drinking at the same rate. He was then reported to the clan court and summoned by the leaders and he was beaten 12 strokes and fined 10,000 shillings ($116).”
Clan leaders advised his wife that if her husband did not change, she should report him to the local court of law and present the leaders as witnesses.
“He is now changed,” Ejang says of the husband.
Bosco Okori praises the community agents of change for encouraging him to reduce violence in his marriage. He says that once when he was drunk, his wife beat him and broke his collarbone.
“Belmoses Abonga, the community agent of change, encouraged me not to revenge on my wife but forgive her and work on having a better relationship with her,” Okori says.
He recovered from his injury and now drinks less.
Another cause of violence in homes is early marriages in the communities, says Grace Acio, a gender officer for the Loro subcounty government.
“You may find a 26-year-old mother of six children, and she does not know how to handle her husband or her children,” Acio says. “She may be bitter and fights everyone.”
Community members often do not know whom to go to with their problems, Aseko says. Or, they get frustrated with seeking help from clan leaders, so they try to deal with it themselves.
“Many of the community members always report to clan leaders in the communities to have their problems solved, especially the gender-based violence cases,” Aseko says. “In most cases, the clan leaders are not fair towards the women because they still have the rigid patriarchal tendencies that discriminate against women.”
Regina Bafaki, the executive director of Action for Development, says this is because most clan leaders are men.
“They tend to relate better with the men,” she says, “and there is a bias towards resolving the woman’s problem.”
Okello also says that clan leaders promote violence.
“Cultural and clan leaders still use violence as the most appropriate means of solving conflicts in the communities, which also encourages violence in the communities,” Okello says.
Acio says this is difficult to change.
“Cultural practices and the attitudes embedded in culture make it hard to change the community attitude towards violence,” she says.
Aseko says Action for Development appointed certain clan leaders as community agents to change their attitudes toward violence.
The agents should work more closely with other nongovernmental organizations, the government and traditional structures to continue to change the culture of violence, Acio says.
“More stakeholders should be brought on board, like the cultural and religious leaders, as they have the most influence in their communities,” she says.
Betty Opeto, chairwoman of the Akokoro subcounty council, also urges Action for Development to sensitize the community on the impact of violence in the home on children.
“If we show the people the negatives of violence,” Opreto says, “then they will want better for their children, hence preventing violence in the homes.”