March 15, 2009

Beaten into silence : Battered women in Africa

Africa's highest-ranking female politician has spoken out about the beatings which she said were responsible for her separation from her husband. Specioza Kazibwe, Uganda's former Vice-President, serving from 1994 until 2003, being the first woman in Africa to hold that position said that she had been forced to throw her engineer husband out of their house - which she had built - when she decided enough was enough. Her comments have caused a stir in a society where the subject is largely taboo."Why should I continue staying with a man who beats me?" she was quoted by the New Vision newspaper as telling women legislators. However, the the reaction to Mrs Kazimbwe's action had been varied in Uganda. Mrs Kazibwe should have kept it in the family, said one woman, Diana. "I come from north of the country, where women are told to respect their husbands even if they are abused or beaten up," Diana added."I am happy with the tradition because men are more superior to us and I think, without men, we would not be what we are now."
Men feel free to assault women in public, with complete impunity. A Global Crescendo photographer caught this man beating his pregnant wife. The man in the background looking on appears to be laughing.

Wife beating has traditionally been swept under the social carpet. Few women, including those who are financially independent, have dared to come out and say that they're being battered. It has always happened, everywhere. Often it is accepted as a natural if regrettable part of woman's status as her husband's property. Throughout history women have been subjected to the whims and brutality of their husbands.

Women suffer from violence in every society. In few places, however, is the abuse more entrenched, and accepted, than in sub-Saharan Africa. One in three Nigerian women reported having been physically abused by a male partner, according to the latest study, conducted in 1993. The wife of the deputy governor of a northern Nigerian province told reporters last year that her husband beat her incessantly, in part because she watched television movies.


It is like it is a normal thing for women to be treated by their husbands as punching bags," told Obong Rita Akpan, former Nigerian minister for women's affairs, here. "The Nigerian man thinks that a woman is his inferior. Right from childhood, right from infancy, the boy is preferred to the girl. Even when they marry out of love, they still think the woman is below them and they do whatever they want."

In Zambia, nearly half of women surveyed said a male partner had beaten them, according to a 2004 study financed by the United States - the highest percentage of nine developing nations surveyed on three continents. About 80% of Zambian wives find it acceptable to be beaten by their husbands "as a form of chastisement", according to the Zambia Demographic Health Survey.

A World Health Organization study has found that while more than a third of Namibian women reported enduring physical or sexual abuse by a male partner, often resulting in injury, six in seven victims had either kept it to themselves or confided only in a friend or relative.


In South Africa, researchers for the Medical Research Council estimated last year that a male partner kills a girlfriend or spouse every six hours - the highest mortality rate from domestic violence ever reported, they say. In Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, domestic violence accounts for more than 6 in 10 murder cases in court, a United Nations report concluded last year.


Women's rights activists say that the prevalence of abuse is emblematic of the low status of women in sub-Saharan Africa. Typically less educated, they work longer hours and transport three times as much weight as men, hauling firewood, water and sacks of corn on their heads.


Some societies have the idea that women are foolish and childlike, and need to be beaten to be corrected. In one survey, 44.7 percent of Kenyan women said that men have the right to discipline their wives by beating. The women who are beaten often feel that it is their fault. Even many matrilineal and matrilocal societies accept men beating their wives as correction.

In some Sub-Saharan African countries where wife beating is widely accepted as a response to women's transgressing gender norms, women are More likely than men to justify wife beating. An analysis of Demographic and Health Survey data from in seven Sub-Saharan African countries found that 36-89% of women justified wife beating in at least one of five specified situations such as if she burns the food, neglects the children, argues with him, goes out without telling him or refuses to have sex with. The analysts contend that women's acceptance of wife beating "may be explained only by entrenched social and cultural learning processes that subjugate the position of women in the society, socially and collectively undermine their self-esteem and facilitate romanticisation of the 'ideal' gender role of women."


54 comments:

  1. MEN THAT BEAT THEIR WIVES IN NIGERIA SHOULD BE GIVING A FIVE YEAR PRISON TERM.AND IF THEY DONT CHANGED THEY SHOULD BE PUT BACK IN PRISON.AN I BELIVE MEN AND WOMEN ARE THE SAME.I AGAINST BEATING BEAUFIFUL WOMEN BUT IF THE WOMAN IS UGLY IT OK CAUSE WE NEED BEAUTIFUL WOMEN IN OUR SOCIETY AN MAN SHOULD HAVE RESPECT FOR A WOMAN AND MAKE HER FEEL COMFORTABLE

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  2. Thats the dumbest thing I ever hear. If a woman is ugly its ok to beat her? How is that fair what so ever? EVERY woman, no matter beautiful or ugly should be treated equally. No woman should be beaten and every woman should be respected. They make punching bags for a reason so they should use them.

    Us women don't sit here and say that it is ok for women to beat men just bc they are ugly and the handsome ones shouldn't get beaten. Thats so stupid. Every man who beats any women should be imprisoned. Case closed.

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  3. i agree. the woman has done nothing wrong if the reason is because she is ugly, that is an extremely shallow and quite frankly disgusting comment. judging a women entirely on their beauty is common yet awful. all women should be treated equally and no woman deserves to get beaten up by their own husband! someone needs to stop this, it's diabolical. and as for the person who commented first - i'm not quite sure what you're suggesting, you say that all women are equal then you go on to say that ugly women should be beaten up, thats hardly equal is it?

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  4. OH MY FUCKING GOD WHOEVER WROTE THAT COMMENT ABOVE IS SICK IN THE HEAD, ALL WOMEN SHOULD BE TREATED EQUALLY HOWEVER 'PRETTY' THEY ARE YOU SICK SON OF A BITCH.
    P.S LEARN TO TYPE DICKWOD

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  5. hey c'mon, there,s fuc all oil in africa i think,otherwise the governments from around the world would do some thing about africa.p.s those pic's really piss me off,i'd love to beat the shit out of them!!!!

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  6. you spineless piece of shit!!!how would you like to be crippled or badly bashed cause u are probly an ugly fuc'r.NO WOMAN SHOULD BE BEATEN!!!and vise versa!!! CLOWN

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  7. i agree.... this is bullshit. no women should be beaten. they can be the ugliest shithole, but they shouldnt get beaten. ans they SHOULD use punching bags. DUMBASS AFRICANS

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  8. this is sooo sad but i can sort of take it personaly because my sisters old boyfriend used to beet her and she took it to the police and he is in prison for life cuz she wasent the oly one he beat!

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  9. refering to the first comment.
    you clearly arent right in the head.
    would you like it if someone came up to you and starting beating into you and they said your ugly and we only need beautiful people in our society? your so full of shit.
    ugly or not women never deserve to get beaten, especially not by there husbnads.
    men who think they have some sort of power and control over women,and think by beating them and putting them in place ,its acceptable.
    it pathetic. and they should be the ones to get beaten.

    no person in there right mind would think just because a girl is ugly she deserves to get beaten. your obviously a screw loose,and need help. i feel sorry for your girlfriend or who ever you are with, if your even with anyone.

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  10. people who are told to or made to stop physical abuse - turn it into mental abuse - and from too much personal experience - its almost a trick - its invisible but absolutely just as devastating - its as if they figured out where to really put the bruises where they cant be seen (or caught) - the bruises are on the inside - all around your heart and mind - they definetely "f" with your mind - try to make U feel crazy

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  11. I'm all for beating Africans regardless of gender!!

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  12. outside beauty does not defy a person so to the person who made that remark is obviously ignorant and needs the crap beat out of them a coulple times. No person man or woman deserves any type of abuse and it all should be stopped and punished. love and peace ya'll

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  13. this is sad because traditionally, wife beating seems normal to them. they need to re-educate the population to be honest to stop this sort of mentality.

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  14. wow, they abuse and say its for their own good. mainly since they can't control their anger, but they hit them so they feel like thier doing something right instead of something wrong...my dad is exactly like this

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  15. may God be with you. may he open up your eyes to see the unseen you blind MOFO. God made all of us in his own image. How dare you to judge someone by the way they look. They may be ugly to you but they're beautiful in someone else's eyes. May god strike lighting on you. They are someone else's treasure and you're someone else's piece of trash you piece of left over dooche bag. you are not a gentlemen at all if you don't know how to treat a women.. ( this includes those who think they can just go around beating ugly people up).. think about it, you're not that great looking! you're just as ugly, you piece of mofo.. =D God bless!

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  16. Are you 100% sure that it is the men who are doing the beating? Some women look as if they have been beaten senseless with the ugly stick.

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  17. Have you ever wonder why most men can"t control their emotion expecially when they are mad at women? and all they could think of is to abuse them physically?the answer is simple,it because they lack maturity..have you ever been abused emotionally or physically?if yes,pls tell me yur experince and how you overcome it.no identity will be reveal.STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN,it on facebook,try n be a member

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  18. The comment above about beating ugly woman makes me wonder if the ugly men from your society are manipulating and bullying the prettier woman into marriage? Is a pretty woman being told... "Because I find you pretty I will not be as harsh with you?" Is a pretty woman going to marry an ugly man because she thinks she will be safer? Are woman who do not feel attractive more at risk? If a mother has a daughter who she does not think is very attractive going to make sure she is a better domestic over a prettier daughter? All this is ever more abuse! I wound also like to point out that pretty woman are probably more at risk of abuse from a ugly man because of jealousy!

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  19. Let me just say that it makes me happy to see how outraged everybody is by that first comment. It lets me know there is still a lot of good people in this world

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  20. Though I am of course outraged by the ignorant comment at the beginning of this page, I am also stunned by two comments referring to 'Dumbass Africans' and 'Beating all Africans regardless of gender!'
    Racism is just as bad as sexism, and you should be aware that many Europeans and Westerners also beat their wives, which is almost worse because these people know thaat what they're doing is wrong!
    Of course I'm not surprised you don't know this, what you don't know could fill several books!
    Thank God that most of the comments here seem to be slightly humane! My faith in humanity is restored! X

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  21. Too bad wimpy American men don't train their women this way. There'd be a lot less kiddies out of wedlock, delinquent children and STDs. American men are stupid. They buy the feminist garbage and let women control and run them when the fact is because of our physical dominance, we can eliminate a woman anytime we feel like it. Therefore, they should be grateful to men and show more respect or suffer discipline

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  22. I SAY REALLY CANT BELIVE THAT REALLY NO MAKE SENSE IN AFRICA WOMAN OR AFRICA MAN ARE STUPID STUFF THEY ARE NOT SHOULD HAVE A PROBLEM OUR MARRIED OR GIRLFREIND WITH THEM LIKE THAT WELL GOD MADE FOR THEM AND GOD GIVE GIFT SEX FOR RESPECT EACH OTHER NOT NEED ABUSE OR KILL NO SENSE IF AFRICA MAN DO NOT LIKE WOMAN UGLY OR PRETTY WOMAN JUST MAN CAN LEAVE FROM OUR WOMAN JUST GOOD BYE TO WOMAN THE MAN CAN FIND A DATE OTHER WITH OUR WOMAN SO SIMPLE IT IS NOT SO HARD! IF MAN DO NOT HAPPY JUST ON MOVE GO SOMEWHERE TO OUT AND LOOK FOR OTHER SO BETTER FIND A RIGHT FOR THEM SO MATCH THIS WOMAN PERSON FOR MAN SO HAPPY! MAN OR WOMAN HAVE TO LEARN FACT OF THE FACE WITH THEM DISCUSS FOR EACH OTHER IS WORKOUT TALK TO THEM IF THEY CAN FORGIVE IF IT IS WRONG OR RIGHT THEN ASK TO THEM SO WHY ????? NOT FIGHT NOT KILL IS NOT WORK THEY STILL HAVE A BAD CRIMES SO DANGEROUS CAUSE CAN BLAME MAN OR WOMAN SO WHICH IT IS WRONG OR RIGHT HAVE NO CHOICE! YES I AGREE WITH THEM THAT SHOULD BE GO TO JAIL SO SAFETY JUST KEEP AWAY FROM THEM SO STAY IN JAIL SO BETTER! SO I KNOW CAN HELP THEM ARE STAY IN JAIL MORE CASE! MAN OR WOMAN ARE VERY SAFETY STAY AT THEIR HOME OR THEY CAN MOVE LIVE IN OTHER ANY PLACE ANYWHERE ELES THEY WILL NOT FIND HIM OR HER SO ANY PLACE YES THEY CAN MOVE OUT TO GO OTHER OUT OF COUNTRY ANY STATES THEY WILL BE HAPPY HAVE A NEW FACE PESRON MABYE SO BETTER IF THEY KNOW HOW TO BE FIND A RIGHT MAN OR WOMAN SO MATCH DATE WITH THEM I SAY GOOD LUCKY THAT ALL JUST SIMPLE RIGHTON SOUL POWER SMILE YOU REMMBER THAT IS SO RESPECT OUR WOMAN AT FIRST AND TOO RESPECT SEX OUR WOMAN AND NOT ABUSE FOR NO REASON! SO SIMPLE! RESPECT IS NO .1 SMILE THANK YOU DENNIS JORDAN

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  23. why is Africa so shit ass backwards???? Sure men in other continents beat their wifes (and vice versa), but at least it isn't socially accepted and usually comes with consequences (prison).

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  24. DIS IA ALL FROM NIGERIA BECAUSE THEY R FUKED UP BASTARDS STUPID BLICK NIGERIANS ALL U KNOW IS 4.1.9 ESPECIALLY TEMMY SULEMON DAT FUKA

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  25. people abuse people all over the place...i dare a muther fucker ever put his hands on me...lolol...you ll have the whole city off new york up in that ass...god help these poor ,hurting women

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  26. to the man above (and i know you are a male)with your ignorant using one side of the brain sad self,you think a woman deserves too be beaten?tell it too ya mamma...you know you was raise..or maybe i should say unraised by an animalistic fucktard of a father ,probably served your mamma with some gravy...yall should go back too banging your laundry on a rock...let the neighbor man bang up and down ya wife the right way...that is if theres a stupid enuff one too be widja ass.

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  27. OMG, I have no comment for what these guys are doing to their women... women need to speak up and talk abt the abuse and prevent it from happening. Most of these guys dont see it as wrong because its wat they saw their fathers doing to their mothers.......... Ppl wake up it is 2011.........women deserve to be treated better, is this how u want ur daughters to be treated to some losers like you......WAKE UP AFRICA....you guys are just going down the drain just like how these white ppl wanted u to be

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  28. Abuse is not right and everyone has to show that stand up and tell ur story its something people need to hear and for all of u idiots out there who were raised in racism and sexism you should feel ashamed of yourselves as well as your parents. NO ONE DESERVES ANY FORM OF ABUSE. Whoever thinks so should imagine what it feels like to be abused and beaten then tortured to death and we will see if u feel the same way.

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  29. that is so wrong.. as a child of abuse and to this day helping struggling friends i really dont understand what could make anyone think it is okay to beat a woman.. we are no greater but also no less than what a man is. but still we are the ones fighting to survive..

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  30. i love that people are moaning about how woman should be equally treated,giving them a slap is being equal ?, and there are two sides to every story mabye the chores had not been done?

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  31. YES I AM TALKING ABOUT THE TEMMY SULEMON THAT GOES TO ST MICHEALS AND ALL ANGELS AND HE IS IN YR9 DAT BLICK BASTARD FUKIN 4.1.9 SCAMMER

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