Shaping New Spaces: An Alternative Approach to Healing in Current Shelter Interventions for Vulnerable Women in Johannesburg

  • Rebecca WalkerEmail author
  • Glynis Clacherty
Part of the Peace Psychology Book Series book series (PPBS, volume 24)


While shelters in South Africa are claimed to represent an absolutely critical point of crisis intervention for women, they can also be highly problematic in terms of what they actually provide, their relationship with the women they house and their links to the wider context from which many women are running from or to. Focusing on a Pentecostal-run shelter for women and their children in Johannesburg this chapter questions how religion has been used to direct a specific form of healing based on a distinction made between traditional and Westernised religious practices. Drawing from action-based research carried out in an art group run by the authors at the shelter this chapter highlights an apparent disconnect between the broad aims of this shelter and the everyday experiences of the residents. In doing so the chapter argues that through the shelter’s perspective of healing as something that individuals must do in order to move forward, it fails to recognise healing as a complex and fluid experience that can be partial, non-verbal and part of a long-term process. We suggest therefore that there is an urgent need for a greater and more in-depth understanding of the role that shelters can play in vulnerable women’s lives.


Social Worker Domestic Violence Abuse Woman Homeless Woman Religious Healing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.African Centre for Migration & SocietyUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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