• James Robinson

Outline for Literature Review (Victimized Populations Among South African Youth)


The purpose of this outline is to organize scholarly articles for a literature review.  The literature review will discuss exposure to socio-economic disadvantage and violence as contributing factors to low academic achievement in South Africa concluding with a brief discussion of possible solutions to the problems.


 Introduction


Culture of violence


The history of South Africa consists of periods of conflict including European colonization, Apartheid, and years of struggle for racial equality which ended the institutionalized political oppression of the majority of South Africans and resulted in the current post-Apartheid era.  This history of violence has created what might today be called a culture of violence (Vaughn, 2016, p.223).


Prevalence of violence


A national study conducted in 2012 reveals that violence in and around schools is one of the most significant problems facing young people in South Africa and has reached a crisis point.  Violence has become pervasive in all aspects of the lives of many youths in South Africa (McArthur, 2015, p. 53).


Socio-economic disadvantage


Poverty


Economic hardship for South African families including poverty are indicators for juvenile delinquency and other anti-social behaviors.  Impoverished communities are at high risk for this violence because of these behavioral problems (Tugli et al., 2014, p. 2).


Researchers contend that poverty among Black Africans in rural parts of South Africa is a significant factor leading to failing family structures including diminished parental control of youth.  This failing family structure, in turn, contributes to violence.  Many students who attend schools with high rates of violence attribute the escalation of violence to poverty.  Socio-economic status and violence must be considered together (Tugli et al., 2014, p. 9).


In South Africa, many factors contribute to youth not attending school.  These factors include being affected by HIV, caregiving responsibilities, and the death of parents (Sherr et al., 2016, p. 41) 


School delay negatively affects many adolescents in South Africa and is due to the low socio-economic status of their families and the limited resources provided for education at the schools they attend.  Due to limited school resources, these youth attend low-quality schools (Romero, Hall, Cluver, & Meinck, 2018, p. 32).


Inequality


Student enrollment in grades below their age-appropriate grade level is a major problem in South African schools.  These school delays contribute to inequality.  Inequality negatively affects educational opportunities and the quality of education available to these students (Romero, Hall, Cluver, & Meinck, 2018, p. 31).


Violence 


School-based


Schools are a common location for the victimization of youth with rates of school violence reaching as high as 22.2% (Leoschut & Kafaar, 2017, p. 82).


Male school personnel and students are the primary perpetrators of violence against females.  Violent experiences are very traumatizing to female students leading to many dropping out of school (Nyokangi & Phasha, 2016, p. 231).


Classrooms are the most common location for school violence in secondary schools in South Africa.  Schoolmates are most often the perpetrators.  Teachers also contribute significantly to violence against learners.  The subsequent trauma experienced by survivors of violence negatively impacts their academic lives and contributes to delinquency and criminal behaviors (Lamb & Snodgrass, 2017, p. 2).


Family and Community


This study linked exposure to harsh punishment with educational outcomes.  Researchers suggest that in HIV endemic nations young children are subjected to harsh discipline and witness domestic and community violence, which may negatively impact academic progress.  Severe psychological punishment was linked to lower school enrollment among High School students (Sherr et al., 2016, p. 41).


A study of 4,747 adolescents linked school dropout rates and low math achievement to repeated exposure to physical abuse at home (Romero, Hall, & Cluver, 2019, p. 4).


Poly-victimization 


More research is needed concerning poly-victimization and educational success because as of 2018, there was only one study which examined the relationship between low academic performance and problems associated with youth victimization from multiple sources (Romero, Hall, & Cluver, 2019, p. 4).


Victimization of children is rarely a one-time occurrence for children in South Africa.  Victimization can be a condition which entraps children.  South African children often experience multiple forms of victimization with one form of abuse making children susceptible to other forms of victimization (Leoschut & Kafaar, 2017, pp, 82-83). 


Poly-victimization is more common in South Africa among socioeconomically disadvantaged youth due to their exposure to multiple risk factors such as unemployment, family stress, overcrowded homes, and chronic poverty (Romero, Hall, Cluver, & Meinck, 2018, p. 32). 


Research shows that more than 60% of youth aged 15-18 experience violence from multiple settings.  Other research found that exposure to poly-violence increased learner's likelihood of being below grade-level and of experiencing school delay (Romero, Hall, Cluver, & Meinck, 2018, p. 42).


Immigrants 


Sub-Saharan immigrants to South Africa often arrive without adequate documentation due to civil strife and war in their home countries.  Many of their homes and schools have been destroyed, and they are unable to request documentation such as school records.  The lack of documentation is a systemic problem which prevents many immigrants from having access to educational opportunities.  Exclusion from education may traumatize immigrant children and their families because acquiring an education is seen as a way out of their situation (Hlatshwayo & Vally, 2014, p. 267).


Xenophobia causes both physical and psychological violence and exposes families and particularly children to trauma (Hlatshwayo & Vally, 2014, p. 270).


Students with intellectual disabilities 


Literature shows that internationally people with intellectual disabilities experience higher rates of assault and sexual violence than the general population (Nyokangi & Phasha, 2016, p. 231).


Research examining the connections between learners with intellectual disabilities and violence in South Africa is limited.  One studied identified forms of violence against these learners in two special schools.  Types of violence ranged from bullying such as name-calling to physical violations such as groping and sexually explicit behaviors (Nyokangi & Phasha, 2016, p. 232). 


The research found four factors which contribute to school-based violence against female learners with mild intellectual disabilities.  Inadequate supervision, peer pressure, hiding reports of sexual violence, and families arranging relationships for their children are all contributing factors (Nyokangi & Phasha, 2016, p. 235). 


Gender based violence against females 


Research in sub-Saharan Africa which examines sexuality, gender, and violence largely excludes young girls (Bhana, 2018, p. 90).


This study found that violence against girls negatively affected their school attendance and performance. It notes that there may be a need for further research on the impact of emotional abuse on school enrollment (Sherr et al., 2016, p. 4).


Violence against homosexual male youth 


Literature regarding LGBTI learners in South Africa is concerned with pervasive homophobic bullying and the lack of efforts to adequately prepare educators to address sexual and gender diversity while challenging prejudice and discrimination against sexual and gender minority students (Reygan & Francis, 2015, p. 102).


While boys and male teachers are often victims of homophobic violence, they are also often perpetrators (McArthur, 2015, p. 54).


Perpetrators of homophobic violence are often acting out their struggle to maintain their traditional male status in society. When they experience poor academic performance, they assert themselves by oppressing peers who do not meet their acceptable social standards of masculinity (McArthur, 2015, p. 55).


Violence against sexual minorities is a pervasive problem in South African society.  When it enters the educational setting, it has lasting negative impacts on the education process (McArthur, 2015, p. 58).


HIV affected children


HIV positive children appear to be at the highest risk of the negative impacts exposure to violence has on educational achievement (Sherr et al., 2016, p. 41). 


Academic achievement 


Risk for low achievement 


The prevalence of violence in impoverished communities exposes youth to victimization from multiple sources within their schools, communities, and families. When youth attend school, these factors place the students at high risk for low academic achievement, and in other cases, they contribute to the exclusion of youth from educational opportunities (Romero, Hall, & Cluver, 2019, p.4).

Exclusion from educational opportunities


The prevalence of violence in impoverished communities exposes youth to victimization from multiple sources within their schools, communities, and families. When youth attend school, these factors place the students at high risk for low academic achievement, and in other cases, they contribute to the exclusion of youth from educational opportunities (Romero, Hall, & Cluver, 2019, p.4).


Sub-Saharan immigrants to South Africa often arrive without adequate documentation due to civil strife and war in their home countries.  Many of their homes and schools have been destroyed, and they are unable to request documentation such as school records.  The lack of documentation is a systemic problem which prevents many from having access to educational opportunities.  Exclusion from education may traumatize immigrant children and their families because acquiring an education is seen as a way out of their situation (Hlatshwayo & Vally, 2014, p. 267). 


Conclusions including possible solutions


Supportive parenting 

Strong bonds between parents and youth tend to reduce deviant adolescent behaviors (Tugli et al., 2014, p. 2). 


Supportive parenting can reduce and may compensate youth for the negative impacts resulting from exposure to frequent poly-violence (Romero, Hall, Cluver, & Meinck, 2018, p. 43).


Teacher support 


To the best of the researcher’s knowledge, no previous quantitative study exists to examine the relationship between teacher support and the educational out-comes of at-risk adolescents in South Africa. This is a profound gap in the literature and one that this investigation aims to address (Romero, Hall, & Cluver, 2019, p. 4.).


School-based intervention programming to provide more academic support to teachers may reduce school delay that is associated with violence and socio-economic disadvantage (Romero, Hall, & Cluver, 2019, p. 17). 


Sexual minority student feedback 


Sexual minority male learners in this study provided feedback on intervention strategies to create a culture of tolerance and respect in their school and community.  They asserted that planning and implementation of preventative strategies should include learners and that community-wide efforts involving youth, parents, and teachers should be initiated (McArthur, 2015, p. 57). 


References

Bhana, D. (2018). Girls negotiating sexuality and violence in the primary school. British Educational Research Journal, 44(1), 80-93. doi:10.1002/berj.3319


Corene, d. W. (2016). The Cape Times's portrayal of school violence. South African Journal of Education, Vol 36, Iss 2, Pp 01-12 (2016), (2), 01. doi:10.15700/saje.v36n2a1231


De Wet, N., Somefun, O., & Rambau, N. (2018). Perceptions of community safety and social activity participation among youth in South Africa. PLoS ONE, 13(5), 1-11. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0197549


Francis, D. A., & Reygan, F. (2016). 'Let's see if it won't go away by itself.' LGBT microaggressions among teachers in South Africa. Education as Change, 20(3), 180-201. doi:10.17159/1947-9417/2016/1124


Hlatshwayo, M., & Vally, S. (2014). Violence, resilience and solidarity: The right to education for child migrants in South Africa. School Psychology International, 35(3), 266-279. doi:10.1177/0143034313511004


John, V. M. (2016). Using conflict mapping to foster peace-related learning and change in schools. Education as Change, 20(2), 221-242. Retrieved from https://upjournals.co.za/index.php/EAC/article/view/756/pdf_18


Lamb, S., & Snodgrass, L. (2017). A nonviolent pedagogical approach for life orientation teacher development: The alternatives to violence project. Educational Research for Social Change, 6(2), 1-15. doi:10.17159/2221-4070/2017/v6i2a1


Leoschut, L., & Kafaar, Z. (2017). The frequency and predictors of poly-victimisation of South African children and the role of schools in its prevention. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 22, 81-93. doi:10.1080/13548506.2016.1273533


McArthur, T. (2015). Homophobic violence in a Northern Cape school: Learners confront the issue. Agenda, 29(3), 53-59. doi:10.1080/10130950.2015.1056587


Nyokangi, D., & Phasha, N. (2016). Factors contributing to sexual violence at selected schools for learners with mild intellectual disability in South Africa. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 29(3), 231-241. doi:10.1111/jar.12173


Reygan, F., & Francis, D. (2015). Emotions and pedagogies of discomfort: Teachers' responses to sexual and gender diversity in the Free State, South Africa. Education as Change, 19(1), 101-119. doi:10.1080/16823206.2014.943259


Romero, R. H., Hall, J., Cluver, L., & Meinck, F. (2018). Can supportive parenting protect against school delay amongst violence-exposed adolescents in South Africa? Child Abuse & Neglect, 78, 31-45. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.09.025


Romero, R. H.., Hall, J., & Cluver, L. (2019). Exposure to violence, teacher support, and school delay amongst adolescents in South Africa. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 89(1), 1-21. doi:10.1111/bjep.12212


Sherr, L., Hensels, I. S., Skeen, S., Tomlinson, M., Roberts, K. J., & Macedo, A. (2016). Exposure to violence predicts poor educational outcomes in young children in South Africa and Malawi. International Health, 8(1), 36-43. doi:10.1093/inthealth/ihv070


Tugli, A. K., Tshitangano, T. G., Ramathuba, D. U., Akinsola, H. A., Amosu, A. M., Mabunda, J., . . . Oni, H. T. (2014). Socio-economic backgrounds of learners attending violenceprone rural secondary schools in Vhembe district, South Africa. African Journal for Physical, Health Education, Recreation & Dance, 1, 40-50. Retrieved from https://journals.co.za/content/journal/ajpherd

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