Gender-based violence in Zambia: a post-colonial feminist critique

Lwatula, Misozi (2019) Gender-based violence in Zambia: a post-colonial feminist critique. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

Gender-based violence is one of the most pervasive human rights abuses in the world yet one of the most elusive when it comes to attributing responsibility. It is a worldwide phenomenon although the prevalence and pattern differ from country to country and from region to region.

This thesis provides a critical analysis of gender-based violence in Zambia using a postcolonial feminist lens. Drawing upon an investigation of the relationship between law and culture, the thesis demonstrates how the law in Zambia, in both statute and customary forms, has facilitated the subordination of women and allowed gender-based violence to persist. The thesis shows how the subordination of women has been compounded by prevailing norms in customary law and how the practices of local elites in postcolonial Zambia, relying on customary law in a static and unchanging form, perpetuate gender injustice and gender harms. While there is a vast array of literature showing how women are affected by patriarchal culture and gender, this thesis argues that violence against women in Zambia is compounded by an intersection of colonialism, culture and socio-economic conditions, but not necessarily by patriarchy as commonly understood, because historically the majority of groups in Zambia are matrilineal.

The thesis begins by analysing the legal framework in which gender-based violence in Zambia is addressed. Taking a doctrinal approach and drawing upon primary and secondary sources, the development of the law is critically evaluated in order to show the diversity of constitutional, civil and criminal provisions which have been used to tackle violence against women, often with only very limited success. The thesis goes on to explore recent legal developments, including the introduction of the Anti-Gender Based Violence Act 2011 which is also critiqued for its inadequacies in failing to provide sufficiently for criminal sanctions and punishments against perpetrators.

The thesis then draws upon original qualitative research data gathered from interviews and focus groups conducted by the candidate with women survivors of violence, elites and NGOs in Zambia. The findings of the research are thematically investigated and analysed alongside the existing legal provisions to evaluate the extent to which individuals have experienced gender-based violence, the reasons for, and consequences of, this and their awareness of the legal rules around violence. The research suggests that the law cannot work in isolation since the subordination of women is institutionalized and deep-rooted and, in order for greater progress to be made towards gender justice in Zambia, there must be a change in social attitudes together with a review of existing legal provisions with a view to improving the law.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV0697 Protection, assistance and relief > HV0700 Special classes > HV1442 Women
K Law > K Law in General. Comparative and uniform Law. Jurisprudence > K0520 Comparative law. International uniform law > K3154 Constitutional law > K3224 Individual and state > K3240 Human rights. Civil and political rights
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2019 12:44
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2021 07:49
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/84944

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