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Journal cover: Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research

ISSN: 1759-6599

Online from: 2009

Subject Area: Health and Social Care

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Wife-battering and traditional methods of its control in contemporary Datoga pastoralists of Tanzania

Document Information:
Title:Wife-battering and traditional methods of its control in contemporary Datoga pastoralists of Tanzania
Author(s):Marina L. Butovskaya, (Head of Department at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Moscow, Russia)
Citation:Marina L. Butovskaya, (2012) "Wife-battering and traditional methods of its control in contemporary Datoga pastoralists of Tanzania", Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, Vol. 4 Iss: 1, pp.28 - 44
Keywords:Aggression, Conflict management, Co-wives, Datoga pastoralists of Tanzania, Fine payment, Tanzania, Wife-battering
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/17596591211192975 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The research was supported by RFHR (grants 08-01-00015a and 1101-00287e), and FRBR (grant 10-06-00010a, with permission from COSTECH of the Republic of Tanzania). The author is grateful to her students, Valentina Burkova and Michael Drambjan, and local assistant, Momoya Merus, for their help. She gives many thanks to her Datoga friends for their tolerance, collaboration, and understanding that made this study possible. She is also highly grateful to John Archer and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and useful advice on the improvement of the manuscript first version.

Purpose – The main goal of this project is to study the wife-battering in one of the traditional groups of semi-nomadic herders of Eastern Africa, the Datoga of Northern Tanzania.

Design/methodology/approach – The study examines wife-battering among the Datoga pastoralists of Tanzania. The interviews with 142 women provide the information on types and regularity of wife-beating in the Datoga. Data were collected by means of interviews. Women were asked if they quarreled with husbands or had ever been beaten by them. If the answer was positive, a woman was asked for details of the physical violence and post-conflict interactions between the spouses and with relatives from the wife's side.

Findings – According to these data, wife-battering is a widespread practice among the traditionally-living Datoga of Northern Tanzania – 47.19 percent of women in this study said that they had been beaten by husbands and of these, 14.79 percent stated that they had been injured by husbands. Aggression between spouses was highly asymmetrical; women were never trying to aggress back. The culture-specific mechanisms of coping with wife-battering were found to be still effective nowadays. The woman's father or brother is able to reprimand her husband for misbehavior and to demand a fine for the woman herself and for her relatives.

Research limitations/implications – Current research is limited by sample size, as well as due to the fact that interviews were mainly conducted with wives only.

Practical implications – Cultural mechanisms of control over wife-battering should be taken into consideration by local officials, while developing violence-reduction programs.

Social implications – While discussing wife-battering issues, cultural norms and mechanisms of conflict resolution should be considered even though information has been collected in a modern, urban environment.

Originality/value – The severity and frequency of wife-battering in Datoga is positively related to the number of co-wives, as well as to the history of a woman's physical aggression. To social workers and governmental organizations dealing with conflicts between spouses in multiethnic communities, it should be important to take the cultural context and to look for traditional mechanisms of conflict resolution, if such mechanisms are available.

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