What do abused women expect from their family physicians? A qualitative study among women in shelter homes
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SourceWomen & Health, 45, 1, (2007), pp. 105-119
Article / Letter to editor
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FSW_IGS Institute for Gender Studies
Women & Health
SubjectDynamics of gender
OBJECTIVE: To gain insight into the needs and expectations of abused women in shelter homes, with regard to family physicians. METHODS: Twelve women in two shelter homes were interviewed. The interview focused on women's experiences and expectations of family physicians regarding the abuse situation. RESULTS: Eight women did not disclose intimate partner abuse to their family physicians. The main reasons were shame and fear of retaliation. Six women suffered from extreme controlling behavior by their partners, which made it impossible to seek help. Four women were not aware of the relationship between abuse by a partner and physical symptoms. Women mainly wanted a solution for physical problems and were ambivalent about help to tackle their problems with abuse. The majority of the women found the family physician's attitude of great importance and considered it a task of the family physician to provide assistance. CONCLUSION: Although the family physician did not play an important role in solving the problems for victims of intimate partner abuse living in shelter homes, an open and empathic attitude was of great importance to these women. Women also expressed the need for assistance by their physician and emphasized that it was important to keep asking about partner abuse, even in case of denial.
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