Cross Sectonal Assessment of Violence Against Female Domestic Workers in Gulele Sub-City for Local Level Intervention

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Addis Ababa University


There has been growing public and professional concerns in Ethiopia on the issue of violence against women. Though domestic workers had been among the most vulnerable groups to violence in the country, it has hardly got the research attention of the ongoing nation wide activities of anti-violence campaign. The present study has tried to contribute to filling in the research gab in the area in the country by aiming at undertaking a comprehensive assessment of the context, magnitude and consequences of violence being committed against female domestic workers in Gulele Sub-city of Addis Ababa. A total of 82 female domestic workers were purposively selected for the study from different sites in the sub-city. The assessment was made using adapted Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS2), Hopkins Symptoms Checklist (HSC-25), structured interview schedules and unstructured interviews. The following were among the major findings of the study: The reasons given by most of the domestic workers for becoming domestic workers were escape from violence or lack of subsistence in their family and marriage life or both. The results of the study on the involvement of intermediaries and the use of the un-kept promises (i.e. deception) in the process of turning the target subjects into domestic workers was found to involve - trafficking, which was not only gender based violence but also major crime in the penal code. It was observed that most of the target domestic workers have experienced sexual violence as well as economic violence by the brokers. The results of the study on the work conditions of the domestic workers, the absence of legally binding work agreement by the employers and the very meager amount of salary being paid while they were working all day long without little or no break seem to demonstrate the prevalence of major violation of the rights of the domestic workers. It was observed that the work relationship between the domestic workers and their employers found to be characterized by negative behaviors that strongly suggest the high level of mental cruelty of the latter. The results seem to confirm the violation of the rights of domestic workers i.e. citizenship, political, social and cultural rights. The very high prevalence rate results observed in all the violence assessment subscales strongly suggest that the target domestic workers had had experienced pervasive violent behaviors examined in the study namely; psychological aggression, physical assault, sexual harassment/abuse and mental cruelty by their employers in the last 12 months. As to the chronicity of violence, it observed that the extent of violent behaviors experienced by the domestic workers over the past year was ‘most chronic’. The statistically significant gender difference observed in both the prevalence and chronicity of violence committed against the domestic workers suggest the higher rate of involvement in the perpetration of the violence behaviors by female employers than male employers The results of the self-ratings of the domestic workers on HSCL-25 showed that most of them have been experiencing the symptoms of major depression and anxiety disorders. Likewise the results on PTSD assessment indicated that the majority of the domestic workers (i.e. above 70 percent) experienced the symptoms of the post-traumatic stress disorders. The study also identified the major risks and vulnerabilities, social networks, coping mechanisms and strengths of female domestic workers and came up with recommendations



Social Work