óf deur die hof na Khulisa Social Solutions verwys is om aan ’n afleidingsprogram deel te neem, gevoer. Deelnemers is na die Khulisa Social Solutions kantore op Mitchells Plein en Gugulethu verwys. ’n Kwalitatiewe navorsingsontwerp is tydens die studie gebruik om meer insig te bekom oor hoe manlike oortreders se oortuigings oor hul manlikheid en hul sienings oor intieme maat-geweld hul gewelddadige gedrag teenoor hul maats beïnvloed. Gegronde teorie is gebruik om die data te ontleed. Die resultate van die studie het daarop gedui dat daar ’n moontlike verhouding is tussen intieme maat-geweld en verskillende risikofaktore, soos om geweld op ’n jong ouderdom te aanskou, dwelmmisbruik en groepsdruk. Een van die temas wat na vore gekom het, het getoon dat mans wat geweld van ’n jong ouderdom aanskou het, meer geneig was om later in hul lewens gewelddadig te wees. Mans was ook meer gewillig om hul gewelddadige gedrag op hul maats se dwelmmisbruik te blameer en het gevoel dit is hul reg om met hul vrouens te raas as hulle ‘die lyn’ oortree het of nie volgens hulle verwagtinge opgetree het nie. Die studie se bevindings toon dus dat mans se begrip van hul manlike identiteit gevorm word deur sosiale en omgewingsfaktore wat hul oortuigings en houdings oor intieme maat-geweld affekteer.

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