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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
4157.0: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - Table 2

Abstract #117052

Cultural meanings of domestic violence in rural areas in Mexico

María Elena Collado, BA, Ipas Mexico, Pachuca 92, colonia Condesa, c.p. 06140, Mexico D.F., Mexico DF, Mexico, (55)52-11-83-81, mariaelenac@ipas.org.mx

Qualitative research on domestic violence was implemented in three rural communities in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico from August to December 2004. The aim was to better understand the cultural meanings that key informants and married women give to domestic violence. In particular, we examined the ways in which social control and regulations are used and the coping strategies, including social support, that are developed by women when they are involved in violent relationships with their partners. In-depth interviews were conducted with key informants (i.e. authorities, teachers, midwives and health providers) and with married women in each of the three rural communities. The communities presented similar structural or organizational characteristics: population density (less than 2,500 inhabitants), high rates of migration, and governing systems based on what is known as “customs and usages”. Gender roles are very traditional and are linked to the division of labor within and outside of the household. Marriages take place after brief relationships and “love” per se is not an important driving force. Courtship processes prior to marriage are rare. The most important causes of domestic violence, identified by women and other key informants, are alcoholism, community gossip, men's infidelity, women's failure to meet the expectations of traditional roles and lack of economic resources. Domestic violence is manifested through blows, shouts and insults. Communities that exhibited more social cohesion, confidence and recognition of formal and informal community institutions, presented more alternatives for women to cope with the problem, including more support networks.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participants in this session will be able to

Keywords: Family Violence, Community Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

Gender, Violence, Male Involvement

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA