Panel 1

Gender and new forms of violence in Africa

Panel organizer: Victor Adetula, The Nordic Africa Institute, Sweden

E-mail of panel organizer:

Africa is experiencing new forms of violence whose causes have become associated with globalization. Take for example, in Africa many ethnic and religious conflicts now occur more frequently as part of transnational relations. Similarly, human trafficking, cross-border robbery and other cross-border crimes are on the increase on the continent in addition to mineral resources-driven conflicts. While the various forms of violence across the continent have attracted considerable scholarly attention, the scholarship examining the links between gender and new forms of violence in Africa have not received adequate enlightened attention. For example, in many African countries information in the public domain about gender-related concerns in violent conflicts are limited to such matters like the effects of conflicts on women and children as the most vulnerable gender categories, youth restlessness and their vulnerability to manipulation by the politicians and other conflict entrepreneurs. While these are legitimate concerns that need to be addressed, there are other equally compelling issues in organized violence that affect men and women differently.

Against a background that interprets the new forms of violence in Africa as dominant expressions of profound social transformations associated with the globalizing influence of capital, upsurge in “transnational communities” and the significant engagement of new social movements with networking across national frontiers, a panel of researchers, academics, development workers and policy analysts is proposed to examine the links between gender and new forms of violence in Africa.

Approved abstracts panel 1

1. Un-learning patriarchy: New forms of violence and a gendered approach to regional reconciliation in the Great Lakes of Africa

Author: Tim Murithi, (University of the Free State, South Africa and Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, Cape Town, SA) ;

This paper will contribute to the discussion of how new forms of violence in Africa which occur across borders are challenging traditional notions and processes of ‘national reconciliation’. In particular, this paper will assess how incidences of gender-based violence across borders affect women and men differently. The strictures imposed by the persistence of territorial sovereignty complicates efforts to hold the perpetrators of these cross-border violations accountable for their actions. With reference to the Great Lakes Region of Africa, this paper will argue that in order to confront the culture of impunity which is fostered by these new forms of transnational violence, new thinking is required to conceptualise and frame more a gendered approach to ‘regional reconciliation’. In particular, the paper will interrogate how strategies and methodologies for ‘un-learning’ patriarchy can be deployed in regional reconciliation processes as a means of coming to terms with the violations of the past. In addition, the paper will seek to postulate a forward-looking and future-oriented approach to regional reconciliation, which is predicated on the operationalization of cross-border programmes and interventions to promote the ‘un-learning’ of hegemonic masculinities. The paper will conclude with some recommendations has to how such programmes can be designed and rolled out across Africa.

Key words: Un-learning; patriarchy; regional reconciliation; Great Lakes region; hegemonic masculinities.

2. Relationships between overcrowding, child abuse, and domestic violence in Ejigbo, Lagos, Nigeria

Author: Olaniyi Makinde, Åbo Akademi University, Åbo, Finland)
The aim of the study was to investigate the relationships between overcrowding, child abuse and different kinds of aggressive behavior among adolescents in the Lagos Metropolis area. Possible sex differences and differences due to religious affiliation are also investigated. 238 respondents filled in a questionnaire. The respondents were teenagers with an age range from 12 to 20; 122 girls (mean age = 15.1 yrs, SD = 2.0) and 116 boys (mean age = 15.8 yrs, SD = 2.0). The respondents were from either their junior or senior secondary schools in Ejigbo or other surrounding cities (Isolo,  Egbe, and Ago-Palace Lagos). Six scales were included as dependent variables: Adult Aggression, Sibling Aggression, Domestic Violence, Unavailability and Rationing, Parental Negativity, and Antisocial Behavior. Overcrowding, Sex, and Religion served as independent variables. According to MANOVA analyses, Overcrowding, Sex, and Religion all had significant effects on all dependent variables. However, multiple regression analyses revealed that Overcrowding tended to partial out the effects of Sex and Religion; thus, overcrowding appears to be the most important factor determining these negative outcomes. The results have implications for housing policies in Nigeria. Moreover, these results may also have implications for research and policy making in other nations and parts of the world.

3. Violence, patriarchy and neoliberalism in Tanzania

Author: Vicensia Shule (University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

Violence is a common phenomenon in various discussions in public and private, from community, nation to international levels. Most studies have addressed issues related to gender violence particularly violence against women and few has established causal relationship between domestic and global led gender violence. This article investigates violence resulted from the influence of global capital accumulation systems such as land grabbling, homophobia, fundamentalism and sextortion and its relationship to violence happening at home/domestic terrain. Using Transformative Feminist Theory (TFT) the paper links patriarchy and neoliberalism to the reoccurring violence which has left many devastated particularly the marginalized groups. The main argument is, the violence seen at domestic level is a manifestation of national and global policies on capital and human development.

Using Tanzania as a case study, it is evident that regardless of the state commitments to combat violence particularly gender violence and violence against women; most of the development policies pave way for violence entrenchment. Shifting from poverty reduction to economic growth, has stimulated violence across genders as such policies have not resolved the issue of resource allocation which is the most prominent trigger of violence. It prompts the necessity of exploring more how best to manage global socio-political and economic structures to eliminate violence for a peaceful coexistence.

4. Gender and new forms of violence in Africa

Author: Rasha Ramzy,

"All women and girls have the fundamental right to live free of violence. This right is enshrined in international human rights and humanitarian law. And it lies at the heart of my UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign" Ban Ki-moon

The new concept of national security is not depending any more on secure borders only, but it is including human security achievement for both genders. The twentieth century has witnessed a quantum leap in efforts to promote human rights in general and women's rights in particular. This shift is extended to include the status of women in times of peace and war alike. The status of women is no longer limited to protection from violence during all armed conflicts, but it also includes the elimination of discrimination as a form of violence against them while enhancing their role and strengthening their position in the community. This condition has become a key to achieving security and stability of the entire society down to spread peace and security.

The 1st. part shows the types of violence against women in African countries: physical & non-physical violence, political, sexual & social violence.

The 2nd. Part describes the causes of violence in African countries: social & political & economic causes. It then analyses the results of violence behavior on communities such as discrimination based on gender.

The 3rd. The economic benefits of violence against African women, Who earns benefits? Women or other actors.

The 4th. part suggests strategies to eliminate violence by creating an environment sensitive to gender that ensures the participation of active women. And the protection of African women rights in accordance with international & regional decisions and agreements on securing and protecting women from all forms of violence.

In the conclusion the study trying to suggest scenarios to be a reference and serious breakthrough, to the concerned decision-makers and experts in development of plans and programs that commensurate with the priorities of achieving human security for African women.

5. Gender and terrorism in Cameroon: socio-history of the feminisation of terrorist violence

Author: Candice Dielle Kengne Tagne (University of Dschang, Cameroon)

This communication aims at analysing feminine presence as actors (soldiers, hostage, and suicide bombers) of terrorism in Cameroon. The field of this study is the northern area of Cameroon where the total disorder of violence figures constructs women as passive and active actors of terrorism. They are used as weapons of massive destruction in Fotokol, Kolofata Maroua … women are not more only those who accompany, are victims of terrorism, but they massively act as bearers of explosive belts what leads to the ban of burqua as dressing style. Moreover, women in African and Cameroonian ways and customs are considered as those who give live and not those who destroyed it.

This state of things justifies our reflexion on gender and terrorism. How to apprehend this feminisation of terrorist violence in Cameroon as a social fact? What is the level of men-women implication in this terrorist violence? Why the implication of women as life’s bearer has become death’s carrier?

This contribution will show that the proliferation of feminine violence is consubstantial to globalisation and has a link with feminist movements. Women want to prove that they do not lack courage. This is why they are actors as soldiers in one camp and as terrorists in the other. Then, by a “brain-washing” process, they want to die as martyrs. We will use qualitative and quantitative data taken from interviews, direct observations and reading to explain this phenomenon.

Key words: Gender, terrorism, Cameroon, Women, violence.

6. Gender, conflict and sustainable development in Africa

Author: Adebusuyi Isaac Adeniran (Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria)

While varying factors have been adduced as the precursors of varying conflicts plaguing Africa, a pivotal issue of concern amidst the imbroglio has been the unmitigated failing cleavage of most states on the continent. From North to South; East to West, the core problems with Africa have continued to revolve around control of political power; often used by the political elite; through undue appropriation of the national resources, for self-aggrandizement. Expectedly, women and children have remained at the receiving end of most of the conflicts while the men folk have continued to serve as active precipitators of related crisis. This panel presents a holistic review of different strands of conflict in Africa; from the seemingly rested political crises in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Egypt, Tunisia et cetera to the much more active political cum religious/ethnic struggles in Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Sudan, Burundi, Somalia, Kenya, et cetera. Although conflict is discussed as a general notion, the emphasis in the panel will be on gender variability of related conflicts vis-à-vis the lived experiences of women, children (and men) involved in associated upheavals. For instance, the patterns of gender (or social) relation in various internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps across Africa and various surviving strategies being deplored by individuals will be explored in the panel. What measures of access do individuals have to educational, health and other social opportunities in such crisis infected environments? How are individuals integrated and prepared to commence new lives in various IDP camps and in other newly acquired spaces outside the official IDP camps and their usual abodes? These and related inquiries will drive various discussions in the panel. The outcomes of the panel discourse will be useful in situating the interpositions of gender, conflict and sustainable development in Africa within an appropriate epistemological context.

7. Crossing safe? The security and safety of women at the Aflao and Seme borders

Authors: Tokunbo Seunfunmi Olutayo  (University of Ibadan, Nigeria)
Abena Asefuaba Yalley (University of Ibadan Nigeria)

Migration is recognized as a major defining global issue today with immense power for economic and social transformation for both migrants and receiving countries. The Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) as a sub-regional union was formed to promote economic trade, national cooperation and monetary union for growth and development throughout West Africa. With growing immigration comes diversity that is both creating challenges that threaten human safety and security. Women account for more than 50% of travellers and 70% of traders at these borders. Thus, the full implications of safety and security at the borders on this vulnerable group cannot be over emphasized. The study therefore identified the migration challenges women face while crossing the Aflao and Seme borders in Ghana and Nigeria respectively; examined the security and safety of women at the two Borders; interrogated the role of security agencies in the protection of women; and explored its implications on national and regional security policies.

Using both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, the study interviewed women travelers, traders crossing the border, traders at the borders, community residents, and community leaders, civil society groups working at the border and security agencies. Results of the study revealed an enormous incidence of human rights abuse on women by security agents. Women faced gender based security challenges like sexual exploitation and abuse, theft, robbery, murder and physical assault. Also, there is an increased fear of crime and victimization, lack of trust in security officials and inefficiency of the security agencies to protect women. The ignorance of ECOWAS migration policies and failure of security agencies to effectively perform their duties has deteriorated the existing security challenges making it more complicated and problematic.

Key Words: Women, Crime, Border, Security and Safety

8. Impact of globalization on human trafficking in Africa: The emerging 'baby factory' in Nigeria

Author: Peter Sesan Abraham (National Open University of Nigeria, Plateau State, Nigeria)

Interstates relations forbid nations to live in isolation if it must be known in the current era of globalisation. The involvement of women in organised crimes such as armed robbery, suicide bombing and particularly human trafficking has taking a new dimension in Nigeria with the emergence of ‘baby factory’ in the Southern part of Nigeria. Just like suicide bombers are prevalent in the northern part of Nigeria as a result of the activities of Boko Haram. In the past, women can enter places such as church, mosque, hotel, school premises unchecked but today the story is not the same. There is a link between the new crime and women. Historically, women were known to be agents of peace and contributors to economic development of communities and families. However, the situation is no longer the same again. This paper x-rays the cause of women involvement in human trafficking (baby factory) and other vices and its latent function of both the impact of globalisation and lack of good governance in Nigeria. This study adopts doctrinal approach where books, journals, reports and conventions were used. The paper also put forward the role of enabling laws in curbing human trafficking and its weakness in addressing the current menace of ‘baby factory’. The paper recommends that the existing laws cannot effectively handle the emerging scenario therefore new law is needed to curb the crime. The paper also proffers recommendations for enhancing the existing instruments and frameworks in the security services that would foster interagency cooperation in combating ‘baby factory’ menace in Nigeria. It is sad to note women have been indicted of involving in these forms of criminality.

9. The gender dimensions of climate change-induced conflicts: the case of the Afar, Issa and Ittu (Agro) pastoralists of eastern Ethiopia

Author: Bamlaku Tadesse (Haramaya University, Ethiopia)

Climate change and variability has impacted on a fundamental change on the socio-ecological structure of the (agro) pastoral communities of the region which in turn affects the change in land use patterns, livelihood systems and their coping mechanisms. The qualitative data required for the study were collected from community elders, community members, and administrative and political bodies at various levels through one-on-one interviews, focus group discussions and field observations. The quantitative data were also collected through household survey from the 128 households randomly drawn from the three districts of Meiso-Mullu, Meiso and Amibara. This research attempted to identify the impacts of climate change and its induced conflicts. The results revealed that the Climate change and variability have impacts on both women and men, but differently and has variation in their coping and adaptation strategies. The impacts are classified as monetary and none-monetary forms. The gendered aspects of coping and adaptation strategies have been weakened by the increasing nature of climate change-induced conflicts. The gradual decline in the (agro) pastoralist modes of livelihoods threatens the hopes of recovery as the crucial social capital is often irreversibly detached. It is this social capital that (agro) pastoralists can survive the various forms of vulnerabilities for long centuries.

Key words: Climate change, conflict, resource competition, gender, and eastern Ethiopia.

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