A qualitative research study on intimate partner violence in three inner-city communities in Kingston has revealed that domestic abuse in relationships was a result of men believing that they had to be dominant, be in control, and prove that they were men by battering their partners.
The research, which was undertaken by the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) in the communities of Maverley, Cassia Park, Ambrook Lane and Kencot, was carried out among young men and women 18 to 34 years old, and older men and women 35 years and over during last year.
Jennifer Jones, a sociologist at the VPA, in presenting the findings at a recent workshop held in Kingston, said that the men interviewed also attributed their behaviour to provocation by their partners who were verbally abusive to them in front of their friends.
Jones also disclosed that some of the men interviewed said that their partners were either jealous or unfaithful, and some wanted to be beaten as proof of love and would provoke them with verbal abuse to get this.
Many of the participants said men were physically abusive to their partners because they were under financial stress and were faced with unreasonable demands from dependent women. Feedback from these and other communities from many participants of both genders, old and young, said these men were frequently modelling their fathers' behaviour, which is passed on from generation to generation.
The sociologist, however, noted that the women who found themselves in these violent relationships would react by either fighting back or walking away because they are economically independent. In a few cases some wanted to leave but could not, because they were economically dependent on the men.
“Some will leave and go back to family; but this is not always possible because sometimes the relationship has been destroyed,” Jones revealed.
“Some accept it because to them it is the norm, it happened to their mothers, and some women are in a dysfunctional state in which they long to be beaten.”
Jones said that a few of these women also beat their men, or hurt them with abusive words.
Recommendations included a slew of strategies to reduce intimate partner violence. — such as counselling, mediation and anger management. There were also suggestions for couples' retreats, sessions and activities, and community-organised activities to uplift the community and bring some happiness to couples, youth and children.
Some, however, wanted human rights seminars and workshops, which they said would educate people about abuse; what it really is and what is its impact. A community-based women's rights forum, led by strong women of the community, was also suggested to stem intimate partner violence.
The research study was funded by the Citizen Security and Justice Programme.