n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Reporting of wife physical abuse to the police in the Northern Province

Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Violence against women is not a new phenomenon as it dates back to time immemorial. However, what is new is its recognition as criminal assault (Moore 1979:7) and the commitment by different groups in society to bring this long-concealed criminal offence into the open (Barrera, Palmer, Brown & Kalaher 1994:333). Nevertheless, some women still suffer in silence despite the efforts made by numerous organisations to encourage them to speak out. This is attributed to the way women have been socialised to keep family secrets. They are told by elderly women that they have big buttocks to sit on their problems. The African culture, in particular, is most oppressive as a married woman is expected to live with her husband until the end of her days. The problem of wife abuse is also viewed as part of contemporary family life (Bograd 1988:11; Hampton & Corner-Edwards 1993:118).

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