This essay demonstrates that academic literature on indigenous family violence indicates that men were permitted to hit their wives and children. On the other hand, it was rare for a woman to hit a man, no matter how much wrong a man commits. Any form of punishment meted out to men was determined and exercised by community “elders” who mediated most family issues (Vheim, 2013:39). The question as to why men were allowed to judge and prosecute women so quickly while their transgressions were judged by “high courts” is another grey area that creates confusion in the everyday understanding of gender violence issues (Otto, 2013:26). In retrospect, it is important to consider that societies have always been patriarchal in nature; there are little or no documented examples of matriarchal societies.
Modern thinking, although it accepts that society is still patriarchal, has been geared towards creating a balance between genders or a sense of balance that insinuates equality. For example, contemporary everyday understanding holds that all children, regardless of their genders, must be given equal opportunities to access education and other basic services (Otto, 2013:29). However, academic literature on indigenous family violence postulates that men and women are unequal from childhood, with young girls being inferior to boys and therefore second-class citizens when it comes to access to any privileges. The evolution of mentalities has created two perspectives on gender issues that oppose each other (Vheim, 2013:37). The first world is that informed by academic literature on indigenous gender issues, and the second is that informed by modern views on gender issues.