Many countries in Africa have a societal culture that permits violence by intimate partners (aka domestic violence) and they do not usually have laws against it. For example, domestic violence laws only exist in 2 out of the 36 states in Nigeria, and the Penal Code (Section 55(1)d) doesn’t consider the punishment of a wife by her husband as a crime --as long as their native laws and traditions permits it and it doesn’t cause serious harm to the partner.
So, it is not surprising that 1 out of every 3 Nigerian women face intimate partner violence -- based on research. But it is even worse in countries like Zambia, Cameroon and Kenya where 1 out of every 2 women experience such violence – based on a research study. But men also experience violence from their wives: According to a United Nations' statistics, 1 out of every 7 men have experienced such violence.
Asides the main issue that most of our traditions and laws allow domestic violence especially against women, there are other factors that encourage this behavior. One of them is growing up in homes where parents abused each other. This increases the possibility of the child growing up to also violently abuse their partner, or think it is normal to be abused by a husband or wife --according to a study by Pollak.
Asides not learning the right manners because of one’s parents, another major cause of such domestic violence is financial/economic challenges --especially when economic hardship worsens. According to research in Mali and Ghana, after the introduction of cash transfer programs (that is, government giving out money to help poor families), physical and emotional violence by intimate partners reduced significantly in these countries, especially in polygamous homes (where husband is married to more than one wife). So apparently, money is the root of many problems including intimate partner violence in Africa.
In summary, the culture, laws, manners and money are some of the key target issues we will need to work on in order to reduce intimate partner violence in African homes.