Abused Women's Understandings of Intimate Partner Violence and the Link to Intimate Femicide


  • Bianca Dekel University of the Western Cape
  • Michelle Andipatin University of the Western Cape




abuse, domestic, South Africa, interviews, discourse analysis, feminism, psychology, femicide


In this article, we explore how women survivors of intimate partner violence understand the abuse they endured and the possible link to intimate femicide. This is a qualitative study based on a feminist poststructuralist perspective. Seven South African women, aged 23 to 50 years, with a history of different manifestations of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) participated in open-ended interviews. The data was analyzed by means of discourse analysis. In their explanations, the women constructed gendered identities, which reflected contradictory and ambiguous subjective experiences. The women's understandings were filtered through the particular social context in which their abusive experiences occurred. The findings highlighted that contemplating femicide was too threatening, and consequently participants drew on discourses of femininity, romantic love, and others to justify their remaining in their violence-ridden relationships. It emphasizes the need for additional engagement in women's understandings of intimate femicide, as women who live in abusive relationships have largely been consigned to the periphery.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs160196


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Author Biographies

Bianca Dekel, University of the Western Cape

Ms. Bianca DEKEL is a qualified research psychologist. She is currently completing her PhD through the University of the Western Cape and the Gender and Health Research Unit housed with the South African Medical Research Council in Cape Town. Her research interests include gender, women, femicide and filicide.

Michelle Andipatin, University of the Western Cape

Dr. Michelle ANDIPATIN currently serves as the Head of the Psychology Department at the University of the Western Cape.




How to Cite

Dekel, B., & Andipatin, M. (2016). Abused Women’s Understandings of Intimate Partner Violence and the Link to Intimate Femicide. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-17.1.2394



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