The data provided by the emergency wards of Sima Mendes National Hospital in 2006 include 927 cases of physical aggression committed within a space of six months (from June to December). Questions were addressed to women aged from 15 to 49 years whose husbands might strike them or beat them, for the purpose of evaluating their attitude regarding the various reasons for the violence. The results show that 51.5% of the woman approached thought that their spouses/partners could beat them for any reason mentioned in the questionnaire. This percentage is higher in the South province, where 63.4% of the women surveyed (as opposed to 47.0% in the North province and 51.9% in the Autonomous Sector of Bissau (SAB)) think that way. This attitude towards violence undergone by women is the same regardless of the area in which they live (51.1% in rural areas and 52.0% in urban areas). All this leads one to say that being the target of violent acts by their husbands or partners is not viewed as a scourge, but as an innate right founded on customary law.
On the other hand, the younger the woman is the less likely she is to accept this form of violence. More than half of women aged 20 years or more think that a husband has the right to strike his wife, whereas only 41.3% of women aged from 15 to 19 years find it normal for a husband to beat his wife under the same conditions. Marital status also affects women's attitudes. Married life tends to render women more receptive to male violence. Indeed, unmarried women are more likely to reject this idea: less than 40% of them think that husbands/partners have the right to beat their wives. This percentage becomes 45.2% for women who have been married or lived in a union and 57.2% for those currently married or living in a union. A similar effect can be observed with respect to the level of education: 41.0% of women who have reached the secondary level or higher find it acceptable that husbands should beat their wives as against 47.9% of for the primary-school level and 55.7% in the case of women who have received no education. The standard of living of the group has virtually no effect on the woman's attitude towards marital violence: 50.4% of women in the richest groups find it normal for a husband to strike his wife, as opposed to 52.2% in the poorest groups.
Source of Information
CEDAW/C/GNB/6, p. 34 & 35; CEDAW/C/GNB/6 para 105 - 106