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BMC Women-s Health

, 15:100

First Online: 11 November 2015Received: 21 January 2015Accepted: 19 October 2015


BackgroundResearch on interpersonal violence towards women has commonly focused on individual or proximate-level determinants associated with violent acts ignores the roles of larger structural systems that shape interpersonal violence. Though this research has contributed to an understanding of the prevalence and consequences of violence towards women, it ignores how patterns of violence are connected to social systems and social institutions.

MethodsIn this paper, we discuss the findings from a scoping review that examined: 1 how structural and symbolic violence contributes to interpersonal violence against women; and 2 the relationships between the social determinants of health and interpersonal violence against women. We used concept mapping to identify what was reported on the relationships among individual-level characteristics and population-level influence on gender-based violence against women and the consequences for women’s health. Institutional ethics review was not required for this scoping review since there was no involvement or contact with human subjects.

ResultsThe different forms of violence—symbolic, structural and interpersonal—are not mutually exclusive, rather they relate to one another as they manifest in the lives of women. Structural violence is marked by deeply unequal access to the determinants of health e.g., housing, good quality health care, and unemployment, which then create conditions where interpersonal violence can happen and which shape gendered forms of violence for women in vulnerable social positions. Our web of causation illustrates how structural factors can have negative impacts on the social determinants of health and increases the risk for interpersonal violence among women.

ConclusionPublic health policy responses to violence against women should move beyond individual-level approaches to violence, to consider how structural and interpersonal level violence and power relations shape the ‘lived experiences’ of violence for women.

KeywordsStructural violence Interpersonal violence Women’s health Scoping review Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s12905-015-0256-4 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Stephanie Rose Montesanti - Wilfreda E. Thurston


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