A reflection on the coping strategies of abused female breadwinners in marriage

  • Leo Munyaradzi Chimeri
  • Rendani Tshifhumulo
  • Faith Marry Musvipwa
Keywords: Breadwinner, Abuse, Married, Equality, Equity, Coping Strategies


The most common reason women give to remain in abusive marriages is because of lack of income. However, it seems to be a paradox and yet it’s true that even female breadwinners stay in abusive marriages and are also faced with the difficult task of balancing their careers and overwhelming domestic chores. Female breadwinners devise some coping strategies that enable them to survive abusive marriages thereby weathering the storm instead of walking away from abusive marriage. The study is a mixed method research design of both quantitative and qualitative techniques. A cross-sectional sample size of 30 abused female breadwinners each year from 2010 up to 2015 was drawn to reach the pre-determined sample size of 180 female breadwinners who reported domestic violence cases at Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme (TVEP) trauma centres. Furthermore, the critical case purposive sampling method was used to come up with 12 participants for in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. The researchers used the Van Manne’s method to analyse qualitative data whilst the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and the Mann Whitney U test was used to test for the significance of differences on reflections on coping mechanism of abused female breadwinners. The study found out that abused female breadwinners are forced to devise some coping strategies that include; problem-solving strategies, reporting to the police, protection orders, seeking refuge, alcohol abuse and dependence, counselling, religious intervention, social support to cope with their plight. These coping mechanisms allow female breadwinners to survive the battering but also ensure that they remain in abusive marriages. Establishing the coping strategies may help in coming up with intervention methods that may help to curb abuse and coming up with other coping strategies that may assist them in their plight.

Keywords: Breadwinner, Abuse, Married, Equality, Equity, Coping Strategies


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eISSN: 1596-9231