Kariko: Women stay out of fear

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday 26th March 2013


WOMEN continue to live in abusive relationships for various reasons, including fear for their lives, according to the National AIDS Council secretariat.

Secretariat acting director Dr Moale Kariko said some of the reasons why a woman would not leave a violent partner included:

l Gender roles and lack of family support – women are often expected to stay in marriages and may consider themselves failures if they leave their husbands;

l Concern for her own safety –leaving a violent relationship can be more dangerous than staying;

l Concern for her children’s well-being – women may fear for their children’s safety but in some instances, men are often the financial providers for their families so wo­men feel that they simply cannot support their children on their own;

l Finance – without access to income, a woman’s options for leaving a relationship are often limited depending on available support services;

l Lack of assistance or services – a woman feels ready to leave a violent relationship but may not find support with her family, friends or services to help implement this decision;

l Contradictory feelings – often women love their abusive partner, hoping that he will eventually change. Providers should not judge her decision.

“Women who are in abusive relationships must first recognise the situation they are in then seek help from counselling, welfare, lifeline, meri seif haus or even their churches,” Kariko said.

“It is everyone’s business to discuss gender-based violence and help put a stop to it as it is also linked to the increase in HIV infections when women are sexually assaulted.”

Kariko suggested that customary practices that encourage gender inequality must be addressed as they contribute to the statistics.