So, six in 10 women are OK with wife beating? Please stab me!
Posted Saturday, January 12 2013 at 00:00
Did all those campaigns condemning violence in homes and the laws protecting women against it go to waste? And who are these six women that are in favour of being battered anyway?
The headline 60% of women say wife beating is okay – report on January 1, in The Daily Monitor, was one way to begin the new year. The story was tweeted more than 50 times and shared on Facebook more than 250 times. Several readers wondered which women these were that were interviewed for this survey.
Six in ten women is a very large number. The reasons that were reportedly given were child neglect, going out without informing the husband, arguing with a spouse, burning food and denying sex. For these reasons, six of every ten women in this country agreed to wife beating.
Surprisingly, about four in ten men said that wife beating was warranted. “If I was really angry, I would maybe lock her in a room and wait for her to calm down enough for a conversation, but I would never beat my wife,” one man said. He is recently married, deeply in love with his wife and looking forward to a lifelong partnership with her. While he doubts the numbers in this Uganda demographic health survey, he also reasons that women tend to “take crap from the men they love.” Women nurse the bruises and cover the scars, and hope that in the end, they will patch everything back to the little heaven it was on the day they decided this was the man that made the sun come out.
The report is very disappointing, even when one tries to understand it and explain female mannerisms and whatnot. In 2010, there was a campaign on domestic violence and there were messages displayed on billboards and at the back of taxis. The messages were directed at men and women, condemning violence in a home. They had faces and stories. They were messages that could make every woman’s ovaries dance in delight. It seemed like there was progress that we were moving from point A where women were property and were disciplined in a home like children, to point B where women were wives and equal partners in a home. It was progress.
Then, there was the Domestic Violence Act 2010, which provided protection to victims and sought to punish the perpetrators. Women were, and still are, protected by the law, and while some people have speculated that it is hard to report such cases to the police, every year Uganda Police Force releases a Crime Report and there are figures for “Death by Domestic Violence” and several other related incidents. But perhaps “domestic violence” is too wide a term to use here when only examining the case of the woman who is okay with being beaten.
This time, it is less about the men and more about an inward turn when women need to ask themselves the role they play in the “crimes against women”. As illustrated by campaigns and reports, this is a serious issue that 60 per cent of the women in this country need to reflect on this year. Make that your resolution.