To elucidate how women subjected to physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse experience the care provided at a general psychiatric clinic after the disclosure of abuse.
Violence against women is a major global public health issue, which has an impact on women's lives and mental health as well as generating frequent hospital admission.
Qualitative design with an inductive approach.
Interviews with nine women who were recipients of general psychiatric care and had disclosed experiences of abuse to a member of staff were conducted. Qualitative inductive content analysis was used.
The overall theme emerging from the narratives, 'dependency as a reality containing a duality of suffering and trust,' links the categories together. Each subcategory is presented in relation to the categories 'being belittled,' 'being misinterpreted' and 'being cared for.' Experiences of care as caring and noncaring were found in the narratives. Caring could include situations experienced as the women being acknowledged and listened to, situations where staff approached and supported the women in a sensitive way. Experiences of noncaring were when the abuse was disregarded, and when the women were not believed in, were left with burdens of guilt and were offended. A noncaring environment focused primarily on the diagnosis, and the experienced abuse was seen as secondary.
Abused women are subjected to psychiatric environments where staff are divided into groups of those who believed in and supported the abused women and those who regarded experiences of abuse as a secondary issue and focused on the mental disorder.
This study provides knowledge of how abused women experience the care provided at a general psychiatric clinic after the disclosure of abuse.