AN INTERSECTIONAL ANALYSIS OF RESPONSES TO INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE IN TWO MARGINALISED SOUTH AFRICAN COMMUNITIES

  • Taryn J. van Niekerk University of Cape Town
  • Floretta A. Boonzaier University of Cape Town
Keywords: community responses, intimate partner violence, response-based approach, South Africa, thematic narrative analysis, urban and rural geographies

Abstract

This paper aims to investigate the responses available to urban and rural community members in the Western Cape Province of South Africa after witnessing, experiencing, or hearing about intimate partner violence (IPV) against women. It explores the social and material spaces that make IPV against women possible in these communities, which have a complex history of multiple forms of violence, including institutional, symbolic, and interpersonal. Seven focus group discussions with community members are analysed, using thematic narrative analysis, to explore the social and collective features of IPV and how it emerges within community responses to this violence. Constructions of IPV as an “everyday” event surfaced in the data, and mutualising language was often employed to construct IPV as a reciprocal activity with no clear distinction between attacker and victim. Also, a reconciliatory “kiss-and-make-up” narrative emerged in the data, representing how community members responded to this violence. In addition, the temporary nature of the violent event was emphasised by participants, and the aftermath was described as an opportunity for the victim and perpetrator to “reunite”, thereby providing justification for non-intervention in future violent events. By asking questions about responses to IPV, this paper offers insight into, and recommendations about, key forms of community intervention and engagement for gendered violence.

Author Biographies

Taryn J. van Niekerk, University of Cape Town
postdoctoral fellow, Department of Psychology
Floretta A. Boonzaier, University of Cape Town
Professor, Psychology
Published
2019-02-14