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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Gender-based violence has
been the experience of women worldwide which has affected their relationship in
the homes, communities, places of work and largely their productivity in their
various places of assignments (amnesty international, 2005). An increasing
amount of research highlights the health burdens, inter generational effects,
and demographic consequences of such violence (United
2006). The World Health Organization defines such viol intentional use of
physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself,
another person, or
against a group or community, that either results in or has a high
likelihood of resulting in injury, death, or
psychological harm or depriv et al, 2002).
Gender violence is a
universal reality that had existed in all societies and human settlement
regardless of class, income, culture or educational attainment. This paper
focuses on domestic violence, a form of gender-based violence, which is defined
here as any act of violence resulting in physical, sexual, or psychological
harm or suffering to women, girls or men, including threats of such act,
coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Domestic violence is also known
as domestic abuse,
spousal abuse, battery, family violence
and intimate partner violence (IPV). It is a pattern of abusive behaviors by
one partner against another in an intimate relationship such as marriage,
dating, family or cohabitation.
Domestic violence, so
defined, has many forms, including physical aggression or assault (hitting,
kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects), or threats
therefore; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; controlling or domineering;
intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse otherwise known as neglect; and
economic deprivation (Seimeinuk et al, 2010). Domestic violence is not limited
to obvious physical violence. It can mean endangerment, criminal coercion,
kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, trespassing and harassment (National Network
to End Domestic Violence 2011).
The US office and
violence Against Women (OVM) defines domestic violence as a “pattern of abusive
behavior in any relationship that is used by one
partner to gain or maintain power and control over
definition adds that domestic violence Sexual orientation, religion, or gender
abuse, sexual abuse, emotional, economic and psychological abuse (Office of Violence
against Women, 2007).
Women are crucial
to the growth and development of any nation and the world
at large. They constitute half of the custodians of
social cultural and fundamental values of the society and permanent
change is often best achieved through
them. Full community development is impossible without their understanding,
cooperation and effect management. Considering the importance of women as
mothers, sometimes breadwinners, teachers and guardians, they deserve respect,
recognition and better treatment but the opposite is usually the case.
According to Davies (1999), women are enslaved in a circle of poverty and they
suffer from neglect, discrimination and exploitation. They are also subjected
to different of violence by their male counterparts.
In Nigeria, domestic
violence is widely acknowledge to be of great concern, not just from a human
rights perspective but also from an economic and health perspective. Women are
more at risk from this gender–based violence. There have been reports of
husbands killing or maiming their wives in the media. The statistics presented
by This Day (2011) newspaper are daunting. About 50% of women have been
battered by their husband. Shockingly, more educated women (65%) are in this
terrible situation as compared with their low income counterparts (55%). Most
of the women endure believing they have nowhere to go and in any case,
believing for good reason that the law will not protect them.
A staggering 97.2% of them are not prepared to report
to the Nigeria police. Only one state of the federation (Lagos been one of
them) have passed laws against insidious crime, whilst several Bills against it
languish in our male dominated National Assembly. Of the states that have
passed it, the law is yet to be fully tested.
Only recently in Lagos state, Titilayo Arowolo, a 27
year –old mother of one was gruesomely murdered by her husband. Arowolo was
allegedly axed to death by her husband, Kolade, in their Isolo home in Lagos.
Before that, the scandalous story of wife battering by one Nigerian Ambassador
and a traditional ruler who engaged his wife in a public brawl made the rounds,
thus bringing the issue of spousal abuse once again to the front burner.
Domestic violence that occurs in private within the
family, including rape, acid attack and sexual abuse affect the physical and
psychological wellbeing of women; and as such, they seem to erode the position
of women at home and in the society at large. Domestic violence against women
therefore deserve to be researched upon so as to expose the existence of this
discrimination against women and in the process provide possible solution to
curb its prevalence.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
It is no longer an
exaggeration that the rate of violence and crime against women, (especially
Nigerian women) is on the increase as even the number of perpetrators of this
violent act against women appears to be ever increasing on a daily basis. In
almost every tribe, the status of women is very low and women are
considered the property of men. Accordi is accepted.
This tradition seems not to be effective in preventing domestic violence
Many times, women are
maltreated and considered inferior at home, workplace, schools and so on
thereby making them suffer from beating; sexual assault; sexual harassment;
denial of time for relaxation; denial of right to accumulate wealth even when
women actually do most of the work; emotional and psychological abuse to
mention just a few. Physically, women emerge from these violent episodes every
time with black eyes, bruises, rape and burns to internal injuries to the
psyche may be just as disabling. Little wonder why Iloegbunam (2006), stated
that one of the ironies of history is the fact that despite the role women play
both at home and in the society, they have remained unnoticed and even
belittled. Further, there is an inter-generational effect on children who have
witnessed violence, as they are more likely to be abusive themselves as adults.
Violence against women constitutes a violation of the rights and fundamental
freedoms of women and impairs or nullifies their
enjoyment of those rights and freedoms.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
major aim and objectives of carrying out this study was to:
respondent’s perception of domestic violence.
the forms and the vulnerable group to face domestic violence.
out the causes of domestic violence.
the effect of domestic violence on women
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
To guide the
investigation of the issue raised in the problem definition, it is hypothesized
is relationship between family structure and domestic violence
Domestic violence inflicts injuries on
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is crucial and
timely especially as statistics showing the rate of domestic violence globally
has been on a steady increase. Among other things,
1. This study was meant to be an eye opener
to the fact that domestic violence is prevalent in Nigeria and it’ssomething
that needed to be dealt with owing to its many negative impacts on victims of
2. Upon providing evidence of its existence,
the study was also meant to suggest solutions to the phenomena called domestic
3. This study was also expected to add value
to the existing body of knowledge for students, academicians and researchers
who may appreciate the problem of domestic abuse in Nigerian society sand
equally enhance the understanding of its consequences to the society
4. Finally, it was hoped that the study would
enable policy makers appreciate the problem and come up with appropriate
remedies to address the problems associated with domestic violence.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
Egor Local Government
Area of Benin City, the capital of Edo state, Nigeria was used for the study
mainly because of its heterogeneity in religious affiliation of female resident
in the area.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
As a developing country,
Nigeria does not have a sophisticated database of empirical studies on domestic
violence. More so, due to the fact that Nigeria do not
consider the issue of domestic violence a great crime as well as the
differences in the definition of domestic violence, the major challenge to this
study was finding research work that would help the researcher understand the
For this reason, the study utilized any resource that
relates to the research problem such as scholarly works, newspaper articles and
the study was restricted to Egor Local Government area of Benin City, therefore
findings may not apply to the entire entity called Nigeria and the world in
Finally, the sample in this research study was
disproportionately located in Egor Local Government, Benin City, and so the
result may not be a solid representation of the whole state.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS.
Domestic violence: Domestic
violence is a confrontation between family or household members that
typically involves physical harm, sexual assault, or fear of physical harm.
Wife battering: Wife
beating refers to any abusive, violent, coercive, forceful, or
threatening act or word inflicted by a member of the family or
on a woman in the society usually to establish power through fear and
is the state or condition of living together as husband and wife without
the perspective of society, socialization refers to the process of
fitting new individuals into an organized way of life and an established
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