Karugahe, Wilbur (2016) Domestic Violence in a Post-Conflict African Setting: A study of gender and role on personality, coping styles, attitudes to coercion and self-reported victimization in a Ugandan urban sample. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Domestic violence has been gradually increasing globally with developing countries across Sub-Saharan Africa being the most affected (WHO, 2013). Uganda, in particular, ranks highest in relation to the incidence of domestic violence (UNICEF, 2000). This situation led to the enactment of the first domestic violence legislation in the country, the Domestic Violence Act, 2010; this makes domestic violence a crime and is particularly focused on reducing violence to women (Uganda GBV Guidelines, 2013). Women make up the majority of victims of domestic violence in Uganda and are subject to gender inequality within a patriarchal society that particularly disadvantages them. However, the argument of this thesis is firstly, although there are strong cultural factors implicated in violence against women, notably practices of wife inheritance, forced marriage and societal sanctioning of wife beating, there has been an over-reliance on cultural explanations for the problem (Bowman, 2006, Speizer, 2010) at the expense of exploring psychological factors. It is argued that understanding psychological issues related to domestic violence is particularly important in post-conflict settings since the literature shows that wars and violence at the societal level often get played out in the domestic sphere and can contribute significantly to the generation of psychological harm and personality issues (Saunders et al., 1999). Victims often use different coping behaviours-strategies to protect themselves from negative feelings and thoughts (Fritsch & Warrier, 2004) but what remains unclear is how both genders engage coping styles. Secondly, in an attempt to address the needs of women as victims, policy and practice in Uganda has failed to recognise the way that women can contribute to the victimisation of other women (particularly relevant in a context in which polygamous households and co-wives are normative) and also to men, who in such a patriarchal society may experience difficulties acknowledging victimhood and seeking help. Using non-coercive questionnaires administered to 60 victims and 60 perpetrators of both genders in an urban area in Uganda, this study aimed to explore the relationship, impact of gender and role in domestic violence based sub-scales on: attitudes to coercion (private matter, men’s right to control, women exaggerate, women’s behaviour used to justify, no big deal), self-reported victimisation (physical, psychological and sexual, personality traits (neuroticism, extroversion and psychoticism) and coping styles (problem solving, social support and avoidance). Participants faking good (Lie) was controlled as a covariate according to Francis et al, 1999. This quantitative study employed 2x2 factorial design [gender vs role]. MANCOVA analysis was used to test hypotheses on differences and interactions and a Pearson product moment correlation analysis was conducted to test hypotheses on group relationships. Since results can be significant by chance, as recommended by Pallant 2013 p.217 this study applied Bonferroni correction-adjustment to the alpha levels which are used to judge statistical significance on 14 dependent variables.
The findings revealed statistically significant role (victim and perpetrator) differences but no major gender differences. Results also revealed no interaction and no effect between gender and role on all aforementioned dependent variables. However, there were statistically significant correlational findings based on role as (victims and perpetrators) and gender for (males and females) on most sub-scales on attitude to coercion, self-reported victimisation and coping styles except personality traits. The only significant correlations for personality traits were between perpetrators neuroticism trait scores and psychological violence. Overall, exploring the psychological behaviour patterns, the study provides insights into the psychological characteristics of victims and perpetrators of both genders in the Ugandan sample.
These results were then compared with western published studies and both commonalities and differences were identified. Studying the responses of both male and female victims and perpetrators represents the first such research in a post-conflict African context and makes a significant contribution to knowledge. Though specific to Uganda, the study findings point to the need for a greater awareness of the significance of psychological factors in exploring domestic violence in Africa, especially in countries where the population has been exposed to violence at a societal level, such as war. Furthermore, a major contribution is made by this study in its conclusion that there is need for a gender sensitive approach to domestic violence
in African context, one that takes account of the differential needs of men and women as both victims and perpetrators. Finally, in opening up psychological explanations for domestic violence in addition to cultural factors and gender inequality, the way is paved for a synergistic approach for addressing domestic violence –one which addresses these as interlinking elements of the problem requiring simultaneous attention.

Wilber_Karugahe_PhD_Thesis_4.4.16.pdf - Accepted Version
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