The United Nations reports that at least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, raped, or otherwise abused in her lifetime with the abuser usually someone known to her.
The consequences of violence against women are physically debilitating and a major cause of death and disability for women aged 15 to 44 years, rating higher than deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents, cancer and malaria.
However, the psychological and social consequences are equally devastating as the stigma associated with that leaves women incredibly vulnerable and jeopardizes the well-being of families, fractures communities, and stalls the economic development of a nation.
Nelly Njoroge, a psychologist with Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) says that abuse on women does not only affect their well being but also their families.
“In a family set-up where a mother is usually beaten by the husband in front of their children, it mostly creates hatred within the family. You will find that the children are also violent or have no respect towards their parents,” says Njoroge.
"Boys and girls have different ways of handling abuse in the family; for instance boys are likely to develop the behavior of not respecting their mothers or any other woman thinking that they are supposed to be inferior or they might develop protection instincts towards the opposite gender trying to make a difference."
Girls, Njoroge notes, develop trauma. Some hate their fathers and any male gender while others feel inferior and end up in abusive relationships. Some, also, develop fear and decide they are not going to go through what they saw and decide not to get involved in any relationship,” explains the psychologist.
The effects of violence are quite severe not just for the women but also the children since it affects their psychology and the way of life, she further explains.
"Culture is also a contributor to violence against women. As much as people are getting civilized and dropping some cultural practices that undermines women some, beliefs are still practiced."
“For instance a woman is comfortable when her husband slaps her and takes the matter lightly terming it as a small misunderstanding while others believe it is a symbol of love and caring,” she hOlds.
Cultural norms have put women in subservient positions in relation to their husbands and other males. That inferior status makes women ‘undervalued, disrespected and prone to violence by their male counterparts, according to UNIFEM.
Njoroge holds that the culture of violence against women will eventually end if women and men will wipe out the norms that make women inferior and practice gender equity and equality.