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Female student's understanding of intimate partner violence at UKZN residences.

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Intimate partner violence (IPV), under the gender-based violence umbrella, is a tragedy in university residences, with young women bearing scars the most. The underlying issue contributes to women falling behind in areas of economic development, autonomy, politics, social standing, and in their education. These shortfalls indicate the power inequalities between men and women that continue to exist in society. In this dissertation, I sought to showcase the understandings about IPV of female students living at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in one of the university campus residences. Using West and Zimmerman‟s (1987) framework of social constructionism, I sought to explore what meanings female students attach to IPV at the residences. Using a case study methodology, semi-structured interviews were conducted with eighteen female participants studying to be teachers at the university. Findings reveal that IPV is prevalent at the university residences and female students are the most victimised group. Factors contributing to IPV include alcohol, the need for materialism, blame, enduring pain for the sake of love, and socialisation. Violence directed towards female students in institutions of learning is often perpetrated by people they know such as their boyfriends. Some participants showed agency actions in resistance of IPV in their relationships and those of others; others were reserved for the conventional spaces they found themselves in. The study also highlights the importance of interventions aimed at changing attitudes and societal norms about IPV, proposed by female students themselves. There is also a need to understand the reproduction of masculinity at the expense of women and for society to attempt to understand the social and cultural norms shaping the justification of IPV.


Master of Education. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2017.


Theses - Education.