Gender based violence is alarmingly widespread across cultures. Research is in its initial stages in Africa, with few statistics and resources. There is, too, little relevant legislation. This selection ofpapers from the 1997 CODESRIA Gender Institute gathering which included participants from eight African countries. The six contributors highlight how universal attitudes of male dominance and patriarchy can literally engender aculture of violence in which women and children are the victims. Case studies from East and West Africa are included.