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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/165

Title: For Better For Worse: Social dimensions of marital discord and wife battering in Ghana. The case of Cape Coast.
Authors: Abane, Henrietta (Mrs)
Keywords: Marital discard
marital conflict
wife battery
family violence
Issue Date: 4-Aug-2010
Abstract: The institutions of marriage and the family play important roles in any society. Being human institutions involving social interaction, tensions and conflict have become normal phenomena associated with them. Social change worldwide and gender inequality have intensified these conflicts to the extent that the family is no longer a safe haven for some people, particularly women. In recent years issues of marital discord and violence have attracted some attention. In Ghana, data from FIDA (Ghana) and the Department of Social Welfare as well as some media reports suggest that marital conflict is on the increase. The present study seeks to investigate the nature and prevalence of marital discord and wife battering in Cape Coast, and the extent to which these have been influenced by societal perceptions of gender relations. Marital conflict in the study area was perceived to be related to a wide array of factors which were grouped into five interrelated categories. They are : personal attribute of spouse, domestic family life factors, sociocultural factors, socioeconomic factors, and factors of structural inequality. Out of these groups the most important factors identified by respondents included the following: irritating behaviour of spouses such as drinking, gambling and pilfering, maltreatment of children, presence of stepchildren and other relatives, insufficient housekeeping money, interference from in-laws and other kin, and disagreements over roles and responsibilities by spouses. These according to respondents almost always lead to arguments and verbal assaults which trigger battering in any form. The data indicated that psychological battering of either spouse occurred every now and then. Such battering was expressed in form of denial of sex and other services to a spouse, restriction of physical movements, and making derogatory remarks about one's partner. About a third of the female respondents reported that they had experienced some physical abuse from their husbands. Although no male respondent reported ever being a victim of physical abuse, indications from focus group discussion suggested that this is not confined to only females. In spite of these, battered respondents claimed they still kept their abusive relationships because they were constrained by a network of social, cultural and economic barriers. Much as some respondents reported being victims of battery in their marital relationships some others regarded certain acts of marital abuse to be normal in marriage. Respondents' perceptions of gender relations were explained in terms of cultural factors, family socialization and religious beliefs. These perceptions have informed respondents' relationships to the opposite sex, and which they carried over into marriage. Such perceptions were observed to have influenced the marital conflict behaviour of spouses to some degree. The study has important policy implications for family life and socioeconomic development; and in the light of the findings some recommendations have been made.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/165
Appears in Collections:Department of Sociology and Anthropology

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