Perception of the experience of domestic violence by women with a physical disability

Mays, Jennifer (2003) Perception of the experience of domestic violence by women with a physical disability. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The disability movement drew attention to the struggle against the oppression of people of disability. The rise of disability activism contributed to increased awareness of the need for a social theory of disability, in order to account for the historical, social and economic basis of oppression. Emerging studies of disability issues by disability theorists, such as Sobsey (1994), highlighted the higher prevalence and nature of violence against people with a disability, in comparison to the general population. However, the limited research concerning women with a physical impairment experiencing domestic violence contributes to this social problem being underestimated in the community. Contemporary theoretical conceptualisations of both domestic violence and disability fail to explain the causal framework that leads to women who have a disability experiencing violent situations. Similarly, by explaining domestic violence as a solely socially constructed gender inequality and power differential, feminism provides insufficient recognition of the structural dimension of disability. As a preliminary inquiry, this study draws on the premises of historical materialism, and feminism to explain disability and investigates disabilism as a means to examine the experience of domestic violence by women with a physical impairment. The research design incorporated the use of qualitative methods for data collection and encapsulated critical social science and interpretivist epistemology. This study provided the basis for generating an understanding of the nature of domestic violence against women with a physical impairment within this sample group. From this investigation, causal hypotheses can be advanced for subsequent extended research. This study revealed that disabilism together with the interacting structural dimensions of disability, gender and class operated to marginalise and alienate these women with a physical impairment in a violent relationship. This tended to reinforce and entrench violence against women with a physical impairment. The study provides insight into the way social conditions and disabilism interrelate to maintain this group of women with an impairment in a violent relationship and contribute to the experience of poverty and lower social status upon leaving the relationship.

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ID Code: 15799
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Tomlinson, John
Keywords: domestic violence, disability, women, disability activism, Sobsey, marxism, historical materialism, feminism
Department: QUT Carseldine
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Jenny Mays
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:49
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2014 23:15

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