Giving Voice to South African Women Facing Intimate Partner Violence After Age 50
Dr. Nicholas Metheny
University of Miami
About this study
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major global health concern, with more than one-third of reproductive age women worldwide reporting lifetime experience of physical or sexual IPV. IPV against older women is largely missing from both these evidence bases, meaning there is scant knowledge of its prevalence, risk factors, drivers, and points of intervention. What is known is that IPV affects millions of older women. Almost all existing research comes from high-income settings. South Africa, Africa’s largest economy and third most populous country, has one of the highest rates of IPV in the world. This project utilizes community partnerships and interviews with stakeholders in part of a larger research trajectory to guide multilevel interventions to address IPV in women beyond reproductive age in South Africa.
There is an urgent need to address IPV among older women in South Africa. This is a marginalized population that is neglected in research and social policy. The results of the larger mixed-methods study, of which the proposed project is a part, will inform the development and testing of a multilevel intervention to address the issue of IPV among older women in South Africa. This necessary work will also bolster existing, foundational partnerships in South Africa and add significantly to the field of IPV research.
I became a Registered Nurse in order to care for people when they need it most. This passion ran through my work at the bedside, and also fuels my desire to create knowledge that prevents suffering in the first place. I believe a person’s partner should be their safe space- a person whom they feel comfortable confiding in, leaning on, and moving through life with. For more than one-third of women and LGBT people, this is not the case. IPV is not only personally traumatic, it leads to negative health outcomes that can span generations. In order to stop this cycle of violence, we need to change the society we live. Gender norms, gender inequity, homophobia, and other structural forces allow violence to happen. I want to find ways to reduce and blunt these forces so that more people can live free from experiencing violence at the hands of the person they are supposed to be able to trust the most.
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