Domestic violence and men’s work output in Kawempe Division, Kampala District
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Domestic violence is a term used to describe a “range of sexually, psychologically, and physically coercive acts” or threats thereof used against one or both partners in an intimate relationship. In this dissertation, domestic violence is used synonymously with abuse, and encompasses physical, sexual and psychological (or emotional) violence. This violence is often referred to as battering or intimate partner violence (in the context where such violence occurs in intimate relationships). The classification of domestic violence is merely a theoretical construct, as the different types of violence are not easy to separate from one another (Wijma et al 2004). For instance physical violence may have emotionally abusive aspects. Likewise, physical abuse is often associated with emotional or psychological violence and sexual abuse is closely linked with physical abuse (Heise et al 1999; Krug et al 2004). The differences in definition and nomenclature have implications on research on violence. There is a wealth of research dealing with the issue of domestic violence, especially violence against women and Uganda is no exception to that. Several newspapers are headlined with gruesome details of battered women and a number of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have come out advocating against this violence and highlighting the societal evils of domestic violence. Though there is a wealth of knowledge and advocacy on domestic violence, violence against men is rarely mentioned, if not, discarded, and this male violence denial is reinforced by the patriarchal culture which emphasizes that “men should behave like men” thus should not report. The purpose of this study, therefore, is to get a detailed understanding of domestic violence inflicted upon men and how this violence impacts on their work output in their day to day accomplishment of workplace targets and duties. To achieve this, a cross-sectional study was carried out in Kawempe division of Kampala district, comprising of 50 respondents. These included both men who were victims and survivors of domestic violence, purposively selected from the general population. Among the key informants included; Counselors, police officers, probation officers, local leaders, religious leaders, employers, domestic violence NGOs, legislative officials, and judicial officials. The main tools of data collection included semi-structured questionnaires, key informant guides and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) among others. The findings indicated that two thirds (61.5%) of the respondents stated that domestic violence was responsible for their low productivity or output at their places of work. That domestic violence manifested its self in different forms ranging from physical violence or assault, sexual violence, economic violence to psychological or emotional violence. However, it was also revealed that the impact of these different forms of violence varied by gender, with men most likely to perpetrate physical violence while the women were most likely to perpetrate psychological violence. However this does not mean that women were not physically aggressive as there were some cases of female aggression. In a patriarchal society, this violence had the effect of undermining a man’s “manhood” through its perceived tilting in the balance of power. The trauma suffered by these men is heightened by the cultural norms where the idea of a man being abused is scorned upon thus they prefer to remain silent. Keeping silent does not mean that the male victims have forgotten the abuse all together, instead they live with it and this usually results into low concentration. This low concentration provides fertile grounds for making mistakes and breeds wrong decisions which affect the working environment especially if the victim is a superior in the organizational hierarchy. This dissertation therefore explores the social context and the construction of domestic violence by the community in Kawempe Division. It explores the intersection of domestic violence and work output of men. It further provides evidence of the relationship between domestic violence and adverse effects on men’s productivity. The dissertation seeks to add to the available evidence of the linkage between domestic violence and workplace output, thus emphasizing the need to integrate domestic violence into workplace policies and programmes. The research involved methodology triangulation in which qualitative and quantitative methods were used, each answering specific objectives. The findings highlight the fact that domestic violence much as is appreciated as a family issue also concerns employers because it endangers employee health and safety and undercuts company productivity in terms of increased absenteeism, low productivity, increased employee turnover as the victims require more time off to enable them solve their domestic problems or seek medical attention in cases where the impact of the violence is severe. The findings highlight the need for developing an active response to domestic violence against men through setting up services for men presenting themselves as victims of domestic abuse, also a need for employers to work with other community organizations to provide services to employees, in confidentiality, as well as collaborating with local domestic violence organizations and law enforcement agencies for education by creating and adequately distributing domestic violence information and resources for providing more knowledge on domestic violence. This can best be done by developing benchmarks (through research) for policy makers and employers to use in domestic violence prevention program creation.