GBV used for 'discipline'

The shocking belief that a husband is allowed to beat his wife continues to flourish in the Kavango regions.

29 November 2018 | Crime

Due to traditional beliefs, gender-based violence (GBV) is being used to 'discipline' women in the Kavango regions.

Generally, it is accepted in these communities that it is right when a man beats his wife.

A phrase has also been coined in Rukwangali - 'mungwa gepata' - referring to this as a form of discipline.

These were part of discussions at the close of last week during the launch of the annual 16 Days of Activism against GBV held at Mpezo village in the Mankupi constituency, where residents discussed the causes of GBV, how it happens and who it affects.

The discussion was attended by about 300 residents.

Speaking to Nampa on the outcome of those discussions, constituency councillor and member of the National Council, Lukas Muha, who facilitated the talks, said the majority of people noted that women are mostly victims of GBV followed by children and men, to a lesser extent.

“I started the discussions by asking the group who they think victims of gender-based violence are, and then posed a question to find out what it is women do to become victims of GBV, as their rights cannot just be violated without them perhaps also contributing to the violence,” he said.

In response, participants, including women, said “women talk too much and appear to be dominant towards their husbands or partners on things that need to happen in their households, which most men do not like”.

Women who consume too much alcohol were also identified as contributing to GBV, as their spouses feel respect is lost when women use derogatory language or insult them.

“The residents went further and said in some cases one will find men having children outside of the matrimonial household. The men would then decide to bring these children into the marital home for all the children to be raised together,” explained Muha.

What then happens is that the wife would treat her stepchildren different from her own, which in turn angers the husband, added the councillor.

The participants said further that in a contemporary world, women are subjected to polygamy, and also want to have affairs.

“When the husband finds out about the affairs, he no longer can control his anger and resorts to murder or violence.”

In other cases, woman is the breadwinners and do not accept supporting her partner or husband. This belittles the power of the man and in the end leads to violence.

“I encouraged the residents that if there is any suspicion of GBV occurring in the neighbourhood, it should be their responsibility to report it,” Muha added.


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