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Being Bashed: Western Samoan women's responses to domestic violence in Western Samoa and New Zealand

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Given the large impact that domestic violence has on many women's lives, it is surprising that research in this area has largely neglected the ways in which women respond to this problem in different cultural contexts. This article examines variations in Western Samoan women's responses to domestic violence in three different contexts, in rural and urban Western Samoa and in Christchurch, New Zealand. The authors find that processes relating to the individualisation of social relations, changes in women's economic independence, and political mechanisms that provide formal support for battered women go some way to explaining variations in women's responses to abuse in the three contexts. However, the findings rule out any simple link between context and responses to physical abuse and caution us against the naive hope that changes in a single variable will reduce women's vulnerability to violence.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 1999

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