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The Shock From Role Reversal Is A Major Factor In The Rise In Domestic Violence Among African Immigrants In The West – Dr. Stem Sithembile Mahlatini




Mental health expert and host of the Dr. Stem Show, Dr. Stem Sithembile Mahlatini, has explained that the shock that comes with the reversal of traditional roles of husband and wife is causing a rise in cases of domestic violence among African immigrants living in Europe and America. The Zimbabwean-born mental health practitioner made the remarks during an exclusive interview with Rudolf Okonkwo on 90MinutesAfrica.


“Women take up nursing and home care jobs and get paid lots of money, which often makes them providers in the house. So when the husband says something, she may object because she is the one bringing more money. This is something that is not possible back home because it is culturally inappropriate. This is something that is causing an increase in cases of domestic violence among African immigrants,” Dr. Stem explained.


She said that back home, the man’s role as the family provider bestows respect on him. Thus, it has been challenging for African men to attune their mindset to the reality of earning less than their wives in the West. She explained that this scenario has made some of the men take up jobs, like home care, which they previously saw as demeaning and stripping them of their manliness.


“I remember when I came to the United States in the early 80s, African men were reluctant to do home care jobs. But it was usually difficult for them to get other jobs, so some of them started taking up care jobs. For us women, it was natural to change a grown person or young person’s diapers. So we can put more hours into doing that, but that was difficult for men. So, in their minds, such jobs strip them of respect. It has been a big challenge for African men to be able to change that mindset,” the founder of Dr. Stem Empowerment Academy said.

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She advised African immigrant couples to always seek professional counseling to overcome the culture shock they encounter in their new countries. “Men should understand that times have changed and that it is now normal if a woman makes more money than her husband,” the author admonished.

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