“African nations are failing the female population…”
Only 21 out of 53 nations on the continent have laws against wife beating. In rural communities in Malawi, an older man of the community is appointed to be the “Village Hyena….” A term is given to a man whose responsibility is to open the door of sexuality to young girls and teenagers.
In KwaZulu Natal, South Africa young girls must undergo and pass virginal tests in order to qualify for a scholarship. In South Sudan, young girls are given to soldiers as sexual favors, which ultimately means forced rape.
These are just a few examples of an incredibly complex problem that spans ideologies, traditions, beliefs in witchcraft, corruption and decades of practices that prevent a narrow one size fits all solution. For example, there is a deep cultural belief in Nigeria that it is socially acceptable to hit and beat a woman to discipline a spouse.
Also, Nigerian women often face physical violence at the hands of their family members. The most common forms of physical violence include rape, murder, slapping, and kicking.
To challenge such deeply ingrained cultural beliefs has to begin with education in order to combat the ignorance that could frame such a practice in the first place.
When 90 percent of women polled in Guinea believe a man is justified in beating his wife (if she’s done something wrong), it illuminates the need for education on this matter. Education breeds negotiation and negotiation inspires assertiveness to combat violent behavior.
The news for the foreseeable future on the continent is not all bad. From South Africa to the Congo to Uganda, voices are now being raised to fight sexual and domestic violence against women.
Education and the literacy it induces hold the key for men and especially women to broaden their perspective to the reality of this form of violence, to embolden their opposition to it and become the lynchpin to reverse the past and change the future for the better for generations to come.
Music ~ “AFRICA” by Russel Blake