An exploratory study into husband abuse in the greater Durban area.
The qualitative study into husband abuse that was undertaken was descriptive and exploratory in design. The eleven research participants, who were obtained through purposive sampling techniques, were men in heterosexual marriages, all living within the greater Durban area. The purpose of the study was to obtain insights into the experiences of abused husbands. More specifically the study aimed to develop insights into the types of abuse experienced, the effects of the abuse on the victims, how the victims have coped with the abuse, why they have remained in the abusive marriages, the services accessed by victims and their evaluation thereof and finally what services they considered essential for abused husbands. The sample size has limited the generalisability of the findings of the study to the larger population. The research study was however, successful in fulfilling its objectives and providing insights into a relatively unexplored area of study in South Africa. The results of the study have shown that the participants experienced all forms of abuse. The effects of the abuse included a decreased work performance, a diminished self-esteem, and several negative effects on the marital relationship. The abused men in the study have coped largely through the support and encouragement of family and friends and their religious beliefs. The participants' major reasons for wanting to remain in the marriage included anti-divorce beliefs, hope that the relationship would improve over time and concerns regarding the well being of their children. Participants accessed various sources of help in an attempt to qeal with the abuse. These included the criminal justice system, family and friends, religious and/or cultural leaders and social welfare agencies. Family members were rated as having been the most helpful source of help accessed, while the participants regarded the criminal justice system as having been the most ineffective, unhelpful and biased source accessed. One of the strongest themes that emerged from the study was all social services and laws were geared towards assisting women, while the men felt marginalised and discriminated. The study participants recommended that existing services available to abused women is extended to abused husbands as well, in order to holistically address the issue of domestic violence plaguing our society. A further recommendation from the study was that the Domestic Violence Act of 1998, which theoretically offers protection to all victims of domestic violence, needed to be practically available to abused men.