Violence against women in China examined in study

November 22, 2014

Dr. Myrna Dawson and several Canadian colleagues have recently published new findings in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence from a project that examines violence against women in one province of China. The purpose of the paper was to understand, from the perspectives of women who have experienced intimate partner violence, the intersections of gender and other social institutions in constructing this type of violence in Guangzhou, China. Specifically, the paper examined how gender was revealed in women’s discussions of their experiences of intimate partner violence. Through interviews, the study findings showed that the majority of women discussed intimate partner violence as common and ‘saving face’ was connected to their fear of being judged and socially stigmatized which had both emotional and material consequences. Eight situations in which social stigma existed, leading to women ‘losing face’, were identified. Gender role expectations and gendered institutions played a role in their family relationships as well as in the amount of support women could expect or would ask for. The study results are linked to mechanisms through which systems interlock and perpetuate intimate partner violence. The larger research project was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Strategic Initiative/RFA International Opportunities Program. The project was entitled, Collaborative Health Initiatives to Prevent and Intervene in Violence Against Women in China. Lead author for the article was Dr. Wilfreda E. Thurston, University of Calgary and co-authors were Project PI, Dora Tam and Siu-Ming Kwok, King’s University College, Western University; and Margaret Jackson, Simon Fraser University. This is one in a series of papers that have also been published in Asia-Pacific Journal of Social Work & Development and Hong Kong Journal of Social Work.