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Beliefs and attitudes towards male domestic violence in south kivu

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par Ndabuli Theophile Mugisho
University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa - Master of Commerce in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies 2011

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Mugisho Ndabuli Théophile
209 526 069
A dissertation submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Commerce in
Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies
School of Economics and Finance
Faculty of Management Studies
Supervisor: Dr Sylvia Kaye


I, MUGISHO Ndabuli Théophile, declare that

(i) The research reported in this dissertation, except where otherwise indicated, is my

original research.

(ii) This dissertation has not been submitted for any degree or examination at any

other university.

(iii) This dissertation does not contain other persons' writing, unless specifically

acknowledged as being sourced from other researchers. Where other written sources have been quoted, then:

a) their words have been re-written but the general information attributed to them has been referenced;

b) where their exact words have been used, their writing has been placed inside quotation marks, and referenced.

(iv) This dissertation does not contain text, graphics or tables copied and pasted from

the Internet, unless specifically acknowledged, and the source being detailed in the dissertation and in the references sections.



I humbly dedicate this research to my Beloved Family; that is my dear wife Bahati Valérie, our tender daughter and our lovely son, respectively Jemima Shengamungu and Samuel Mugisho.

Equally, I devote this effort to my late father Laurent Ndabuli and my mother Laurentine M'Nyabagugu who gave me the very first courage and chance to attend school and so discover the scientific world.

Finally, this research is dedicated to all the women of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), particularly those of South Kivu Province who experience their husbands' domestic violence.

With gratitude, respect and love.


I would like to thank and appreciate the different people and establishments that in a way or another encouraged and assisted me in the completion of this dissertation. I primarily am very grateful to the Almighty God who created me and provided me with the strength and the occasion to engage in postgraduate education. I am convinced that without these supports my studies could not have been successful at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

My simple expression cannot fully explain the gratefulness that I am to express to my supervisor, Dr Sylvia Kaye of the aforementioned university. Her untiring intellectual cooperation and friendship throughout this dissertation needs more than many thanks. She courageously assisted me to make this research stimulating and great deal of fun. I thank her from the bottom of my heart for so many constructive corrections and pieces of advice that I acquired from her. In fact, if she was not supportive and committed to this dissertation, it would not be possible for me to write and complete it. Dear Dr Sylvia Kaye, millions of thanks go to you for your understanding and kindness.

In the same vein, I would like to convey my sincere thanks of gratitude to the Academic and Administrative personnel and all professors of University of KwaZulu-Natal in the Faculty of Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution for having taught us the nonviolent methods of seeking and achieving peace and social harmony. As a person living in a community that is greatly affected by domestic violence, the principles of conflict transformation and making peace allowed me and still empower me with the force to work together with people in order to walk towards a culture of peace for providing constructive and assured future to future households and to develop peaceful and united societies in the world and in the DRC in particular.

I am thankful to the South Kivu leadership that allowed me to conduct this research in the province in a safe way. I am also very indebted to the South Kivu men who accepted to participate to this research. Their willingness to spend their time, despite their many occupations, during the different lengthy interviews and to share their personal experience

about beliefs and attitudes of male domestic violence in the province of South Kivu were very important. Without their input, this dissertation would not have been complete.

Last but not least, I am thankful to my dear wife Bahati Valérie, our daughter Jemima Shengamungu and our son Samuel Mugisho; my brothers and friends Aganzemungu Theo, Bahemuka Gedeon, Boney Nyamugege, Byabushi John, Cishugi Nyangezi, Pascal Birindwa, Juvenal Shemamba and many others for their loving and encouraging ways through which they have supported me, shouldered great responsibilities and have borne the heavy consequences of my absence in our family when I used to be far away from them in South Africa attending Summer School activities.

You are all greatly thanked here.

Mugisho Ndabuli Théophile


Domestic violence is a branch of Gender Based Violence (GBV). Domestic violence is directed towards family members, particularly the wife and so it is rampant in the world. This research delves in the beliefs and attitudes towards male domestic violence in South Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It also provides a comprehensive understanding of some different factors, forms, reasons and consequences of such violence in the province.

This research used qualitative approach with focus group and in-depth interviews with adult men in the mentioned province. There were organised two focus groups and two in-depth interviews. Fourteen men participated to these interviews. The researcher selected them with the help of the provincial authorities.

The dynamism of men's beliefs and attitudes towards domestic violence in this province is of paramount importance to understand. The research found that South Kivu men believe that asserting power and masculinity in the family in general, particularly to the wife is their right. This connectivity promotes the widespread of GBV in the province. The participants also revealed that society fosters men's power and masculinity over family members. This actually makes domestic violence become a culture in the area.

In combating domestic violence through means of education, awareness raising and law reinforcement and its fair implementation, families can be harmonious. This is possible if society motivates men to use their power and masculinity in a constructive way, and if the victims are helped to restore their self esteem, regain hope and break the silence.

List of acronyms and abbreviations

AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

CEDAW: Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against


COFAPRI: Congolese Females Action for Promoting Rights and Development

DRC: The Democratic Republic of the Congo

FAO: Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations.

GBV: Gender Based Violence

GLR: Great Lakes Region

HIV: Human Immune Deficiency Virus

HRW: Human Rights Watch

ICRW: The International Centre for Research on Women

IRC: International Rescue Committee

IVAWA: International Violence Against Woman Act

MONUC: Mission des Nations Unies au Congo (United Nations Mission in the Congo)

MSF: Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)

n.d No date

NGOs: Non Governmental Organisations

PTSD: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

STDs: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

SWFW: Safe World For Women

UN: United Nations

UNAIDS: United Nations programme on AIDS.

UNDP: The United Nations Development Programme

UNFPA: The United Nations Population Fund

UNICEF: The United Nations Children's Fund (former United Nations International

Children's Emergency Fund)

UNIFEM: United Nations Development Fund for Women

USA: The United States of America

VAW: Violence Against Women

WFP: World Food Programme

WHO: World Health Organization

WPC: Women Power Connect

WTBTS: Watch Tower Bible Tract Society


Declaration iiDedication iiiAcknowledgments. iv

Abstract viList of acronyms and abbreviations. viiTable of contents ix


1.1 The context and research rationale 1

1.2 Brief presentation of South Kivu province 3

1.2.1 Geographical situation 3

1.2.2 Historical situation 6

1.2.3 Cultural situation .7

1.3 Problem statement 9

1.4 Global objectives and specific aims 10

1.5 Structure of the research 11

1.6 Population of the study 12

1.7 Difficulties encountered 13


2.1 Introduction 14

2.2 Overview on violence 14

2.3 Theoretical framework 15

2.4 Domestic violence 17

2.4.1 Definition 17

2.4.2 Forms of domestic violence 17 Domestic emotional violence. 18 Domestic physical violence 19 Domestic sexual violence 19 Domestic economic violence 21 Domestic spiritual violence 21

2.4.3 Grounds for domestic violence 22 Cultural imbalance and social customs 22 Abuser's emotions 23 Abuser's past history 23 Media and parents negligence 23 Substance abuse 24 Influence of sports 25

2.4.4 Effects of domestic violence . 25 Social effects .. 25 Effects on the victim . 26 Health effects 26 Sexual effects 27 Economic effects . 27 Damage on marriage 27 Effects on children 28

2.4.5 Culture of domestic violence . 28

2.5 Prevalence of domestic violence . 29

2.6 Link between masculinity, power and GBV 30

2.7 Conclusion . 32


3.1 Introduction... 33

3.2 Approaches for data collection and procedure 33

3.2.1 Approaches for data collection 33 Documentary approach 35 Focus group 36 In-depth interviews 37

3.2.2 Procedure 39

3.3 Sample . 41

3.4 Data analysis 42

3.5 Ethical issues. .... 44

3.6 Limitations of the research 45

3.7 Conclusion... 46


4.1 Introduction . 47

4.2 Sample characteristics 48

4.3 Key determinants of males' beliefs and attitudes 48

4.3.1 Society 48

4.3.2 Masculinity. 57

4.3.3 Power assertion 59

4.4 Men's beliefs of domestic violence. 61

4.4.1 Women like abusive men. 61

4.4.2 Women attract violence on themselves. 63

4.4.3 No woman can leave her home because of violence. 65

4.4.4 Women fear to divulge husbands' abuse. 68

4.5 Men's attitudes of domestic violence. 70

4.5.1 Men support domestic violence. 70

4.5.2 Friends' pressure and domestic violence. 73

4.5.3 Dowry entitlement and domestic violence. 78

4.5.4 Domestic violence is man's self protection... 79

4.6 Conclusion 81


5.1 Research synopsis. 83

5.2 Recommendations. 87

5.2.1 To the government. 87

5.2.2 To community. 87



Appendix 1: Focus group and in-depth interviews... 102

Appendix 2: South Kivu authority permission to conduct research 103

Appendix 3: Interviewees' forms of consent. 104

Appendix 4: Protocol reference letter 107


1.1 The context and research rationale

The spread of violence, domestic assault towards women in particular, in the South Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), results in severe outcomes. The domestic abuse that is directed towards women in this province is shocking and unreported, so much so that it has become the tradition of the whole country as well as its provinces, including South Kivu. Based on the writings of Mirindi (2007:54), we learn that Gender Based Violence (GBV), in its form called domestic violence, remains widely undocumented because most of the victims, who are women, are reluctant to tell of the abuse they experienced in their homes. Congruent with Hatari (1999:98), the household members who are abused cannot report the assault since they are scared of the imminent reprisal of the abusers and fear to break social traditions. This implies that the victim will not be supported by the social justice in place. In other words, the abuser will not be sanctioned as the justice system in this area believes this is a domestic issue that concerns the couple and therefore, not a crime. However, Strongman cited in Mirindi (2007:63), concludes that South Kivu domestic violence towards women alone covers 12% of the abuses that are committed against people countrywide and 92% of the abusers are men responsible for households.

The prevalence of domestic violence infers that any person in the home may either perpetrate or suffer it; but in most cases husbands are to blame (Boonzaier, 2008:67). Despite this opinion, some women abusers exist, though in small numbers, who assault their husbands and other members of the family.

Many writers have investigated the kinds of violence men cause women in the home, but fewer have dealt with men's beliefs and attitudes regarding domestic violence in South Kivu (Hatari, 1999:103). This indicates the clearly disparate balance of social power between men and women, and the unfair social power depicts men's domination in households and the development of social behaviours. According to Leonard and Quigley (1999:78), men acquire and strengthen behaviours in order to endow themselves with defensive arguments for their abusive manners. It is in this context that GBV is fostered in order to hinder the rights of the victims.

The DRC so called liberation war of 1996 was headed by the former president Laurent Désiré Kabila. In 2001, he was assassinated and his son Joseph Kabila succeeded him. As these wars have never stopped during both regimes, their atrocities grew in the context of violence.

People have been killed, others taken hostages; infrastructures looted if not destroyed or burned and the ecosystem immensely devastated. These wars' aftermaths were odious and the most serious one that is still prevalent in the country is the problem of GBV. As for Cherie (2006), the `consequences of these wars mostly affected the eastern province: at least 40,000 female civilians have been raped over the past ten years that the DRC conflict lasted'.

Although the above figure represents the whole country, the United Nations reports 27,000 sexual assaults in South Kivu province alone (UNAIDS, 2005-2006). This situation depicts how GBV is used as a weapon of women destruction; it is used to destroy the social fabric that women work tirelessly to maintain. Besides, UNFPA (2006) reveals that more than half a million of women have been raped; thus the DRC becomes the capital of rape on the planet and leading to the most horrendous rape of the world. As a result, Barron (1990:104) describes how women were publicly and atrociously gang raped and had bayonets inserted into their genitals. The same writer reveals that `many more others have had guns shot inside them, destroying their lower bodies, mutilated and gravely wounded'. Even baby girls have never been safe with this violence; they also have been raped pitilessly. The victims of these atrocities suffered tremendously physical and psychological wounds. Although formally the warfare ended in 2003, violence and particularly GBV continued in the eastern part of the country.

Looking at the risks of GBV, the facts are persuasive. Research conducted by UNAIDS (2007) show that there is a direct link between DRC conflict and GBV. This said, women and girls who were raped got unwanted pregnancies, contaminated HIV, were vaginally wounded and suffered psychological trauma. According to Hatari (1999:32), in South Kivu alone, HIV infection among females who are victims of GBV is up to three times higher if compared to

women and girls who have not been subjected to aggressive behaviours. In addition, some men benefited of the situation of war to apply GBV in their homes. Ongala (1993:51) confirms that the DRC conflict has affected households as women who were raped were repudiated by their husbands. Other women who were gang raped several times could not return to their families once they have been released by the rapists for fear of shame and social blame.

The present research centres on the beliefs and attitudes of carefully selected groups of men in order to learn more about the issue of domestic violence against women in South Kivu. For men, the culture of domestic violence greatly favours them in asserting power in their households. Since most men have control of everything that happens in their households, Barron (1990:97) notes that significant progress of scaling down domestic abuse can take place only if their beliefs and attitudes are taken into consideration; this particularly concerns men's opinions about the steps to take in order to bring peace in the homes, which is a good reason for eschewing domestic violence. The subsection below concisely presents the South Kivu province to the reader.

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