Women's health-seeking behaviour in the context of sexual violence, sexual health rights, and the Muslim community. A case study of Hope Careline Counselling.
Through interdisciplinary research in gender, religion and health, located within a feminist paradigm approach, this research project aimed to critically explore how women’s religious beliefs influenced their health-seeking behaviour through the use of a counselling careline in the context of sexual violence, sexual health rights and the Muslim community. Using a qualitative research design, 3 women were interviewed as part of the data production process. This study focused on the health-seeking behaviour of women who experienced Gender Based Sexual Violence (GBSV) and who accessed a counselling careline. In-depth interviews were conducted comprising of a balance of open-ended and close-ended questions. The data was analysed using a multi-pronged approach called thematic network analysis. The findings indicated that religion influenced the health-seeking behaviour of the women participants who were influenced at two points, the reaching out stage as well as their prior health-seeking attempts. The following factors were found to have influenced their health-seeking behaviour: Defining sexual violence in their context, perceptions about the women’s connection to God, being silent about sexual matters, and the perceptions of sexual matters in Islam. Many misconceptions regarding the Muslim community and the GBSV exist and is nuanced and subtle. This research further aimed to contribute to a multi-level understanding of Gender Based Sexual Violence (GBSV) and sexual health rights within the context of the Muslim community. It is recommended that themes in this study be investigated further and that knowledge production and awareness be aspects that are focused on in Muslim communities thus leading to prevention rather than cure.
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