The main aim of the Swedish Women's Peace reform in 1998 was to enhance criminal legal protection for women exposed to violence in heterosexual relationships and to promote gender equality. However, these ambitions risk being contravened in a masculinist criminal legal system. One problem concerns how the victim is constructed in criminal legal cases. The author argues that moral balancing and discourses of responsibility and guilt in Swedish cases constrain the agency possible for women and suggest that a more comprehensive policy in Sweden must be developed to include violent men, their agency, and their responsibility for the violence.
Abuse of women in domestic relationships has become an epidemic. Research studies have documented that abuse does not end when a woman with children leaves the abuser but, in fact, the danger increases. A father's legal right to custody of and access to his children and the children's bond with their father prevent a woman from truly breaking free of her abuser. Theoretical literature has addressed how custody and access can serve as a means for an abuser to continue his abuse and expose his children to ongoing abuse and discord. Research on how custody and access issues are affecting abused women is limited. Key details about this phenomenon are not known. Hence, a research study using the qualitative methodology of phenomenology was conducted on abused women's experiences with custody and access and the ongoing exposure to abusive ex-partners. Six single mothers who had left abusive relationships and were at the time sharing custody of and/or access to their children with their abusive ex-partners participated in the study. Unstructured, non-directive interviews were conducted. Direction for analysis was taken from the specific steps outlined by Giorgi. Data analysis revealed that all of the women were living in great fear for their safety and that of their children. The ongoing danger and stress of living with the restrictions of the law took its toll on the women and ultimately affected their physical health and psychological well-being. The women described their experiences as having four components: (1) safety--living with ongoing danger; (2) stress--living with the restrictions of the law and the legal system; (3) coping--social support systems; and (4) to heal and move forward in life.
The aim of the study is to deepen the understanding of abused women's vulnerability in relation to how the abuse and encounters with health care professionals affect life. A further aim is to highlight abused women's vulnerability with a caring science perspective.
Experience of abuse has consequences for the mental health of women and girls. Abused women may experience health care as unsupportive, and as a result, often chose not to disclose their experiences of abuse.
The results of two qualitative empirical studies were analysed along with a phenomenological meaning analysis in accordance with the methodological principles of Reflective Lifeworld Research.
Living one's life with experiences of abuse implies vulnerability, which can prevent abused women from achieving good health. This vulnerability results from insecurity regarding identity, along with the sense that one could have been a different individual if it were not for the abuse and thereby have a more fair chance in life. Being cared for within general psychiatric care could further increase this vulnerability. The healthcare professional's ability to care for the women who have experienced abuse leads to either an encounter of trust or else further suffering for the women.
A lifeworld-oriented caring science perspective as a foundation for care can contribute to care for abused women which reaches the existential dimensions of their vulnerability and vulnerable life situation.
It is evident that healthcare professionals should deepen their understanding of how abused women live, within a general psychiatric context. This study enables a deeper understanding of abused women's vulnerability in relation to how the abuse and encounters with healthcare professionals affect life.
Hospital-based partner assault clinics are a relatively recent addition to the community response to partner violence. In this study, 66% of 111 women attending hospital clinics for partner assault were physically injured and 43% reported death threats. Few concurrently used other services (shelters or police) and most relied on female friends and relatives for help. Many participants who currently lived with the perpetrator were contemplating leaving but only a third had made plans to do so. Participants faced an unusually high risk of future assault, according to both victim interview using the ODARA actuarial risk assessment and their own perceptions. Findings imply an important role for partner assault clinics and the feasibility of the victim service sector's using the same actuarial risk assessments as the criminal justice system.
Despite the negative physical and mental health outcomes of sexual assault, a minority of sexually assaulted women seek immediate post-assault medical and legal services. This study identified the number and types of acute forensic medical procedures used by women presenting at a hospital-based urgent care centre between 1997 and 2001 within 72 hours following a reported sexual assault. The study also examined assault and non-assault factors associated with the use of procedures. It was hypothesized that assault characteristics resembling the stereotype of rape would be associated with the use of more procedures. The multiple regression indicated that injury severity, coercion severity, homelessness, and delay in presentation were significantly associated with the number of procedures received. Findings provide partial support for the hypothesis that post-assault procedures would be associated with the stereotype of rape, and highlight homeless women as a group particularly at risk for not receiving adequate medical treatment following a sexual assault.
In this qualitative study with women who have left abusive heterosexual relationships, the informants labeling themselves stupid is investigated. Several different meanings ascribed to stupidity were found, with feeling stupid for allowing oneself to be mistreated and for staying in the abusive relationship as main themes. Four frames for interpreting the findings are presented: abusive relationship dynamics, gendered shame, the gender-equality-oriented Nordic context, and leaving processes. It is proposed that feeling- and labeling oneself-stupid is an expression of gendered shame or, more explicitly, of battered shame.
Alcohol misuse has been linked to intimate partner violence (IPV). However, this association is not usually examined in Russia. Moreover, more investigation is required as to whether specific drinking contexts are also associated with IPV. The objectives of this study are: to investigate whether alcohol misuse is associated with IPV and to further examine whether specific drinking contexts among drinkers are associated with IPV.
A questionnaire was used to collect information on demographics, health status, alcohol use, and violence involving sexual partners among 440 participants who were recruited from an STI (sexually transmitted infection) clinic center in St. Petersburg, Russia for a cross-sectional study from 2008 to 2009. Multivariate logistic regression was used for analysis.
Overall, 47.0% participants were classified as misusing alcohol and 7.2% participants perpetrated IPV in the past three months. Participants with alcohol misuse were 3.28 times (OR: 3.28; 95% CI: 1.34-8.04) as likely as those without alcohol misuse to perpetrate IPV. Among participants who had consumed alcohol in the past three months, those who usually drank on the streets or in parks (OR: 5.62; 95% CI: 1.67-18.90) were more likely to perpetrate IPV.
Both alcohol misuse and certain drinking contexts (e.g., drinking on the streets or at parks) were associated with IPV. The association between drinking contexts and IPV needs further investigation, as do the underlying mechanisms for this association. IPV prevention initiatives might benefit from reducing alcohol misuse. Drinking contexts such as drinking on the streets or at parks as well as the factors related to the use of alcohol in these contexts may also need to be addressed.
Cites: N Engl J Med. 1999 Dec 16;341(25):1892-810601509
Our study objectives were to assess the validity and reliability of the Woman Abuse Screening Tool (WAST) in the general population within the family practice setting; to determine the comfort levels of family physicians administering the WAST, their perceptions of its ability to help them identify abused women, and their willingness to continue using it in practice; and to determine the self-reported comfort of patients being asked the WAST questions by their family physicians.
We included a stratified random sample of 20 physicians practicing in both urban and rural settings drawn from 400 family physicians in London, Ontario, Canada, and the surrounding area. These physicians administered the WAST to 10 to 15 eligible and consenting patients during the course of regular care. Following the physician-patient encounter, patients were asked to complete both a measure about their comfort in being asked each of the WAST questions and the Abuse Risk Inventory (ARI).
Scores on the WAST correlated well with those on the ARI. The reliability of the WAST among this sample was demonstrated by a coefficient alpha of 0.75. With the WAST-Short (the first 2 questions of the WAST), 26 of the 307 patients screened (8.5%) were identified as experiencing abuse. The physicians were comfortable administering the WAST to their women patients, and 91% of the patients reported being comfortable or very comfortable when asked the WAST questions by their family physician.
The WAST was found to be a reliable and valid measure of abuse in the family practice setting, with both patients and family physicians reporting comfort with it being part of the clinical encounter.
BACKGROUND: The aims of the present study were: 1) to estimate the prevalence of emotional, physical and sexual abuse and abuse in the health care system, and 2) to study the associations between prevalence of abuse and sociodemographic and sample variables. METHODS: This cross-sectional study used a validated postal questionnaire in four Swedish samples; patients at three gynecologic clinics with different character and in different regions (n = 2439) and women in one randomized population sample (n = 1168). RESULTS: Any lifetime emotional abuse was reported by 16.8-21.4% of the women; physical abuse by 32.1-37.5%; sexual abuse by 15.9-17.0%; and abuse in the health care system by 14.0-19.7%. For 7-8% abuse had included life threats and 9-20% of all women in the study currently suffered from their experiences of abuse. Most women had not disclosed their background of abuse to the gynecologist. There were differences in sociodemographic variables between the four samples. Generally, in the multivariate analyses we found associations between prevalence of abuse and age, educational level, civil status and occupation, but no consistent association between prevalence of abuse and sample variables. CONCLUSION: Lifetime prevalence rates of the four kinds of abuse were high in all samples as measured by the NorVold Abuse Questionnaire (NorAQ), and 1/10-1/5 women in the study suffered currently from abusive experiences. In multivariate analyses prevalence of abuse was consistently associated with sociodemographic but not to sample variables.
A behavioral analysis was conducted of various eating disorder behaviors and their relationship with the lifetime use of different substances in a community-based sample of young adult women, aged 18-25 years. Women with particular eating disorder behaviors were selected from the 517 women who completed the Women's Health Survey. Analyses compared the frequencies of lifetime use of a range of licit and illicit substances as well as the abuse of prescription medications between each of the eating disorder groups and the normal control group. Results showed that as eating disorder behaviors became more severe, or were clustered together, the number of substance classes used, increased. Severe bingeing was consistently associated with alcohol use. Dieting and purging, with or without bingeing, was associated with the use of stimulants/ amphetamines and the abuse of sleeping pills. The results of this study suggest that the co-occurrence between subclinical levels of eating disorders and the use and abuse of a wide range of substances should inform assessment and treatment planning for adult women.