"Suffering in silence": a qualitative inquiry of sexual violence against married women in Ghana

Apatinga, Gervin Ane (2019) "Suffering in silence": a qualitative inquiry of sexual violence against married women in Ghana. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Although a global problem, sexual violence against women is more pronounced in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet academic scholarship on this important topic remains scant. In particular, little attention has been given to the lived experiences of sexual violence from the perspective of married women. This gap is problematic as previous studies suggest that sexual violence is commonplace among married than single women in sub-Saharan Africa, requiring immediate research and policy attention. Contributing to the limited but growing body of literature, this study examined the lived experiences and perspectives of married women who suffered sexual violence in the Eastern Region of Ghana, one of the areas with the highest or most prevalent incidents of male-partner violence in the country. A qualitative research approach with Heise’s social-ecological framework was employed to better understand sexual violence in Ghana. Specifically, the study used fifteen qualitative recorded in-depth interviews purposively held with Ghanaian women who had experienced sexual violence in their marriages to answer two main research questions: (1) what are the reasons for married women’s experience of sexual violence? (2) how does sexual violence affect married women? Results from the thematic analysis showed that several driving forces and motivations triggered sexual violence against married women. Some of the reasons participants identified were macro-level and exosystem issues including cultural beliefs about gender division of labour, some traditional marriage practices, poverty and adherence to traditional masculine norms. Other explanations were micro-level and ontogenic issues comprising substance use, past experiences of violence and extramarital sexual affairs on the part of husbands. Due to itsperpetration, participants indicated that women did not experience only sexual violence but also physical violence and verbal violence. The results showed that the experiences of married women following sexual violence and other forms of abuse were physical injuries, psychological problems, sexual, reproductive health problems, and suicidal ideations. These negative health outcomes significantly undermined women’s economic activities and depleted their income. Overall, the findings demonstrate that sexual violence among married women is a chronic experience, with severe implications for their health and well-being. Thus, campaigns against marital violence and domestic abuse should make sexual violence a priority. It is also important that legal and policy frameworks are strengthened to address the aetiology of male-partner sexual violence against women in Ghana.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/13964
Item ID: 13964
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 95-114).
Keywords: Africa, Eastern Region, Ghana, Married Women, Sexual Violence, Violence
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Sociology
Date: August 2019
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Wife abuse--Ghana; Rape in marriage--Ghana

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