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Not inherently vulnerable : an examination of paradigms, attitudes and systems that enable the abuse of dis/abled women Deborah Mary Hager

By: Hager, Debbie.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: 2017Description: electronic document (311 pages) ; Word DOC.Other title: A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Health Science, University of Auckland.Subject(s): ABUSED WOMEN | ATTITUDES | DISABLED PEOPLE | DOMESTIC VIOLENCE | INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE | SUPPORT SERVICES | WOMEN'S REFUGES | NEW ZEALANDOnline resources: Click here to access online Summary: Despite worldwide evidence that between 33% and 90% of disabled women are abused by a partner, family member or person in the wider community, in New Zealand there are virtually no initiatives to prevent or respond to this abuse. Using the theoretical structure of health promotion, critical emancipatory theory and more specifically, feminist disability theory, this thesis investigates the underlying paradigms that inhibit or enable conversations and collaboration within and between the domestic/sexual violence and disability sectors to address the abuse of disabled women. Eighty-seven people working in the violence and disability sectors and related government organisations and ministries in New Zealand were interviewed. The resulting data was transcribed verbatim and examined using thematic analysis, revealing multiple barriers that inhibit service responses, constructive responses from government, and societal impetus to address the lack of attention currently paid to this issue. The most pragmatic barriers are lack of resources and varying staff competency within the sectors, followed by the existence of two distinct world views: medical/individual deficit and socio-political. These paradigms are closely related to practice across the sectors – best, good and poor. In addition, underlying social and governmental attitudes and practice result in invisible, silenced, controlled and uncounted dis/abled women. Finally, vulnerable/vulnerability emerges as a paradigm that disempowers and disables all women, one consequence of which is the assumption that we (women) will be abused. This, when examined using feminist disability theory and understandings of hegemonic masculinity, ultimately provides an explanation for the lack of services, resources and processes to prevent violence against dis/abled women and keep abused dis/abled women safe from further harm. A paradigm shift, in language and perception, is proposed to shift the focus from women to the systems and attitudes that enable harm to occur. (Author's abstract). Record #5853
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PhD thesis, University of Auckland

Despite worldwide evidence that between 33% and 90% of disabled women are abused by a partner, family member or person in the wider community, in New Zealand there are virtually no initiatives to prevent or respond to this abuse. Using the theoretical structure of health promotion, critical emancipatory theory and more specifically, feminist disability theory, this thesis investigates the underlying paradigms that inhibit or enable conversations and collaboration within and between the domestic/sexual violence and disability sectors to address the abuse of disabled women. Eighty-seven people working in the violence and disability sectors and related government organisations and ministries in New Zealand were interviewed. The resulting data was transcribed verbatim and examined using thematic analysis, revealing multiple barriers that inhibit service responses, constructive responses from government, and societal impetus to address the lack of attention currently paid to this issue. The most pragmatic barriers are lack of resources and varying staff competency within the sectors, followed by the existence of two distinct world views: medical/individual deficit and socio-political. These paradigms are closely related to practice across the sectors – best, good and poor. In addition, underlying social and governmental attitudes and practice result in invisible, silenced, controlled and uncounted dis/abled women. Finally, vulnerable/vulnerability emerges as a paradigm that disempowers and disables all women, one consequence of which is the assumption that we (women) will be abused. This, when examined using feminist disability theory and understandings of hegemonic masculinity, ultimately provides an explanation for the lack of services, resources and processes to prevent violence against dis/abled women and keep abused dis/abled women safe from further harm. A paradigm shift, in language and perception, is proposed to shift the focus from women to the systems and attitudes that enable harm to occur. (Author's abstract). Record #5853