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Inner city women's perceptions and experiences of battery and police response to it : a comparison of Aboriginal and white women



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This thesis examines the experiences and perceptions that Aboriginal and white women have about abusive relationships and about the police responses to these situations. Differences and similarities between these two groups of women will further highlight the need for resources and policing which are sensitive to the different needs of both groups. Assessments of the cultural differences between Aboriginal and white inner city women are particularly important as women seek to develop more and better alternatives to living in abusive relationships.Theoretically, an examination of gender oppression through patriarchy and its effect on male violence towards women is provided. Understanding the influence of patriarchal social relations on the subordination of women in society is helpful in explaining the similarities in perceptions and experiences of male violence between Aboriginal and white inner city women. The subculture of violence theory is also examined and is used to help understand the differences in perceptions and experiences of these two groups of women. The argument is made that Aboriginal women have qualitatively different perceptions of both battery and the police response to their calls of battery due to the historical legacy of colonization of Aboriginal people in Canada.The data were gathered via a questionnaire and in-person interviews which asked women respondents a wide variety of questions pertaining to their perceptions and experiences with battery, and any police involvement. The questionnaires obtained background information about respondents, responses to a 5 point Likert scale of attitudinal statements pertaining to battery and policing, and responses to specific questions which requested written responses. Analysis of the quantitative data involved descriptive presentation examining relationships between the independent variable ethnic background and dependent variables, as indicated by the 25 questionnaire items, using bivariate distributions. The qualitative data were thematically coded and examined.Importantly, the study revealed that there are significant differences between the perceptions of Aboriginal and white inner-city women. Aboriginal women were found to much more tolerant of abuse from their male partners, and were less likely to call the police in a time of crisis. It was also found that many Aboriginal women had very negative experiences with the police which further disadvantaged them when dealing with battery situations.



abusive relationships, violence against women - police response, violence against women - cultural differences, gender oppression, aboriginal women



Master of Arts (M.A.)






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