Notes to broadcasters
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According to a 2021 report on gender-based violence (GBV) in Mali, 38% of cases involve sexual violence. Twenty-three percent involved rape. This violence almost always against women, either within or outside of couples.
Domestic violence is the result of behaviour, actions, and attitudes of one of the partners or ex-partners. These actions are intended to control, coerce, or dominate the other.
Domestic violence is a type of gender-based violence and involves verbal, physical, sexual, and economic assaults, threats, or coercion. It also affects the parents and relatives of the victim and the perpetrator, especially the children.
From a legal perspective, domestic violence is a crime. But, due to socio-cultural constraints in Mali, victims do not initiate criminal proceedings against the perpetrators of these crimes. Several Malian associations and NGOs are now mobilizing for a vote on a law on gender-based violence.
This radio script will help you understand the causes of domestic violence and its consequences for the survivor and other family members. It is based on actual interviews with three individuals: a survivor of domestic violence, a lawyer specializing in gender-based violence, and a staff member of an NGO.
To produce this script on your station, you can choose to use voice actors to play the role of the resource persons. In this case, be sure to inform your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices used are those of actors, not the original interviewees.
Similarly, you can build on this script to investigate a similar topic in your area and write your own script. For example, you might ask your interviewees the following questions:
- What is domestic violence?
- What causes domestic violence?
- How does domestic violence manifest itself?
- What are the consequences of domestic violence and how can survivors be assisted?
Estimated duration of the radio script with music, intro and extro: 30 minutes.
Today, with our guests, we will talk about domestic violence, a form of gender-based violence, also referred to as GBV. They will talk about the causes and consequences of domestic violence, as well as the measures taken by organizations and individuals to address it. They will also discuss the actions taken by associations and NGOs to overcome the barriers to implementing of laws against this type of violence.
We will talk to three resource persons. The first, Ms. Aminata Traoré, is a survivor of domestic violence and a private school teacher in Djoro, in the Segou region. She will explain how she survived this violence.
Then we will talk to Ms. Mariam Traoré, a lawyer and specialist on domestic violence. She will share her experience and the methods used to help women survivors. Finally, we will welcome Mr. Ségné Sangaré. He is a psychologist, a health advisor and a member of the association of psychologists of Mali. He will talk about the same topic but from the angle of the psychological impact of domestic violence on women and children.
One day he hit me with a small wooden chair that was lying around the house. I had blood everywhere and wounds on my head. But despite my injuries, he wouldn’t let me sleep without satisfying his sexual desire. I felt that seeing me cry turned him on. I had two miscarriages because of this abuse. I hoped he would change, but it was getting worse.
A few years later, I got pregnant with my daughter. But the situation didn’t get any better, on the contrary. For years, I suffered all kinds of domestic violence with my husband. He did not financially support me. With my salary as a teacher, I was compelled to pay for medication and food for my children and him. In short, I played the role that the law of marriage in Mali confers on him. It stipulates that the man must feed and protect his wife.
During this time, he did not try to work. And when I could not bear the burdens, he physically abused me and insulted me. The sexual, verbal, and physical abuse that I endured broke my mental health and left me in a state of stress, depression, anger, and hatred towards men in general.
Thank you for accepting our invitation. So Mariam, what is domestic violence?
For example, we have noticed that some women find it difficult to pursue their studies or professional careers after marriage because of their husbands’ opposition. According to statistics, one out of every two women aged 15 to 49 in Mali has experienced physical, emotional, or sexual violence at least once in her life. The same proportion of women also face emotional or physical violence during a break-up.
Unfortunately, the social context often compels the woman to put up with and even forgive her partner for this violence. Those who leave their homes are stigmatized by society. But violence, the suffering imposed on the other spouse, destroys the harmony of marital life and seals the fate of the couple’s children.
Human rights organizations in Mali denounce domestic violence in all its forms. But despite repeated calls for reform, little progress is being made in addressing this type of violence in a systematic and effective manner.
In Malian society, many stereotypes are attached to the wife that are not valid for the mother, the sister, and the daughter. For example, I love my mother, I love my sister, I love my daughter, but I should not trust my wife.
Lately, violence occurs when there is bias against women. In Malian society, the man is traditionally considered to be the most important because it is he who marries the woman, feeds the family, and cares for them. Even in the sharing of family property, according to our customs, the man receives twice the share of the woman. So, if men think that women are inferior, or that women do not have the same authority as men, women will be treated with violence. Basically, domestic violence is a result of social inequities.
Survivors of domestic violence want the violence to stop, but often do not want to take legal action against the perpetrator. Also, social pressure from children or both families may prevent the victim from taking legal action against the spouse who abandons, insults, or beats her. Malian women are very attached to their married lives and the future of their children and may be convinced that they have to put up with their partners’ excesses for a long time before they decide to break up their years of married life.
For example, improved access to education for girls, more income-generating opportunities for women, and better representation of women in all areas of the public and private sectors, including in leadership positions, can only be beneficial. Anything that men can do, women can also do in the workplace. Women and men must work together for the development of the nation.
Mr. Sangaré, what drives some men to be violent towards their partners?
They are afraid of his threats and for their children’s futures. They fear the consequences if they were to leave him. They are afraid of losing what they have spent so many years building. They believe they cannot do it alone. They feel responsible for “breaking” the family. They ignore the laws that protect them or believe that the laws cannot protect them. They love their husbands, but not their abusive behavior.
As a result, they are trapped, not only because of their beliefs but also because of their attitudes.
Things are even more complicated for the children.They live in a context based on domination and aggression. They are confronted with a choice between their parents and live in anguish. Also, violence is rarely discussed within the family. The silence and the taboo that generally surround these situations mean that the children do not receive explanations for the acts they observe and undergo. Thus, they do not have an opportunity to express their feelings, or to be reassured. Left in a state of stress and shock, these children may develop emotional and behavioural problems that will affect their development.
Violence against women includes physical violence, but also economic, sexual, and psychological violence. It affects all societies, developed or developing, and all social classes. Its consequences are devastating for society as a whole.
We have come to the end of today’s program. Thank you to all our guests and to everyone who is listening. We’ll be back soon for another program.
Contributed by: Cheick Bounama Coulibaly, journalist-teacher, Maarif foundation, fraternity production, Bamako, Mali.
Reviewed by: Ms. Mariam Traoré, lawyer specialized in GBV for WiLDAF.
Ms. Aminata Traoré, GBV survivor and private school teacher in Djoro, Segou region. Interview conducted on May 26, 2022.
Ms. Mariam Traoré, a lawyer specialized in GBV for WiLDAF. Interview conducted on June 15, 2022.
Mr. Ségné Sangaré, a psychologist, advisor in health practices and member of the Association of Psychologists of Mali. Interview conducted on June 13, 2022.
According to a report by the Institute for Security Studies (https://issafrica.org/fr), one out of every two Malian women between the ages of 15 and 49 had already experienced physical or sexual violence.