“An Effect That Is Deeper Than Beating”: Family Violence in Jordanian Women

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Abstract

This study informs health care approaches to gender-based family violence through focus groups with Jordanian women. The authors conducted a thematic qualitative analysis of 12 focus groups among 70 married, divorced, or widowed women about their experiences and beliefs regarding family violence. Five themes relevant to health care providers were identified. Three of the themes addressed participant-perceived causes of gender-based family violence: (1) unmet gender role expectations; (2) stigma and social norms; and (3) extended family roles. The fourth theme reflected effects on victims. The fifth theme reflected protective qualities and help-seeking behaviors. The themes identified in the analysis revealed multiple ways that gender-based family violence can contribute to health problems and that it can be kept secret by Jordanian women as patients. Potential clues are described for the violence which may not be typically explored in a medical encounter. Additional ways that Jordanian families may seek help from other family or clergy instead of police and family violence agencies are described. Implications of these results for health care providers who care both for Jordanians and Arab immigrants in Western cultures are discussed.

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