Women suffer from violence in every society. However, in some places in sub-Saharan Africa, the abuse is more entrenched and accepted. One of the most common forms of abuses directed at women globally is physical violence by their husbands or other intimate male partners.
Although women can also be violent, men perpetrate the vast majority of partner abuse against their female partners. This violence is referred to by many names: Wife-battering, Wife-beating and Intimate- Partner Abuse, are among the names used to describe it.
Wife battering is considered a gender-based abuse and is a subset of domestic violence. Domestic violence encompasses all acts of violence against women within the context of family or intimate relationships.
It is an issue of increasing concern because it has obvious and accidental consequences on family members. It tends to erode the basis of social order and has consequences for sexual health and rights of the victims.
The act is a complex and multi-dimensional issue. The increasing incidence of various modes of attacks have been reported and condemned, and because wife assault is rarely a one-time occurrence, each assault increases the likelihood of another occurring.
Many cultures in Africa condone physical punishment of women as a husband’s marital privilege, limiting the range of behaviours they consider as abuse.
Some statutes close the eyes to wife-assault. For instance, Section 56 of the Penal Code in Nigeria supports wife- beating and this leads to women being reluctant to report acts of abuse. This is usually out of shame, or out of fear of incriminating other family members.
All these factors point to under-estimation of the problem in the society. Over the past two decades, violence by an intimate partner has become identified throughout the world as a serious physical and mental health concern.
Spouse abuse, in particular, was recognized, at the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995 as a human rights concern worldwide.
Research shows that in Africa, prevalence rates of wife abuse are high. This is despite the fact that many government organizations have promised to promote the full and equal role of women in society.
Domestic violence in Egypt remains a significant social problem. In the Meskanena Woreda region of Ethiopia, 45 percent of women were estimated to have been victimized by an intimate partner.
According to the World Health Organization 2002 report, in the Kisii District of Kenya, the prevalence of physical abuse within current relationships was 42 percent.
A twelve-month prevalence rate of wife abuse for Rwanda, in 1990 was 21 percent according to the same report and 40.4 percent of Uganda’s women residing in the Lira and Masaka Districts report being abused by a current husband or boyfriend.
Many men will give you a bunch of reasons if you dare ask them why they batter their women.
But whatever the case, violence can never solve and put straight all those things that might have gone wrong between partners.
Couple’s should always look for ways of creating peace in the home instead of resorting to violence. People should sit down and try to talk over the issue that is bringing a rift between them because hitting the other will not help in any way to settle matters.
As we support the sixteen days of activism let us stop violence against our women so we can have a peaceful and prosperous society. Remember, ‘real men don’t batter their wives.’