The long-term effects of domestic Violence: a study of life histories in a homeless shelter in cape Town, South Africa
Munge, Epie Bernadette
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This study examines the effects of domestic violence on adults who witnessed abuse as children in their homes. It seeks to ascertain if the childhood emotional trauma of domestic violence influences the growth and social adaptation of children in their later years. Despite the growing awareness of domestic violence worldwide, there is nevertheless an alarming number of women reporting abuse, and there are those who are reportedly beaten or inflicted with bodily harm at the hands of their abusers. However, most of these domestic or household conflicts take place in situations where children are involved. These children witness such abuse and grow up carrying emotional and physical scars that impact their functioning as members of society. The study adopts a life history approach to investigate 15 adult participants (five women and ten men) within evolving themes relating to their experiences of domestic violence and other life ordeals during their childhood that made them end up at the Elim Night Shelter in Cape Town, South Africa. The study is anchored on the explication of such key concepts as domestic violence, abuse and the physical, social, emotional and behavioural effects of abuse. Furthermore, the study identifies the social consequences of growing up in an abusive environment. The findings of the study reveal that people who witnessed acts of domestic violence as children experience negative consequences as adults. Recommendations have been listed which could assist the further study expansion on the topic, together with intervention strategies.