Characteristics of abused women and factors that enhanced abuse

S. Monakali, M. Mokgatle-Nthabu, O. O. Oguntibeju

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to assess the characteristics of abused women who visited Masonwabisane Women Support Centre (MWSC) in Butterworth, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Data was collected at MWSC, an NGO operating under Mnquma local municipality. A descriptive quantitative approach was used where records of abused women (245) were reviewed retrospectively with effect from the 1st of July to 31st December 2007. The records were divided according to the areas served by the organization and the sub-sample randomly selected from each area. The analysis was based on the information that was generated from the records at the centre. The study showed that the majority of the women (94%) were below the age of 40 years of which 49% were single and almost all were living in the rural or informal settlement. Only ten (4%) of the participants had no formal education while close to 82% had at least a secondary school education and the rest 14.3% had tertiary education. About 24% of the participants were unemployed and 26.9% were students. The rest of the respondents were either in full-time (15.1%) or in part-time (33.9%) employment. At the time of presentation at the centre, two third (75%) of the participants were traumatized or injured 24%, 13% confused while 8.6% were reserved and 2.9% not well groomed. Over half (55.5%) of the cases were emotional abused, followed by physical abuse at 31% while sexual abuse were 7.3. % and economical abuse were 6.1%. Over a quarter (33.5%) of them used tobacco, 10.2% used alcohol and 3.3% used illicit drug while over half (53.1%) of them did not use any form of substance. Almost half (44%) of the abused women were angry, 26% were stubborn and 15% were submissive while 14% were aggressive. One tenth (12%) of women were abused during their pregnancy and 25% during their menstrual period. Because of the abuse, 24% were physically disabled. Two thirds (66%) of the women with children between 1 and 4 were abused. Majority (80%) of women were abused by their husband or partners. Results showed that employment and obstetric status were significantly associated (χ 2= 96.24, P<0.001). Type of abuse was not dependent on any other variables in the study. Frequency of reporting was associated with type of substance used (χ 2= 18.94, P = 0.04) and relationship with perpetrator (χ 2= 94.78, P<0.001). Occupation of the perpetrator was related to obstetric status (χ 2= 193.58, P<0.001), disability (χ 2= 34.51, P<0.001) and number of children the women had (χ 2= 116.23, P<0.001). The most common form of abuse reported among participants were emotional abuse (emotional abuse showed highest incidence) and physical abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4749-4761
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Research and Essays
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Characteristics of abused women
  • Domestic violence
  • Patterns of reporting


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