TOPIC: WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF EDUCATION ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: THE ZIMBABWEAN CASE
Zimbabwe is probably one of the countries in the third world that best illustrates an increase in the rate of gender based violence in recent years. This paper attempts to explore this accession by examining domestic violence as a type of gender based violence perpetrated against women in Zimbabwe. 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 perculia 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 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). Deductions from the same information materials will also be relied upon to explore and explain suggestions to improve the impact of education on domestic violence in Zimbabwe.
The main question that this study seeks to answer is why education attainment has not reduced incidences of domestic violence in Zimbabwe? There are other questions which are answered in this analysis, among which include the following:-
i. What is the situation of domestic violence among educated and non-educated women in Zimbabwe?
ii. Have the legal framework managed to reduce domestic violence incidences?
iii. What is the best strategy of making primary and secondary education more responsive to the need to reduce domestic violence.
FINDINGS EDUCATION LEVEL AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Attitudes towards Wife Beating and Education Levels
The Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey Report (ZDHSR) 2005 to 2006 (2007) sought to find out the numbers of people who justify wife beating under the five situations specified below;
a) If the wife burns food during cooking
b) If the wife argues with the husband
c) If the wife goes out without telling the husband
d) If the wife neglects the children
e) If she refuses sexual intercourse with him
Below is a diagrammatical illustration of 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).
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The above graph 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.
Findings on Physical Violence by Education Level
The ZDHSR (2007:261) also provides data on the estimated percentages of women who experience physical violence per education level. The chart below provides a summary of these statistics;
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