The Causes and Effects of Gender Based Domestic Violence

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This study was carried out in Kibera, Kenya. Its purpose was to analyze the causes and effects of gender based domestic violence. More so, the research attempted to find out if there are management strategies used to address the problem. The research type was a descriptive study that used ex post facto research design. Sampling was done from a population of 30, 500 married men and women. The sample was composed of 150 married men and women. However, after data collection only 92 questionnaires were returned. Also there were around sixty respondents were interviewed making the overall number of respondents used in the data analysis equal to 186. The main study instrument was a questionnaire. There was statistically significant relationship between the rate of violence and the level of education, level of income, and the rate of alcohol consumption. Results from this study showed that alcohol consumption was a major cause of domestic violence. Mental stress, poverty and poor family health were some of the mentioned consequences of gender violence. After some hardship of coming with solutions, it was recommended that there is need for education on harmonious family living, provision of guidance and counseling services to the affected population, and formulation of policies that lead to legal procedures in settling of family disputes.

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We see domestic violence as physical abuse, psychological abuse, and abuse of property. Exposure to this, it has considerable potential to be perceived as life threating by those victimized and can leave them a sense of vulnerability, helplessness and extremes cases of horror. Recently, there has been a growing recognition of recognition of domestic violence in our society. However, it has become more obvious that some individuals are at greater risk for victimization than others. Domestic violence has a great impact on individuals, families, and society in general. According to Carlson (1984) over 3 million children are at risk of exposure to parental violence each year. Child abuse occurs physically or sexually. According to Meichenbaum, 1994 states that approximately 45% to 70% of beaten women in shelters have reported the presence of child abuse in their home. Of the abused children, they are three times more likely to been abused by their fathers. In Kenya, surveys on gender-based domestic violence have been done in areas such as Nairobi.

According to the United Nations General Assembly (1993), gender-based domestic violence involves men and women and usually results in physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to the victims. It also includes threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. A recent study from the World Health Organization (1996) indicates that between 16% and 52% of women worldwide are physically assaulted by an intimate partner at least once in their lives. Moreover, the World Health Organization in 1996 documented that, among women aged 15-44 years, gender violence often leads to death and disability. Russell studied that South Africa showed that one adult out of every six is assaulted regularly by her husband. Around 46% of these cases, the men involved also abused the woman’s children. ). In Kenya, data collected from a survey among women in Nairobi indicated that 50% of women interviewed reported an experience of domestic violence. There have been surveys on human rights violation have been conducted by FAIDA (Federation of women lawyers a non-governmental organization where cases of gender violence take 80% of the total human rights violation acts in the district. The health consequences of Gender-based violence (GBDV) according to Heisse (1999) include short-term health effects that have non-fatal outcomes such as minor cuts, headaches, pains and bruises. In addition, the long-term health outcomes include organ damage, chronic disabilities, mental disorders, depression, pregnancy complications and even fatal consequences such as suicide and murder. For majority of women, the persistent insults, abuse, confinement, harassment and deprivation of financial and physical resources may prove more harmful than physical attacks and result in women living in a permanent state of fear and sub-standard, mental and physical health. In order to address and manage the problem of gender-based violence, international organizations have established International Conferences and Campaigns have resolved to a large extent in increasing awareness and breaking the wall of silence that surrounded gender-based violence.

Gender-based violence is violence involving men and women, in which the female is often the victim, and which is derived from unequal power relationships between men and women. According to coalition on violence against women domestic violence within the home is about power and control, where the perpetrator of the same uses violence as a way of immobilizing the other. Gender based violence is violence directed at individuals on the basis of their gender and boys and men can also be the target.

The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1993, defines violence against women as “Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. Adult women mostly become economically dependent on men and often become victims of incest, sexual harassment, pornography, marital rape, trafficking in women, dowry abuse and partner homicide. The elderly women often face abandonment while disabled women at times become victims of rape. Despite all the given perspectives of violence against women, this study will look at violence among women in a marriage relationship and focus on physical, sexual verbal and psychological abuse. A review of literature on crime and violence cited by Barker (1999) concludes that masculinity has been seen as inherently violent and that the impact of gender socialization on men has largely been ignored in the study of violence.

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