Urban and Rural Women’s Experiences of Intimate Partner Violence
The prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) continues to rise at a disquieting rate, affecting mostly women and girls globally. Intimate partner violence has gained popularity and is an important area for social work research, policy, education and practice. South Africa is one of the countries with the highest rates of intimate partner violence globally, despite the legal entities and programmes set to deal with the problem. The article sought to explore and describe the lived experiences of urban and rural women of IPV. The study was conducted in the Ngaka Modiri Molema District, North West, South Africa. Qualitative research was used, employing in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with semi-structured questions to collect data from 30 participants. A thematic content analysis was used to analyse the data. The findings revealed that culture exerts a significant influence in reinforcing unequal power relations and controlling behaviour between women participants and their male partners, all culminating in IPV. Many women suffer in silence as they strive to protect their families. The findings will help social workers to develop interventions and programmes that challenge the structures, attitude and behavioural practices that condone inequality and IPV.