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An exploration of university students’ views on intimate femicide in South Africa.

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Most of the research regarding views on intimate femicide has been conducted abroad, while views concerning the phenomena have not been researched extensively in South Africa. The aim of this qualitative study was therefore to explore university students’ views of intimate femicide in the South Africa context It explored, firstly, the student’s views on the reasons for the occurrence of intimate femicide, secondly, their views on howIPVincidences are portrayed in the media and, thirdly, their views on the appropriateness of existing interventions at addressing the scourge. The study analysed transcriptions of semi-structured interviews conducted with 11 students from a university in South Africa. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data through the lens of ecological theory. The participants identified an array of intersecting factors at different levels of influence that they believe are driving femicide in South Africa. For example, participants felt that intrapersonal emotions like ‘jealousy’ and emotional dependence played a part in femicide. ‘Participants identified parenting practices and the witnessing of childhood violence (a mesosystemic factor) as contributing towards the formation of hegemonic masculine identities, which they viewed as playing a role in femicide. The participants were critical of the tendency for the media (an exosystemic factor) to adopt a ‘sensationalist’ reporting style and disproportionately cover femicides committed by high-profiled individuals, which ultimately does little to educate the public on the issue. The participants viewed protection orders (a macrosystemic factor) as a mere, ‘piece of paper’, leaving women vulnerable to femicide. In sum, the participants proposed (in keeping with the ecological framework) that intimate femicide is a social issue that requires interventions at the individual, interpersonal, community, cultural, political, and institutional levels. Overall, this study concluded that students are aware that various factors at various levels of influence are driving femicide and that these insights might have been partly mediated by their studies. It also found that students are an active audience of media representations of femicide. Lastly, students pointed to the need for multi-level interventions to address femicide. The findings provide insight into media representations of intimate femicide and how journalistic accounts can be adjusted to encourage advocacy. The study also multi-systemic interventions that could contribute to addressing this phenomenon.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.