An exploration of the reasons for self-sabotage by survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) during various stages of an intervention programme from a selected women’s shelter in the Cape Metropole
Shelters for battered women serve as a place of refuge and provide protection. Shelters interrupt the violence against women and their children and act as places of reflection and support and provide women with a bridge out of despair to a life free from violence. Shelters often facilitate opportunities for empowerment so that women can plan for their future and acquire the necessary resources to build a new life for themselves. However, there are women who tend to have internal barriers to personal growth and development and tend to self sabotage their development by returning to the previous situation rather than ‘moving on’. The aim of this study was to explore the reasons for self-sabotage by survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) during various stages of an intervention programme from a selected women’s shelter in the Cape Metropole. The study utilised an explorative qualitative methodological approach. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five survivor’s and a focus group discussion was held with six shelter staff members. The collected data was analysed using a thematic analysis method. Four themes emerged from the study: IPV survivors’ childhood experience; IPV survivors’ adulthood experiences; IPV survivors’ reason for self-sabotage after receiving services from the shelter and what the perceptions were of services rendered by the shelter in the Cape Metropole. The findings established that the overall outcomes of this study have shown that the reasons for self-sabotage by IPV survivors, who participated in this study, were as a result of the complex interrelationship of adverse childhood experiences, mental ill health, low self-worth and intimate partner violence.