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Exploring young people’s constructions of domestic violence as portrayed in the media.

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Domestic violence (DV) is a severe problem experienced mostly by women and girls locally and on other continents. Existing literature on DV has predominantly focused on quantitative analysis and the adult population. There is a paucity of research concerning young people’s views, understandings, and experiences of DV. Therefore, this study aimed to map and comprehensively analyze studies that examined how young people view, understand, and construct domestic violence to uncover existing evidence in the field and establish areas for future research. This study was exploratory and expanded knowledge of existing literature about young people’s narratives about DV. The theoretical framework navigating this study was the ecological systems theory to achieve an interdisciplinary perspective. The present study was a qualitative research study that utilized Arksey and O’Malley’s (2005) scoping review method. The search strategy for this scoping review entailed three electronic databases, PubMed, Google scholar, and dissertations from SABINET online. The search period was from 2011 to 2021. Eligible studies were screened independently by the researcher. Extracts of young people’s narratives from primary qualitative studies were employed. Data were extracted and then analyzed using descriptive statistics in table form and thematic content analysis to categorize research results into themes. The data charting included tables from articles that met the inclusion criteria. Charting involved synthesizing and interpreting data according to key issues in a table form. Six studies met the inclusion criteria. Three prominent themes were developed: (1) Constructions of violence, (2) Normalization of violence, and (3) Young people’s agency, coping, and resistance strategies. Broadly, the findings of the present study illustrated that a deficit of understanding DV in young people is related to numerous issues, namely: low age, inadequate knowledge, growing up in a low-socioeconomic environment, normalization of violence by family and society, socially constructed gender norms and inaccurate media depictions. As a result, young people reported being scared to disclose the abuse to family and society and perceive it as a private matter. The findings of this study suggested an essential narrative behind the difficulties of intervening for young women who are victims of DV. However, numerous constructive implications may be helpful for young people, their families, and the health professionals working with them.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.