Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Towson, S.,


Psychology, Social.




Recent recognition of the scope and consequences of intimate partner violence in North America has inspired research in the area. However, research and service have focussed on white dominant group women. Since Canada is increasingly multicultural, it is important to look at this social problem in non-dominant ethnocultural groups. The South Asian community, like other communities of colour, has been given little research and service attention. Thus the purpose of the present study was to examine the experience, interpretation, and reaction to violence of South Asian women living in Canada, using a qualitative approach to describe the central themes and patterns that emerge from their lived experience. Thirteen women of South Asian descent who have experienced violence in their intimate partner relationships were recruited from urban centres across Southern Ontario, Canada. Respondents participated in semi-structured interviews. Qualitative analysis of these interviews revealed seven major themes: gender inequality, marriage as a family affair, make the relationship work, maintain social face, reactions to violent relationship, services, and changes in women's lives. These themes and associated subthemes reveal that these participants share experiences that are common among women who experience partner violence regardless of cultural membership (e.g., issues of power, isolation, emotional consequences of violence, lack of effective services). However, some of these issues are exacerbated when combined with factors associated with immigration (e.g., language difficulties, lack of culturally appropriate assistance programs). Respondents also revealed aspects of their experiences that may be unique to the South Asian culture, or that are at least amplified by cultural factors related to patriarchal beliefs (e.g., role of family honour, rigid gender norms, woman's value through marriage, role of extended family in abuse, societal policing of women's sexuality, stigma of ending a marriage). Participants offered suggestions that provide important information with which to directly inform prevention programs, service provision, and the clinical practice of health and mental health practitioners who work with immigrant and culturally diverse populations. Therefore, this research not only provides information regarding intimate partner violence, but also supports and extends our knowledge of ethnicity, gender, and appropriate service provision within this cultural group.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2003 .H86. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 64-10, Section: B, page: 5275. Adviser: S. Towson. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2003.