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Stigma, shame and women's limited agency in help-seeking for intimate partner violence.
Glob Public Health. 2016; 11(1-2):224-35.GP

Abstract

In Tanzania, 44% of women experience intimate partner violence (IPV) in their lifetime, but the majority never seeks help, and many never tell anyone about their experience. Even among the minority of women who seek support, only 10% access formal services. Our research explored the social and structural barriers that render Tanzanian women unable to exercise agency in this critical domain of their lives. We collected qualitative data in three regions of Tanzania through 104 key informant interviews with duty bearers and participatory focus groups with 96 male and female community members. The findings revealed numerous sociocultural barriers to help-seeking, including gendered social norms that accept IPV and impose stigma and shame upon survivors. Because IPV is highly normalised, survivors are silenced by their fear of social consequences, a fear reinforced by the belief that it is women's reporting of IPV that brings shame, rather than the perpetration of violence itself. Barriers to help-seeking curtail women's agency. Even women who reject IPV as a 'normal' practice are blocked from action by powerful social norms. These constraints deny survivors the support, services and justice they deserve and also perpetuate low reporting and inaccurate estimates of IPV prevalence.

Authors+Show Affiliations

a International Center for Research on Women , Washington , DC , USA. b Gender Group, World Bank Group , Washington , DC , USA.a International Center for Research on Women , Washington , DC , USA. c Raising Voices , Kampala , Uganda.d Department of Sociology and Anthropology , University of Dar es Salaam , Dar es Salaam , Tanzania.d Department of Sociology and Anthropology , University of Dar es Salaam , Dar es Salaam , Tanzania.d Department of Sociology and Anthropology , University of Dar es Salaam , Dar es Salaam , Tanzania.e Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health , Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences , Dar es Salaam , Tanzania.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

26156577

Citation

McCleary-Sills, Jennifer, et al. "Stigma, Shame and Women's Limited Agency in Help-seeking for Intimate Partner Violence." Global Public Health, vol. 11, no. 1-2, 2016, pp. 224-35.
McCleary-Sills J, Namy S, Nyoni J, et al. Stigma, shame and women's limited agency in help-seeking for intimate partner violence. Glob Public Health. 2016;11(1-2):224-35.
McCleary-Sills, J., Namy, S., Nyoni, J., Rweyemamu, D., Salvatory, A., & Steven, E. (2016). Stigma, shame and women's limited agency in help-seeking for intimate partner violence. Global Public Health, 11(1-2), 224-35. https://doi.org/10.1080/17441692.2015.1047391
McCleary-Sills J, et al. Stigma, Shame and Women's Limited Agency in Help-seeking for Intimate Partner Violence. Glob Public Health. 2016;11(1-2):224-35. PubMed PMID: 26156577.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Stigma, shame and women's limited agency in help-seeking for intimate partner violence. AU - McCleary-Sills,Jennifer, AU - Namy,Sophie, AU - Nyoni,Joyce, AU - Rweyemamu,Datius, AU - Salvatory,Adrophina, AU - Steven,Ester, Y1 - 2015/07/08/ PY - 2015/7/10/entrez PY - 2015/7/15/pubmed PY - 2016/10/7/medline KW - help-seeking KW - intimate partner violence KW - social norms KW - stigma SP - 224 EP - 35 JF - Global public health JO - Glob Public Health VL - 11 IS - 1-2 N2 - In Tanzania, 44% of women experience intimate partner violence (IPV) in their lifetime, but the majority never seeks help, and many never tell anyone about their experience. Even among the minority of women who seek support, only 10% access formal services. Our research explored the social and structural barriers that render Tanzanian women unable to exercise agency in this critical domain of their lives. We collected qualitative data in three regions of Tanzania through 104 key informant interviews with duty bearers and participatory focus groups with 96 male and female community members. The findings revealed numerous sociocultural barriers to help-seeking, including gendered social norms that accept IPV and impose stigma and shame upon survivors. Because IPV is highly normalised, survivors are silenced by their fear of social consequences, a fear reinforced by the belief that it is women's reporting of IPV that brings shame, rather than the perpetration of violence itself. Barriers to help-seeking curtail women's agency. Even women who reject IPV as a 'normal' practice are blocked from action by powerful social norms. These constraints deny survivors the support, services and justice they deserve and also perpetuate low reporting and inaccurate estimates of IPV prevalence. SN - 1744-1706 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/26156577/Stigma_shame_and_women's_limited_agency_in_help_seeking_for_intimate_partner_violence_ L2 - http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17441692.2015.1047391 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -