Introduction: The under-denunciation remains shrill among victims linked to socio-cultural constraints in the face of the predominance of domestic abuse. A descriptive analysis of the epidemiological and clinical dimensions of domestic violence and the experiences of victims in Senegal is the purpose of this research.
Methodology: A mixed procedure was done. The information was compiled from the 2006 to 2015 court reports of female victims of physical and/or sexual assault. It also included female victims of physical and/or sexual abuse at the hands of their husbands who had a court record in one of the high courts of Senegal during this time. For the analysis, all records that met the inclusion criteria were chosen and the information was analyzed using Epi Info 3.3.2. There was a qualitative empirical analysis conducted. The victims were the sample population. In order to gather victims’ experiences of violence, individual interview guides have been made. Content analysis aided by thematic analysis was performed with the program Iramuteq.
Results: The average age of the victims was 30.6 ± 10.1 years, according to the court reports of 148 female victims of domestic abuse. Over 3⁄4 (76.4%) of the victims were housekeepers, of whom 82.4% were uneducated. The average age of the offenders was 40.4 ± 11.4 years and, in 47.3% of cases, they were self-employed in the informal sector. Moreover, more than 3⁄4 (78.4 percent) of the suspects were uneducated. Eleven women were raped while pregnant (8 percent of the victims). Physical violence was prevalent (95.3%), whereas sexual assault-related violence accounted for 4.7% of instances. Of the 7 cases of sexual violence reported, 3 were cases of unwanted sexual intercourse and all cases of physical violence were cases of battery and assault. In 81.8 percent of cases, the abuse occurred at the perpetrators’ house. Victims obtained treatment and care within 24 hours or less in 84.7 percent of the cases. 73 percent of the victims showed clinical lesions. Contusions, hematomas and penetrating wounds were the most common, comprising 23.1%, 19.4% and 13.9% of cases, respectively. The key aggressor, the husband, is at the center of all forms of abuse. He beats his wife, for instance (physical violence), he abuses his wife (verbal abuse), or he refuses to have sex with his partner. Sometimes, women hide the abuse experienced by those around them for fear of divorce and deny any denunciation.
CONCLUSION: Despite the low number of cases reported in the justice system over the past ten years, there has been a lot more violence without the victims being condemned. Therefore, it seems necessary to increase community understanding and crack socio-cultural barriers that obstruct the recognition of the rights of women in the couple.
Mamadou Makhtar Mbacké Leye
Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar, Senegal.
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