"You're On The Floor, I'm The Roof And I Will Cover You": Social Representations Of Intimate Partner Violence In Two Cape Town Communities

Taryn Van Niekerk, Floretta Boonzaier
2015 Papers on Social Representations   unpublished
The act of intimate partner violence (IPV) is a social event, shaped by a complex web of social conditions and intersections. Consequently, a theory that is sensitive to the socio-historical context in which IPV occurs is necessary, as well as recognition that a man who perpetrates violence against a woman partner, does so in relationship to other men and women, to a family, community and society. In this paper, we employ the theory of social representations to gain new insight into this
more » ... ht into this multifaceted phenomenon, and to unearth representations of partner violence against women amongst male perpetrators and their social networks in Cape Town, South Africa. Individual interviews were conducted with eleven men, recruited from a men's programme at an NGO, and focus group discussions were conducted with the men's social networks. The findings shed light on the polarity of human thought in defining gender-appropriate performances for men and women, whilst excluding the 'other' who fails to conform to such 'gendered laws'. Gender role norms were represented as static categories confining men to violent performances of