Original Articles

Exploring the Psychological Exteriority and Interiority of Men's Violence Against Women

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 20, issue 4, 2010 , pages: 623–633
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2010.10820420
Author(s): Ursula LauUniversity of South Africa,, Garth StevensUniversity of the Witwatersrand,


This study explored male perpetrators subjective experiences of violence against their intimate partners. Participants were a convenience sample of 12 men (11 ‘Black’ and 1 ‘White’, between 18 to 70 years of age) recruited from three organisations in Johannesburg, South Africa. A theory-driven, feminist-psychoanalytic approach embedded within a social constructionist framework was adopted for the study. Interview transcripts revealed three central themes: violence as (a) ‘losing control’ and ‘being in control’; (b) an enactment of ‘love’; and (c) a response to heightened emotional interpersonal interactions. Integrated understandings of how men psychologically interiorise and reproduce gendered forms of violence and hegemonic constructions of gendered relations are important for the prevention of men's violence against women.

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