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Substance use and gender based violence in a Malawian context – Pilot Project 2


This pilot project on Substance use and gender based violence in Malawi is the result of a research collaboration between SINTEF Health Research, Norway and Centre for Social Research, University of Malawi. The study is commissioned by FORUT, Campaign for Development and Solidarity, Norway and NGO Gender Coordination Network, Malawi.          The objective of this pilot project has been to explore how substance use has an affect on gender based violence in two selected study sites in Malawi; how men's use of substances put women at risk of being violated physically, mentally and sexually. A limited anthropological fieldwork was conducted with the aim of talking to relevant people and visiting relevant places and sites. The specific methods used in the study were individual interviews, unstructured conversations and observation. Previous studies from Malawi have shown that women who are married to men who drink alcohol are more exposed to physical abuse in the home. Furthermore, a study has shown that Malawian women are more likely to justify wife beating than men. The results show that there are three main types of abuse as experienced by the women in this study, namely; economic abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse. Much of the abuse takes place when the offender has drunk alcohol and/ or smoked chamba. There is a general lack of respect and acknowledgement of women both by men and by women themselves.          This study calls for more research on sexual abuse, alcohol abuse and how this impacts on the spread of HIV/ AIDS in Malawi. Furthermore, the study calls for more attention to the problems connected to alcohol and drug use in Malawi, and its negative affect on wives, families, communities, Malawian society and the country as a whole.






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