A RECENT report published by the Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency has revealed that 37% of women believed that a husband or partner was justified in beating up their “errant wife”.
BY STAFF REPORTER
The report forms part of findings to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) of 2014.
In its assessment, MICS assessed the attitudes of women aged between 15 and 49 and men aged between 15 and 54 towards wife beating over issues like beating up one’s wife if she went out without telling him, neglected the children, argued with him, refused to have sex with him, burnt food or cheated on him.
Women in rural areas, younger women, those with primary education and the poor were more likely than other women to agree with at least one of the specified reasons justifying wife-beating. The highest proportion of women interviewed in the research said it was within a man’s right to beat up a partner who engaged in infidelity.
“Of all the situations, the highest proportion of women (43,2%) believed that a partner was justified in beating his wife if she committed infidelity,” reads the report.
The most commonly reported reason for justifying violence was when the woman argued with the husband (23%). Women who have never been married (41,6%) believed that husbands were justified in beating their wives more than the currently married (36,7%) and the formerly married (33,3%).
Violence against women is considered a criminal offence under the Domestic Violence Act (Chapter 5:16).
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However, 23,7% of the men interviewed agreed that they were justified in beating their wives when they erred, particularly when they argued with their husbands.
These were, however, largely confined to those in rural areas, younger men and those with primary education.
“Men who have never been married (32,1%) believed that husbands were justified in beating their wives more than the currently married (16,6%) and the formerly married (22,7%),” says the report.
“The highest proportion of men (24,6%) believed that a partner was justified in beating his wife if she committed infidelity.”