Segregation Shapes Violence Against Women
|Homeless women and children in Darfur in western Sudan.|
Around 46% of women in Africa have experienced either non-partner sexual violence or physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner, or both.
Physical violence meant the woman had been: slapped, or had something thrown at her; pushed or shoved; hit with a fist or something else that could hurt; kicked, dragged or beaten up; choked or burnt; threatened with or had a weapon used against her.
Sexual violence meant the woman had: been physically forced to have sexual intercourse; had sexual intercourse because she was afraid of what her partner might do; been forced to do something sexual she found degrading or humiliating. In Ethiopia, of women who had ever experienced physical violence by a partner, 19% had been injured at least once.Among the main injuries were abrasions or bruises in 39% of women who had been injured, sprains and dislocations 22%, injuries to eyes and ears 10%, fractures 18%, and broken teeth 6%. In 2016, the Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey sampled close to 5,000 women aged 15-49 from all the nine regions and two city administrations of Ethiopia and 47% of girls aged 15-19 said they had undergone FGM .
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), approximately 1.7 to 1.8 million women reported having been raped in their lifetime. Access to maternal health services is still a challenge so that childbirth remains a potential threat to the life of women: Over 200,000 women in Africa still die each year giving birth.
Of the women who sought help after experiencing physical violence by a partner 39% of the women had never talked to anyone about the physical violence. Few abused women asked formal agencies or authorities for help. The most often mentioned were local leaders 15%, health services 4%, police 2% and the courts 1%. Among those women who did not seek help, 53% said they feared the consequences or had been threatened, and 37% said they considered the violence normal or not serious.
Women’s lack of voice in decisions that concern their lives is at the center of many of these issues. In Malawi and DRC, for example, 34% and 28% of married women respectively are not involved in decisions about spending their earnings. At the same time, women, forming a particularly vulnerable sub-group, head 26% of households in Africa.
The number of youth in Africa is growing rapidly, presenting both opportunities and risks with 50% of the population in the region are under 25 years of age. By 2050, Africa will have 362 million people aged between 15 and 24. This rapid increase contrasts starkly with the Middle East and North Africa, where increases in the size of this cohort have steadied, and even with East Asia, where numbers are dominated by China and the size of this cohort is expected to fall from 350 million in 2010 to 225 million by 2050.
Due to the size of the population, Africa has a high rate of female entrepreneurship at 33%, speaking to the potential and resilience of women in the region, which can contribute to an acceleration in the development of the African continent. With the right sexual violence and physical violence policies and teaching programs in place, a young population offers tremendous opportunities to end the violence against women in Africa.
Segregation based on gender can lead to lower social standing, often accompanied by a lower standard of living in terms of income, access to employment and services, and a voice in both national and local decision making.
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