Spousal Abuse in Zimbabwe: Nature and Extent across Socio-Economic Class, Gender and Religiosity


  • Magen Mhaka-Mutepfa


This study investigated the nature and extent of spousal abuse among the different sexes, social classes, religious and non-religious families in Zimbabwe.  Five types of spousal abuse were considered: physical, emotional, economical, sexual and psychological. The relationships between these types of spousal abuse by gender, social class and religious affiliation were tested. A total of 130 informants (mean age=33.8 years; s.d= 6.8 years) who knew families with abuse took part in this study.  Participants provided quantitative and qualitative data on the types and prevalence of spousal abuse they perceived in families they knew. The prevalence of spousal abuse did not differ by gender. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of spousal abuse between working class and middle class families. The prevalence of spousal abuse was lower among religious families. The study contradicted the view that spousal abuse was higher among the low socio-economic groups and females.