ABUSE AND ITS’ PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT ON WOMEN AMONG ABAGUSII COMMUNITY OF KENYA

ABSTRACT
Abuse is an extremely complex phenomenon, deeply rooted in gender-based power relations. In the Abagusii community, women abuse has been and is still taking place. Quite a number of women are left either physically injured or some die out of the same. This has brought a major set-back to development within this society. Abuse includes physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse. This study was descriptive survey which was meant to find out the forms of abuse, the causes of abuse and the psychological impact of abuse. The purpose of the study included determining the forms of abuse, the causes of abuse, physical and the psychological impact of abuse. This study covered three districts and it involved a total population 14,800 women in and outside marriage with a sample of 120 respondents. Three administrative divisions were selected from three districts covering the Abagusii community; Kisii Central, Gucha District and Nyamira district. The main tool for data collection was a questionnaire. It was administered to both married and unmarried women. The data was analyzed descriptively using frequency tables, means and percentages. The research was meant to help the Kenyans soceity and other agents working in the country to recognize that women abuse was and still a serious problem impending development as well as violating human right issues of its victims, particularly women. This was also meant to create awareness of the vice. The findings indicated that several forms of abuse exists in the Abagusii community which were due to inequality between men and women, patterns of using violence to resolve conflicts, male authority and control of decision making and transgression of gender roles. The research also revealed that abuse is accompanied with a number of psychological impact; which include stress disorders, depression, anxiety and suicide attempt. To reduce the abuse, workshops and campaigns should be held to promote human rights education to empower women, eliminate laws that discriminate against women, strengthen women in decision-making and leadership and increase women’s access to and control of economic resource. Women should be educated through workshops and campaigns to help improve their self-esteem and sense of personal power. Abuse occurs in all social economics and educational classes. However, consistent list of events do cause abuse, which constitute transgression of gender norms, more so in defining proper roles and responsibilities of men and women.

CHAPTER ONE:
INTRODUCTION
Background Information
Abuse is any deliberate behaviour which is geared towards hurting another person (Population Report, 1990). It is a term used to describe a variety of actions that occurred in society relationships. The term is used narrowly to cover incident to physical attacks. It may take the form of physical and sexual violation, such as punching, chocking, stabbing, burning with water and acid, or setting a blaze, the results of which can range from bruising to death. Abuse also includes psychological or mental abuse which consist of repeated verbal abuse, harassment, confinement and deprivation of physical, financial and personal resources. (United Nations, 1990).

The above forms of abuse exist in the Abagusii community where quite a number of women both married and single are affected. This is because of sex roles prescribed by the Abagusii culture which perceives women as domestic slaves in disguise. Barrenness for instance, results in blaming each other and often it is the women who get the blunt end of the deal. Fights especially in Abagussii community also arise from sex of the children, often with the bias towards preference of male children. Parenting and control of children causes misunderstanding and fights break up. Another cause of abuse is infidelity, where one of the partners engages in extra marital affairs, jealousy is aroused in the other and is followed by aggression. Drugs and alcohol are other causes of abuse with these communities which sometimes lead to serious beating or even killing.

While Abuse has several consequences for the affected, it is a social problem that warrants an immediate co-ordinated response from multiple sectors. Many cultures have beliefs, norms and social institutions that legitimize and therefore perpetuate women abuse. In many societies children learn that males are dominant and that abuse is an acceptable means of asserting power and resolving conflicts; (UN Assembly declaration on elimination of violence, 1993). Women as mothers and mothers-in –law unwittingly perpetuate violence by socializing girls and boys to accept male dominance and by yielding to male demand throughout life. In some courts, men who confess to murdering their wives are acquitted in the name of legitimate defense of honour (Population Report, 1999), and most cases end up with little or no punishment at all.

According to World Bank (Discussion paper, 1997) most studies on violence against women reveal the following: The perpetrators of abuse are almost exclusively men. In most societies 80- 90% of homicide offenders are male (Gartner & McCarthy, 1991). Women are at greatest risk of abuse from men known to them. Contrary to the view of the family as a haven of love and support, data from around the world suggest that women are at greater risk of abuse in their homes than anywhere else.

In the Abagusii community physical abuse in relationships is almost always accompanied by severe psychological and verbal abuse. Those who work with victims of abuse report that women often consider psychological abuse and humiliation more devastating than physical assault (Casey, 1988). In abuse, nearly 50% of the abusers are not mentally ill, contrary to common perception. Studies of abusive men in the United States indicates that few exhibit diagnosable psychopathology (Mairo, 1988) and among those who do, there is no consistent pattern of illness (Bograd, 1984).

Statement of the Problem
In the Abagusii community, women abuse is a paradox, because it occurs where people maintain intimacy and experience the greatest emotional support in their relationships. A number of women are abused physically, sexually, financially and even psychologically. This leaves them physically injured or death. The extent and magnitude of abuse cannot be precisely measured because there are many cases where victims fail to report. The few cases reported are only known either to area assistant chiefs or village elders, who normally settle them at village level. Abuse leads to a number of psychological problems such as suicide attempt, stress, resulting to divorce, leading to single parent families and interferes with economic growth at society level. However there is no documented evidence about abuse in the Abagusii community. Therefore it is crucial that detail scientific research be conducted to establish forms of abuse, causes and psychological impact of abuse.

Purpose of Study
The study was aimed at investigating abuse and its psychological impact on women in Abagusii community, Kenya. It also examined various forms of abuse, their causes and psychological impact, besides ways of promoting non-violent relationships in the community.

Objectives of the Study
This research had the following objectives;

i. To determine the forms of abuse against women among the Abagusii community.

ii. To establish the causes of abuse against women among the Abagusii community.

iii. To assess the psychological impact of abuse against women among Abagusii community

iv. To determine prevalence rates of abuse against women among the three Abagusii districts.

Research Questions
i. What were the forms of abuse against women among the Abagusii community?

ii. What were the causes of abuse against women in the Abagusii community?

iii. What were the psychological impact of abuse against women among Abagusii Community?

iv. What were the prevalence rates of abuse against women among the three districts of Abagusii community?

Significance of the Study
Abuse against women affects woman’s health in that it snaps woman’s energy, compromising their physical health and eroding their self-esteem. This study might contribute to existing knowledge by giving more information and creating awareness about the forms and causes of abuse. The research might help the Kenyans and other agents working in the country to recognise that abuse in society is a serious problem impeding development as well as violating human rights issues of its victims, particularly women. It might help women and society in general to realize their rights and know how to promote non-violent relationships.

Scope and Limitations of the Study
In terms of location, the study was done in three divisions; Masaba division, Rigoma division and Ogembo division each from a different district within the Abagusii community. This gave a total of 120 respondents. The study was meant to investigate the forms of abuse, their causes and psychological impact of abuse. It was not possible to collect information from every division in Abagusii community due to insufficient resources.

Assumptions of the Study
In the study, the researcher made the following assumptions:

i. The respondents gave true and honest responses.

ii. All women in the Abagusii community have undergone abuse at some stage in life.

iii. The factors identified in the sampled divisions were identical to other divisions in the Abagusii community.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 56 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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