ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 27, Issue 7, pp 647-658

Burden of Womanhood: Tamil Women’s Perceptions of Coping with Intimate Partner Violence

  • Pushpa KanagaratnamAffiliated withCentre for Addiction and Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto Email author 
  • , Robin MasonAffiliated withDalla Lana School of Public Health, Women’s College Research Institute and Women’s Mental Health Program, University of Toronto
  • , Ilene HymanAffiliated withDalla Lana School of Public Health, Women’s College Research Institute and Women’s Mental Health Program, University of Toronto
  • , Lisa ManuelAffiliated withChanging Lives and Family Violence Programs, Family Service Toronto
  • , Helene BermanAffiliated withFaculty of Health Sciences, Western University
  • , Brenda TonerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Institute of Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

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Abstract

Helping women victimized by intimate partner violence (IPV) is a challenge, particularly when the women belong to diverse ethnic groups. The objective of our study was to collect information on perceptions of coping with IPV from the perspective of a specific immigrant group of women. Sixty-three women from the Tamil community in Toronto representing different generations and experiences of IPV were interviewed in focus group settings about their views of coping with IPV. Study findings suggested that their views were deeply embedded in their sociocultural context and influenced by the gender-role expectations from the community. The women showed a marked preference for “passive” modes of coping rather than “active.” Study findings have implications for the development of alternative approaches to helping ethnically diverse women deal with IPV.

Keywords

Intimate partner violence Tamil women Coping Help-seeking Service delivery