Determinants of Physical Violence on Married Women by Their Spouses In Kisii County, Kenya
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Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Kenya is an endemic that has affected the lives of women across the country. Violence against women can cause long-term physical and mental health problems. Violence and abuse affect not just the women involved but also their children, fami-lies, and communities. These effects include harm to an individual’s health, possibly long-term harm to children, and harm to communities such as lost work and homelessness. As a result many initiatives have been carried out to understand the cause and response strategies. However such initiative have failed to examine physical violence across the country in a mode detailed way. The study sought to find out the determinants of physical violence on married women by their spouses in Kisii County. The objectives of the study were to; establish causes of physical violence on married women by their spouses; determine coping strategies adopted by married women undergoing physical violence by their spouses; and identify the strategies that can be adopted to eliminate physical violence on married women by their spouses. This study was guid-ed by the radical feminist theory and the frustration-aggression theory. The study employed both exploratory and descriptive research designs. The study site was at Masaba South Sub-County, Kisii County, with target population of the study being the married women who had experienced physical violence by their spouses. In addition, targeted in the study were key informants who included chiefs, church leaders and community leaders. The study used purposive sampling technique to select married women who had experienced physical violence. The study targeted 86 women and 6 key informants, however, 65 women and 6 key informants took part in the study. On the collection of data from the respondents, guided questionnaires were administered to the key informants while interview guides were administered to the married women as the main data collection tools. The study findings revealed that the causes of spousal physical vio-lence against the married women included; financial hardship/dependence on their husbands, al-coholism, Partriachial structure that govern the community and households; lack of respect for their husbands; infidelity and jealousy. The study established that the coping strategies on physi-cal violence used by married women included; use of church for psychosocial support; seeking assistance from supportive family members and friends; temporary escape from their marriages and; enduring and accepting physical violence as normal part of life. The study also revealed that the strategies to eliminate physical violence on married women were; empowering women eco-nomically and educating them; enforcement of existing laws and measures that protect violence against women; involving men in efforts to end physical violence on women and; encouraging victims of physical violence to stand out and speak out. The study recommended that a multi-sectoral approach that involves victims of physical abuse, perpetrators of physical violence, community members, church leaders, national government, Kisii county government, non-governmental organizations, media, police, criminal justice, should be put in place in eliminating spousal physical violence on married women.