Formative research for enhancing interventions to prevent violence against women: men's perceptions in Diepsloot, South Africa

Background Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a global epidemic. Around the world, the range for lifetime prevalence among women of physical and sexual violence is 15%-71%. Lifetime prevalence of domestic violence has been reported as 48% in Africa. Prevalence of IPV against women is high in South Africa with an approximate 45% of men reporting perpetration of violence, 27.6 per cent of men having forced a woman to have sex against her will and 24.3% of men having perpetrated IPV more than once. This research was conducted to probe men’s perception of intimate partner violence and what factors may exacerbate it. Methods Twenty-one participants were purposively sampled and participated in In-depth interviews (IDIs). The IDIs were used to better understand the perceptions of men about masculinity, power dynamics, unequal gender norms and violence in intimate relationships. The IDIs were also used to explore perceptions of men living in Diepsloot of IPV and how peri-urban contexts as well as impoverished or informal settlements contribute towards men's use of violence against women. In addition, I aimed to probe the relationship between social constructs such as hegemonic masculinities, power dynamics, gender norms and intimate partner violence perpetration. This study was approached using an interpretive research technique through qualitative methods. A thematic inductive and deductive coding framework of themes was applied to the entire database. Results Gang violence, communal upheavals and crime were prominent perceptions during the discussions. Findings demonstrate that the men in Diepsloot consider their involvement in neighbourhood violence as prominent reasons for IPV perpetration. Socioeconomic factors such as unemployment, poor living conditions characteristic of Diepsloot, alcohol use contribute to high rates of communal forms of violence and these also relate to the perpetration of intimate partner violence. Conclusion Findings of this study depict reasons for perpetrating IPV as multi-sectoral, cutting across several spheres of men’s influence. It is therefore expedient to employ a combination of interventions to address IPV perpetration.
A research report submitted to the School of Public Health University of Witwatersrand In partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree Master of Public Health. May 31, 2018.