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Good Women, Martyrs, and Survivors: A Theoretical Framework for South Asian Women's Responses to Partner Violence

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 15 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2009 Pages: 81-105
Parvani Pinnewala
Date Published
January 2009
25 pages
This study analyzed select psychological and social models in order to develop a new theoretical framework for South-Asian women subjected to intimate partner violence (IPV).
The author, a South-Asian researcher with clinical experience in Sri Lanka, proposes a model that reflects the needs of South-Asian women victimized by IPV. It contains a cognitive component and an external resources/support systems component. Both the cognitive component and the contextual aspects of support systems used in various stages of a woman’s abuse experience are apparently crucial for enabling them to cope with their abuse. Recovery from IPV in South Asia is achieved as a process. The process involves small steps through stages with slow progress that results in ending or reducing IPV. Since this model is based primarily on the experiences of Sri Lankan women who have experienced IPV, it is important for researches who work in South Asia to analyze whether this model reflects the experiences of women IPV victims in different countries in the region. Each country, community, and ethnic group within South Asia may shape, define, and handle IPV and its consequences and responses in a different manner. This study drew on three theoretical models in exploring the dynamics of South-Asian women’s help-seeking and coping behaviors for IPV. These three models rely on the stress-coping paradigm, the significance of the ecological model, and the Tran theoretical (TT) model. The latter views the process of change to any behavior as stages of change, techniques of change, decisions related to behavioral change, and confidence that required change can be made. Three case studies from the author’s clinical experience are provided. 22 references