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Domestic violence.

Wong, F. Y., Huang, Z. J., DiGangi, J. A., Thompson, E. E., & Smith, B. D. (2008). Gender differences in intimate partner violence on substance abuse, sexual risks, and depression among a sample of South Africans in Cape Town, South Africa. AIDS Education & Prevention, 20(1), 56-64.

According to the United Nations, domestic violence is defined as "violence that occurs within the private sphere, generally between individuals who are related through intimacy, blood, or law" (United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, 1996, p.7). Specifically, South Africa struggles with intimate partner violence (IPV), a subcategory of domestic violence, common among South African women as they are found to have the highest rates of intimate femicide. IPV in South Africa has also been found as a direct link to substance abuse, depression, and multiple sexual partners. Past research has focused primarily on female IPV victims, failing to analyze male IPV victim statistics. Conducted in Cape Town, South Africa, the purpose of the study was to explore a complex relationship correlating gender differences within IPV as they relate to depression, substance abuse, and dangerous sexual behaviors.

From February 2005 through April 2005, 395 respondents of two South African townships took part in a cross-sectional study. Respondents age 18 years and older answered audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (ACASI) questionnaires concerning mental health, substance abuse and use, exposure to violence, sexual behavior risk, and IPV and demographic information. Chi square analysis correlated IPV exposure with depression, drug use, problem drinking, and HIV-related sexual risk behavior index, which revealed gender-specific results among 200 males and 195 female participants.

Data indicates 99.4% of men and 99% of women revealed lifetime exposure to IPV with nearly half disclosing all 10 types of IPV, such as incidents of abuse during alcohol consumption, choking, gun/knife threats, or forced sexual situations. Results concluded men are much more likely to turn to drug use after experiencing recent IPV (p<.0001), while women experienced higher rates of depression (p<.005) and problem drinking (p<.0005). The recognition of gender influence on coping mechanisms for IPV generates an increased urgency to create public education and support programs that will meet male as well as female needs. Breakthrough findings from this research investigation emphasize the equivalent incidence of male-to-female IPV. The results also open the field to study the influence of gender bias as well as the need for further analysis of measures to improve care for IPV victims.


United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against women. (1996). Report to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Elizabeth Sauerbier, Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY

Peggy Jenkins, Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY
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Author:Sauerbier, Elizabeth; Jenkins, Peggy
Publication:Journal of the New York State Nurses Association
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2008
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