Rural women approve of abuse

Four in 10 women said husbands are justified in beating them up for child neglect, says health survey.

Friday January 15 2016

Devolution Principal Secretary Saitoti Torome (left ) and Health Principal Secretary Dr.Nicholas Muraguri at the KICC on January 14,2016 during the launch of the 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey. The report revealed at least four in 10 women in Kenya believe a man is justified in beating up his wife if she neglects their children. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL |

Devolution Principal Secretary Saitoti Torome (left ) and Health Principal Secretary Dr.Nicholas Muraguri at the KICC on January 14,2016 during the launch of the 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey. The report revealed at least four in 10 women in Kenya believe a man is justified in beating up his wife if she neglects their children. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By EUNICE KILONZO
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At least four in 10 women in Kenya believe a man is justified in beating up his wife if she neglects their children.

This is common among women in Rift Valley, at 46 per cent, North Eastern (44.8), and Western (40.5).

However, their counterparts in Nairobi give it a thumbs down, at 13.9 per cent.

Other reasons they give to justify wife-beating are when she denies the husband sex, goes out without telling him, argues with him and the least, being if she burns food.

This is according to the 2014 Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) main report released on Thursday in Nairobi.

Preliminary findings of the survey were released in April last year.

LEVEL OF EDUCATION AND WEALTH

These perceptions, however, decrease with a woman’s increasing level of education and wealth.

The report, at the same time, reveals that there are more teenage mothers in Nyanza, Rift Valley and Coast regions than in Central and North Eastern region.

(READ: Report reveals ‘extensive’ violence against women)

It is particularly common among teenagers in the 15-19 age bracket with no education or from poor households.

The survey shows that prevalence of child bearing ranges from 10 per cent in Central to 22 per cent in Nyanza, followed closely by Rift Valley at 21 per cent.

At the county level, early child-bearing is highest in Samburu, Nyamira, Tana River, West Pokot, Homa Bay, and Narok, and lowest in Murang’a, Nyeri, Embu and Elgeyo Marakwet.

TEENAGE PARENTS

“The proportion of teenagers who have begun child-bearing has not changed since the 2008-2009 KDHS,” Mr George Kichamu from the National Council for Population and Development, said on Thursday during the launch of the report.

On wife-beating, the report found that the attitudes that justify beating are common in rural women and those who are employed but not paid in cash.

Coincidentally men too agree that if a woman neglects children, she should be beaten, but at 27 per cent, to a low of five per cent for burning food.

With them too, as with the women, acceptance of wife-beating decreases with increase in education and wealth.

Men from North Eastern justify wife-beating at 52 per cent compared to 25 per cent in Western.

Mr Samuel Ogola from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said these attitudes have “somewhat improved”.

United Nations Population Fund representative Siddarth Chatterjee, said the attitudes exist because of cultural beliefs that should be discarded.

“The justice system should be able to make such violence unacceptable,”

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