Insults, assaults and hospitalisations: the experiences of Social Work students with gender violence

By 22 noviembre, 2021Law and Social Sciences

In a study carried out over seven years, University of Valencia researcher Gabriela Moriana, who is also the director of the University Institute for Women’s Studies (IUED), has compiled the experiences of gender violence of female and male students and their definition. This seldom coincides with that included in the Spanish Organic Law of 2004 on Comprehensive Protection Measures against Gender Violence.

Gabriela Moriana

In the study, students were asked about their experience with gender violence. Gabriela Moriana compiles some of these situations: cases of false complaints, experience of domestic violence and other types of violence against women. But, above all, the vast majority indicate that they themselves or the women they know have suffered gender violence, with the aggressors being their partner or ex-partner.


A student shares her story, showing how far the aggressions can go and how serious they are: “I myself suffered psychological and physical abuse, I was 13 years old and at 16, after a beating in which I was admitted to a hospital and through an order of estrangement I was able to abandon my attacker. I ended up suffering from eating disorders and low self-esteem”.


One of the harshest stories, which shows how difficult it is to get out of a relationship like this, is shared by a fourth-year student: “We were 20 and 23 years old, it was a very toxic relationship […] “When I did something wrong” my name was fucking bitch […] The last assault I had was one day when (he) came back from betting on Russian roulette and lost […] When I got up he grabbed me by the neck and I didn’t think I’d get back up. I reported him, but the next day I withdrew the complaint. A month and a half ago I decided to get out of there and it was my best decision.»


Gabriel Moriana, professor at the Department of Social Work and Social Services, affirms: “I needed to know what the student body understands about gender violence and if they suffer from it or know people who do. It seems necessary to me to learn this information in order to know how to approach teaching and in what way or how I can help you”. The study has been published in journal TS Nova.


Despite how obvious it may be from the outside, a relationship of abuse and mistreatment can be normalised: “her boyfriend abuses her psychologically, does not allow her to go out with her friends, wear cleavage, etc., but the worst of all is that it doesn’t matter how many times I tell her, she doesn’t see it”, says a student about a friend of hers. Along these lines, it is possible to get to the point that they feel responsible, as a first-year student shares about a relative: “in one case they came to blows, they were manipulated and they felt guilty that the relationship was going badly”.


In the study, the researcher shows that the definition of gender violence most used by students is: “The violence that occurs physically, verbally and psychically, between a man and a woman, regardless of who is the aggressor or the victim”. The fourth most widespread definition is the one that coincides with the Spanish Organic Law of 2004 on Comprehensive Protection Measures against Gender Violence: “Any act of physical and psychological violence, including attacks on sexual freedom, threats, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty”.






For seven years the professor of the Faculty of Social Sciences asked her students to share their experiences and her definitions. In this sense, there have not been too many changes, which makes her think that: “it is necessary to continue working on equality and violence prevention, and the need for the University’s involvement in it, because both our students and other women have the right to live lives free of violence”.






Moriana Mateo Gabriela (2021). «Zorra de mierda: la violencia de género sufrida y vista por el estudiantado de Trabajo Social de la Universitat de València». TS Nova Núm. 25, p. 71-85 DOI: