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News release

Kenyans oppose the use of physical discipline against women, but see gender-based violence as a private matter

2 Aug 2022 Kenya
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News release
Key findings
  • About eight in 10 Kenyans (81%) say it is “never justified” for a man to physically discipline his wife (Figure 1).
  • Women are more likely than men to condemn the use of physical force against women (88% vs. 75%).
  • GBV ranks first among the most important women’s-rights issues that Kenyans want their government and society to address (cited by 35%), followed by unequal access to education (21%), unequal opportunities for pay in the work place (14%), and too few women in influential positions in government (14%) (Figure 2).
  • About seven in 10 Kenyans say violence against women is “not very common” (39%) or “not at all common” (29%). Three in 10 (31%) say it is a common occurrence (Figure 3).
  • More than two-thirds (68%) of Kenyans say domestic violence is a private matter that needs to be handled and resolved within the family rather than as a criminal matter (Figure 4). Only 29% believe it should be seen as a criminal matter that requires the involvement of law enforcement agencies.

Kenyans overwhelmingly oppose the use of physical discipline against women, the latest Afrobarometer survey shows.

Gender-based violence (GBV) constitutes the most important women’s-rights issue that the government and the country must address, according to survey respondents. But many citizens say GBV is not a common occurrence and should be treated as a private matter to be resolved within the family rather than as a criminal matter.

Although most citizens believe that the police take reported cases of GBV seriously, many also think community members will criticise or harass complainants for seeking help from the police.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has reiterated the government’s commitment to end all forms of GBV by the year 2030.