Informal response mechanisms to violence against women in intimate heterosexual relationships in Kampala : a case study of Rubaga Division
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This study examined the nature of violence committed against women in intimate hetero sexual relationships, the informal response mechanisms to it and the perceptions surrounding these responses. It used Rubaga division as a case study because it has many civil society organizations (CSOs) working on intimate partner violence (IPV) making it is relevant comparisons with other partners. It used 342 (300 quantitative and 42 qualitative respondents) all drawn from Rubaga division. These included NGO staff, local officials from the government, council leaders and police officers. These were selected either randomly or purposively depending on the category. Data was collected through in-depth interviews, questionnaires, structured observations and desk review. Qualitative analysis was completed according to themes aligned to study objectives, while quantitative data was analyzed descriptively and presented in tables, graphs and charts. The results revealed that women in intimate relationships experience all forms of violence, though mostly (62% and 60%) reported exposure to sexual and physical violence from their male partners. There is higher preference for the informal options like prayer, seeking for help, which culminate into separation and divorced. Preference for the informal to formal response to IPV is generally because the former is more accessible and socially acceptable. This is grounded in the social norms related to marriage and intentions of the support seekers who mostly prioritize privacy and confidentiality which is an assumption to be realized through the use of traditional structures. In relation to attitudes, the existing strong perceptions on the non-formal response options also determine the priority for the same among the community members. The study recommended rigorous firm training for the informal service providers about since service provision since they communally trusted and readily available to the communities. The training will enable them demystify the negative social norms justifying patriarchy and power imbalance. In the same vein CSOs and people in the same stream concerned are obliged to train more volunteers on IPV mitigation, bringing on board the local leaders, law enforcers, religious leaders, and the traditional marriage counselors to be in the circle of providing survivor centered service provision.