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Wifebeating 'normal' in parts of Africa

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LAGOS, Nigeria, Aug 11, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Wife-beating is entrenched, accepted, sometimes deadly and "normal" in sub-Saharan Africa, recent studies show.

In Zambia, nearly half of women surveyed said a male partner had beaten them, according to a 2004 study financed by the United States.

One in three Nigerian women reported having been physically abused by a male partner, according to a 1993 study.

In South Africa, researchers for the Medical Research Council estimated last year a male partner kills a girlfriend or spouse every six hours.

In Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, domestic violence accounts for more than 6 in 10 murder cases in court, a United Nations report concluded last year.

"It is like it is a normal thing for women to be treated by their husbands as punching bags," Obong Rita Akpan, until last month Nigeria's minister for women's affairs, told the New York Times.

The beatings often follow what most would consider minor disputes.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

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