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Domestic Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa

Nov. 27, 2012 - In many parts of Africa, as around the world, domestic violence is frequently considered a family matter. Through this perspective, violence within the home does not rise to the level of injustice that invites a police investigation or the concern of the criminal justice system. In such contexts, women who experience consistent abuse are denied the right to justice and the protection that their government is supposed to provide. They suffer in fear, and often in silence.

In countries where this attitude toward domestic abuse prevails, law enforcement rarely proceeds beyond the initial filing of a report, if it even does that. Also, as the video from Liberia highlights, with the cultural practice of dowry, some men think of themselves as owners of their wives and thus entitled to treat them as they so choose. In the same mentality, sex need not be consensual, and cases of marital rape are numerous.

Progress, however, is being made, as leaders and governments recognize domestic violence as a crime as well as a human rights issue. In Rwanda, police have established gender desks to address gender-based violence, including domestic abuse. As women gain political power, we see greater initiatives to protect their rights.

TO LEARN MORE:
Witness Blog:
http://bit.ly/10XB1xQ

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence
http://bit.ly/QGFQK3
http://16dayscwgl.rutgers.edu/

Mercy Corps on Women's and Gender Issues: http://www.mercycorps.org/topics/women
Nov. 27, 2012 - In many parts of Africa, as around the world, domestic violence is frequently considered a family matter. Through this perspective, violence within the home does not rise to the level of injustice that invites a police investigatio...
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