Original Research

Psychosocial effects of gender-based violence among women in Vhembe district: A qualitative study

Rodney Rikhotso, Thinavhuyo R. Netangaheni, Nongiwe L. Mhlanga
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 29 | a2012 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v29i0.2012 | © 2023 Rodney Rikhotso, Thinavhuyo R. Netangaheni, Nongiwe L. Mhlanga | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 October 2022 | Published: 22 August 2023

About the author(s)

Rodney Rikhotso, Department of Social Work, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Thinavhuyo R. Netangaheni, Department of Health Studies, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Nongiwe L. Mhlanga, Department of Health Studies, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Background: The phenomenon of gender-based violence is a pertinent social problem in South Africa. The fear of reporting gender-based violence contributes to its continuation, marginalisation and silencing of victims.

Objectives: The study sought to explore the psychosocial effects of gender-based violence among women in Vhembe district.

Methods: An exploratory phenomenological research design was used and sampling was performed purposively from a population of women who experienced gender-based violence in a low-resource, rural setting of Vhembe district. Semi-structured telephonic interviews were used as the main method of data collection after permissions and informed consent were sought for conducting the study. Thematic content analysis was applied to convert the participants’ statements into a meaningful framework to derive the findings.

Results: A total of 15 participants aged from 19 to 35 years participated in the study. Their psychosocial experiences of gender-based violence were depression, worthlessness, social isolation and anger directed towards children.

Conclusion: This research confirms that gender-based violence remains one of the most challenging problems associated with mental health problems in Vhembe district. It affirms the need to focus on awareness in rural areas afflicted by patriarchal attitudes, norms and stereotypes. Gender-based violence should to be viewed as human rights violation for victims’ protection.

Contribution: The study contributes to the body of knowledge on the experiences of gender-based violence among marginalised women from rural areas.


Keywords

gender-based violence; psychosocial effects; Vhembe district; women; effects; psychosocial.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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