BRAZZAVILLE, 12 February (IRIN) -
In an effort to better understand and improve the status and quality of
life of women in the Republic of Congo, the government has begun the compilation
of data on violence against women country-wide.
With the support of the UN Population Fund, the government's Direction generale de la promotion de la femme et de l'integration de la femme au developpement issued a report on 8 February detailing the findings of a nationwide study of attitudes towards and incidences of violence against women.
Of the 1,541 Congolese who participated in the study, most were found to have a "good idea" of what constituted violence against women, and said such acts constituted legal crimes. However, among men who admitted to having committed violence against women, nearly one-third - 32.5 percent - said women were responsible for it because of their "bad behaviour".
The study found that the primary types of violence against women included forcible sexual relations, intimidation, physical beatings, and psychological abuse.
As for how the respondents learned about the issue of violence against women, the study found that the most prevalent means included traditional mechanisms, such as among one's family or community members. Surprisingly, only a small percentage of respondents - less than 10 percent in total - cited organisations mandated to combat violence against women as their source of information.
To prevent violence against women, the study made a number of recommendations, including the enactment of more effective laws to protect women and better application of laws already in existence; promoting literacy among women; creating shelters for victims; promoting public education on the issue of violence against women; translating into local languages documents on violence against women; supporting both technically and financially organisations working to prevent violence against women; and teaching women not to accept the blame or inevitability of such violence.
The study was conducted in the cities of Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, Dolisie, Nkayi, Madingou, Sibiti, Boko, Ouesso, Owando, Ewo, Djambala and Impfondo.
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