Four out of 10 young girls, aged 15-19, believe a man is right to hit his wife if she burns his food, argues with him, goes out without telling him, neglects the children or refuses to have sex.

This was made known in the 2015 Africa scorecard on violence against women and girls – highlighting male and female attitudes to gender based violence – released by Africa health, human and social development information service (Afri-Dev. Info) and Africa coalition on maternal newborn & child health.

The statistics reveal that females, particularly young girls, are more tolerant of violence meted out to people of their sex.

As shown in the research, 35% Nigerian females, aged 15- 49, believe that a man is justified to hit his wife if she burns his food or refuses to have sex with him. When it came down to males, the research revealed that men were more opposed to violence against women with a considerable less percentage of 25% of men, aged 15-49, justifying violence against women .

The research did not reveal what percentage of men, aged 15-19, justify violence against women.

According to the researchers, in summary, “violence against girls and women – the most stark, blatant, brutal, unambiguous and disempowering manifestation of gender inequality – has not been eradicated in Africa – but rather is currently at epidemic proportions, is institutionalised, and profoundly entrenched”.

“In a deeply worrying sign for the future – current data underlines that violence against women and girls in Africa – is now as deeply ingrained amongst African adolescent boys, as it is in adult men.”

What is more worrying, however, is that women and young girls have socialised to accept violence against themselves.

“Even more disturbingly for gender equality, women’s health, human security and development – higher percentages of African girls and women in more countries – have been negatively socialised and indoctrinated to accept and justify violence against (themselves) as normal and acceptable,” Afri dev lamented.

“The institutionalised indoctrination and socialisation of millions of African girls and women to accept violence against themselves as normal – significantly driven by widespread, state-sanctioned or state-tolerated abuse and exploitation of minors through underage and forced ‘marriages’ amongst other reasons – represents great danger to women’s citizenship, constitutional and human rights, and also to Africa’s wider and long term sustainable development.”


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