Coping mechanisms of female survivors of domestic violence in Mawuta-Wakitaka, Jinja
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Background: Domestic violence is a global public health issue and human rights violation that mostly affects women and is associated with psychological, economic and health consequences for the victim, and a range of economic and social ramifications for families and society. At the individual level, to deal with the consequences of domestic violence, survivors adopt various coping mechanisms. Objectives: The study objectives were to examine the cognitive/ behavioral coping mechanisms, the approach/avoidance coping mechanisms adapted by female victims to domestic violence and to assess the perceived effectiveness of the different coping mechanisms embraced by female victims to domestic violence. : Methods This was a cross- sectional study that used qualitative methods, specifically in-depth interviews to obtain data from ten female survivors of domestic violence in Mawuta-wakitaka, Jinja district. Non probability sampling based on purposive criteria and snowball techniques were used to identify study participants. Thematic analysis in accordance to study objectives was used to analyze the data. Results: the cognitive/behavioral coping strategies adopted by women in the study area include divorce, self-blame, retaliation, faith, physical distancing, engaging in economic activities, alcoholism and adultery Female survivors may also adopt silence, endurance seek help from both formal and informal service providers among others which were categorized as approach/avoidance coping mechanisms. Most of the survivors opt for acceptance for the sake of their children. Discussions with female survivors revealed that most of the strategies that were identified are not effective. The few that were found to yield to positivity, positivity only lasted for a short while. On this note, domestic violence remains a serious social problem with devastating effects Conclusion and recommendations: Social norms play a big role in influencing the kind of coping mechanism that female survivors adopt. Most female survivors accept domestic violence as a normal tool that husband has a right to discipline his wife. Female survivors that seek help from support agencies reported inadequate assistance. Therefore practioners should design appropriate programs which address social norms that lead to domestic violence.