Exploring domestic violence experiences from the perspective of abused women in Malaysia
2014-05-19T11:27:24Z (GMT) by
Very little is known about the actual living experiences of Malaysian women who are in a domestic violence relationship. This current study attempts to redress this shortfall by listening to the women s stories, understanding their home-life situations and ultimately offering ideas, strategies as well as information to prevent domestic violence in Malaysia. Underpinned by a feminist perspective, a qualitative approach was employed to explore the abused women s accounts in relation to domestic violence impacts, barriers to violence disclosure, as well as useful resources for support of women victims in dealing with domestic violence. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 women who identified themselves as victims and survivors of domestic violence perpetrated by their husbands/ex-husbands. Via the analysis of thematic, six major themes were identified to be the impact of domestic violence, as described by the participants. The impacts include physical injuries, mental health problems, social isolation, a growing faith as well as adverse effects on the children and on the women s self-worth. The study also found that many of these abused women were reluctant to disclose abuse because they wanted to conceal those violence experiences from others because of Malaysian perception on disclosing marital affairs, they were concerned about the children s well-being, they felt partly responsible in provoking the violence, and they admitted to lacking knowledge on the provisions of support available for domestic violence victims in the country. From other aspect, the women also struggled to avoid negative labels given for being disrespectful to their men. In addition, the findings revealed four main themes related to the underlying issues on the needs and support of domestic violence service provisions that women drew on in their accounts: theme 1, unpleasant experiences when accessing the services; theme 2, the problems with procedures in disclosing and in the help-seeking process; theme 3, the usefulness of services and theme 4, women s needs and support mechanisms. As a review, the results gained from this present study prove the existence of domestic violence in Malaysian families. Indeed, the interference of cultural values as well as religious beliefs upheld by the Malaysian community was greatly associated with its occurrence. In relation to Malaysia, cultural as well as religious beliefs play a significant role in moulding its people. The results presented seem to add interesting knowledge to the existing literature, where battered Muslim women in Malaysia perceive their violence experiences as a motivation to surrender themselves to God and seek spiritual assistance as one of the impacts due to domestic violence problems. Further, the women s misapprehension of Islamic concepts such as disobedience and nusyuz (to the male partner) has made disclosing violence experiences difficult. Over and above this, the researcher found that the mechanisms of domestic violence resource provisions are worthy of investigation. The findings from this research demonstrate helpful and unhelpful provision of services identified by abused women, in particular relating to institutions in the nation. Prior to ending, this research proposes a number of recommendations for change in regards to formal supportive network resources, education on violence against women at the societal level, as well as the implication of the findings for the development of domestic violence social policy and practise in Malaysia.