Glaudine Coetzee, AfricaNews reporter in Windhoek, Namibia
Forty one percent of Namibian men believe that wife beating is justifiable while 32 percent of women think there is no problem with their husbands beating them.
According to the Niwemang blog post, in Zambia, nearly half of women surveyed said a male partner had beaten them - the highest percentage of nine developing nations surveyed on three continents. About 80% of Zambian wives find it acceptable to be beaten by their husbands "as a form of chastisement", according to the Zambia Demographic Health Survey.
The report said a World Health Organization study has found that while more than a third of Namibian women reported enduring physical or sexual abuse by a male partner, often resulting in injury, six in seven victims had either kept it to themselves or confided only in a friend or relative.
In South Africa, researchers for the Medical Research Council estimated last year that a male partner kills a girlfriend or spouse every six hours - the highest mortality rate from domestic violence ever reported, they say. In Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, domestic violence accounts for more than 6 in 10 murder cases in court, a United Nations report concluded last year.
As part of cultural expectations, women spend a lot of time on unpaid tasks – referred to as the ‘care economy’ - that include chores in the home and subsistence farming, neither of which is recognized and valued as work.
These are some of the concerns raised during a five-day United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Africa Regional Violence against Women Prevention and Response Strategy Development workshop.
“The common belief is that increased levels of education and literacy rates should positively affect gender relations including better interpersonal communication, respect and tolerance - these being the main ingredients that could effectively neutralize Gender Based Violence,” Fabian Byomuhangi, UNFPA Representative in Namibia said.
Byomuhangi said concerns have been raised about GBV and other related social problems such as alcohol and substance abuse. He pointed out that it is for this reason that issues of gender, including GBV are high on the agenda of the UNFPA.
He acknowledged the government’s relentless efforts as well as that of civil society to combat GBV.
The workshop aimed to raise awareness on how the economic crisis is affecting issues of GBV, reproductive health and poverty on the continent.