Gender violence in the Spotlight

Debut novel explores domestic violence and its larger effect

Dr Barbara Boswell came from a home that was plagued with intimate partner violence. As an act of catharsis and an attempt to educate people on this issue, she wrote about it. The result is her debut novel, Grace.

_Grace _is a work of fiction that takes an uncomfortably close look at domestic violence. It goes further than the impact of the abused to the impact of the family and future generations.

This was important for Boswell, as in her research she found that children who are exposed to intimate partner violence are likely to find themselves in similar situations.

It is commonly known with people who work with intimate partner violence, that children who are exposed to it go on to become abusers or they enter abusive situations.

Dr Barbara Boswell, author and Senior Lecturer of English Studies at WITS

The book raises the all-important question - if you know violence is occurring on a regular basis, do you so something about it?

Boswell says the home that has violence does not talk about it because of shame. On the other hand, outsiders don't help because they don't want to get involved. It was important for Boswell to show this side of domestic violence.

Another big influence for Boswell, while she was writing the book, is the current femicide South Africa is facing. Her novel explores this dark topic, which is closely linked to domestic violence.

One of the statistics that I found was, half of the women murdered in South Africa, are murdered by intimate partners. It is quite a big problem for women in South Africa.

Dr Barbara Boswell, author and Senior Lecturer of English Studies at WITS

Once the hopes Boswell has for her novel, is that is would help young people question and understand healthy relationships, and recognising the hallmarks of intimate partner abuse.

Listen to the full interview below:


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