Published Papers - Abstract 106

Woelz-Stirling N, Kelaher M & Manderson L. Power and the politics of abuse: Rethinking violence in Filipina-Australian marriages. Health Care for Women International, 1998; 19(4): 289-301

In this paper we take as a starting point the perceived high prevalence of domestic violence in marriages between Filipino women and Australian men. In in-depth interviews and structured questionnaires with Filipinas married to Anglo-Australian and to Filipino men, and with service providers, the issue of under-reporting physical and emotional violence was a recurring theme. We explore the relationships of power that characterise these marriages, the changes in balances of power that result from the externalisation of anger, physical and verbal violence, and stigmatization of domestic violence experienced by Filipinas individually and in the community. We suggest that social disapproval and stereotypical representations of Filipina-Australian marriages in Australian society, and the consequent shame experienced by Filipinas, has led to under-reporting of emotional and physcial abuse.