Sociocultural Groundings of Battered Women’s Entrapment in Abusive Marital Relationship in Ghana

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Adjei, S Baffour
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T While social psychological theorizations have contributed to our understanding of why battered women continue to remain in abusive intimate relationships, its apparent exclusive focus on individual victims’ psychological orientation leaves little conceptual space for discovering the subtle ways by which social and cultural norms shape the stay/leave decisions of victims of spousal violence. Drawing upon discursive psychol ogy, this study explores the sociocultural groundings of stay/ leave decisions of battered women in Ghana. Semi-structured focus groups and personal interviews were conducted with 32 participants: 16 victims and 16 perpetrators from rural and urban Ghana. Discursive accounts of participants suggest that post-divorce social stigma, remarriage alternatives, and post divorce child care, as well as privacy framing of marital abuse function in concert to influence battered women’s entrapment in violent marital relationships. The article argues that, rather than individual psychological orientation, the decision to stay in or leave abusive marital relationships in Ghana is sociocul turally and structurally grounded. To understand the highly complex nature of spousal violence, one must always go beyond the person and his or her psychological orientations, and seek the origin of battered women’s entrapment also in the external conditions of life, and in the sociocultural and structural forms of human existence.
Adjei, S. B. (2017). Sociocultural groundings of battered women’s entrapment in abusive marital relationship in Ghana. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 26(8), 879-901.