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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Journal of Interpersonal Violence
Title Rural Malawian Women’s Resistance to Systematic Oppression, Violence, and Abuse by Their Husbands
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0886260516682518?journalCode=jiva
In Malawi, 41% of women aged 15 to 49 report ever experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV). Although there is evidence of the pervasiveness of IPV in Malawian society, the context in which it occurs and how women respond is not well described. The purpose of this study was to describe experiences of IPV of rural Malawian women. In-depth interviews were conducted with 55 rural Malawian women aged 21 to 75 years (M = 39) as part of a larger, mixed-methods study. This qualitative thematic analysis highlights husbands’ IPV against wives and women’s actions to protect themselves and their children, and to thrive despite the violence. Our use of a postcolonial feminist perspective led us to acknowledge Malawian women’s acts of resistance in the midst of the harsh realities of IPV and gender inequality. We contend women’s resilience and resistance against oppression within intimate relationships are critical tools in the process of reducing IPV. Structural interventions that (a) address the multiple distal and proximal factors affecting IPV, (b) are tailored to and owned by local populations, and (c) involve both men and women as architects and active participants, we believe, hold the greatest promise for reducing IPV in Malawi.

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