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Domestic Violence in Zimbabwe: Education and Legislative System

Research Paper (undergraduate) 2011 23 Pages

Sociology - Gender Studies

Excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

Zimbabwe is probably one of the countries in the third world that best illustrate an increase in the rate of gender based violence in recent years. This paper attempts to explore the exceptional case of Zimbabwe’s domestic violence by having a closer look at the educational and legal system. According to CEDAW (2005), gender based violence is defined as ‘a form of discrimination against women which impairs or nullifies women’s enjoyment of their human rights including their rights to life and to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health’. Furthermore, the Zimbabwe Domestic Violence Act (2007), Chapter 5:16 of 2007 defines domestic violence as, ‘any unlawful act, omission or behavior which results in death or the direct infliction of physical, sexual or mental injury to any complainant by a respondent’. Domestic violence is therefore exhibited in the form of physical, sexual and emotional violence by a spouse. The development of this paper will thus be based on these definitions.

One of the generally agreed techniques likely to facilitate high reductions of incidences of domestic violence among women is to empower them through education. This is because education has been regarded as the most significant instrument for changing women's subjugated position in the society. It not only develops the personality and rationality of individuals, but qualifies them to fulfill certain economic, political and cultural functions and hence improves their socio-economic status. The Zimbabwean case reveals that men and women with more than secondary education are less likely to justify domestic violence. However, the Zimbabwean case is peculiar in the sense that domestic violence permeates the whole society regardless of educational levels. Educated men and women perpetrate and experience domestic violence respectively irrespective of their educational levels. It is in this regard that this paper sought to establish why this is so by scrutinizing the education curriculum as well as analyzing whether the legal framework has contributed to reducing domestic violence. Domestic violence is above one third despite the fact that that the literacy rate of both men and women is above 85%.

This paper greatly relies upon the data on Domestic Violence produced by the Zimbabwe Statistical Office as published through the Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey Report 2005 to 2006 (2007).

Research Questions

The main question that this study seeks to answer is “Why education makes little contribution towards reducing domestic violence in Zimbabwe”.

There are other questions which are answered in this analysis, as follows;

- What are the limitations of Zimbabwe’s education on reducing domestic violence?
- What are the best strategies to make Zimbabwe’s education more responsive to the need of reducing domestic violence?

2. EDUCATION LEVEL AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

According to the Article 2 of the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993), violence against women encompasses, but is not limited to, three areas: violence occurring in the family, within the general community, and violence perpetrated or condoned by the State. This paper focuses on the violence occurring in the family, that is, domestic violence. Domestic violence is perpetrated by intimate partners and other family members, and includes physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, or economic abuse. In terms of perpetrators, domestic violence is mostly committed by current or former husbands or partners.

2.1. Attitudes towards Domestic Violence in terms of Education Levels

The Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey Report (ZDHSR) 2005-2006 sought to find out the numbers of people who justify wife beating under the five situations specified below;

1) If the wife burns food during cooking
2) If the wife argues with the husband
3) If the wife goes out without telling the husband
4) If the wife neglects the children
5) If she refuses sexual intercourse with him

<Figure 1> illustrates the attitudes of men and women who justify wife beating under at least one of the cases specified above by educational attainment level. Statistics is drawn from the ZDHSR (2007).

Figure 1. Percentage of Women & Men Who Justify Wife Beating by Education

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Central Statistical Office (2007). Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey 2005-2006. p. 249-250.

<Figure 1> reflects that more women than men are likely to tolerate wife beating. More than two thirds of the women with no education are more likely to tolerate wife beating while almost two thirds of women with primary education are likely to tolerate it showing that a large portion of women with little or education are likely to tolerate wife beating. The impact of education on the attitude of men and women towards wife beating is clearly shown by the low levels of men and women who justify wife beating as shown only 12.7% men and 9.9% women who justify wife beating. This data also reveal that primary education does not improve the views of people regarding wife beating.

2.2. Women’s Experience of Physical Violence by Education Level

According to ZDHSR (2007), the persons committing physical violence against women are usually current or former husband or partner (p. 262). The ZDHSR provides data on the estimated percentages of women who experience physical violence per education level. According to <Figure 2>, women with no education, primary education and secondary education experience almost the same levels of physical violence. However, experiences of physical violence among the women with more than secondary education tends to be lower compared to other levels. However, the incidences of physical violence among women with more than secondary education is significantly high and considering the fact that most of these women do not justify wife beating, they still experience it anywhere. Therefore, the crucial factor that is brought up by this data is that physical violence is prevalent among women of all educational attainment levels.

Figure 2. Percentage of Women Who Experience Physical Violence by Education

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Central Statistical Office (2007). Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey 2005-2006. p. 261.

2.3. Women’s Experience of Sexual Violence by Education Level

<Figure 3> provides statistics relating to women’s experiences of sexual violence by their education attainment level. This shows that the experiences of violence against women tend to be similar per each education level. This is representative of the fact that sexual violence among women tends to be prevalent among women regardless of whether they are educated or not.

Figure 3. Percentage of Women Who Experience Sexual Violence by Education

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Central Statistical Office (2007). Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey 2005-2006. p. 264.

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Details

Pages
23
Year
2011
ISBN (eBook)
9783656426936
ISBN (Book)
9783656436881
File size
594 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v214084
Institution / College
Ewha Womans University – Graduate School of International Studies
Grade
A-
Tags
domestic violence zimbabwe education legislative system

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Title: Domestic Violence in Zimbabwe: Education and Legislative System