Trending With Maxwell Onwordi : Domestic Violence In Nigeria

Domestic violence has been part of the fabric of many societies and cultures worldwide but mostly in Nigeria because there is a deep cultural belief that it is socially acceptable to hit a woman to discipline a spouse. It is so commonplace that is has often gone unnoticed and failed the level of concern it deserves in light of the devastating effects on children and families.

Domestic violence takes many forms including physical,sexual,emotional and mental. Traditionally, domestic violence is committed against females. Common forms of violence against women in Nigeria are rape,acid attacks,molestation,wife beating and corporal punishment.

The Nigerian government has taken legal proceedings to prosecute men or abuse their women in several states. There is currently a push in Nigeria for federal laws concerning domestic violence and for a stronger national response and support for domestic violence issues.

Women often face physical violence at the hands of their family members. The most common forms of physical violence include rape,murder,slapping and kicking. Some of the reasons that were given for physical abuse include their husbands being drunk, financial issues,and the rejection of a partner's sexual advances.

Relationship inequality is also a strong indicator of physical violence. High levels of wife beating occur when the woman is making more money than her husband or partner is. This has attributed to the lack of control the male partner feels within the relationship.

Women also often link the perpetration of physical violence with husbands who are very controlling. Women who justify wife beating are more likely to be victims of physical violence.

Another form of violence which has received a lot of recent attention is Nigeria is acid baths. Acid baths are actions of violence where the perpetrator throws on to his or her victim's body, resulting in disfigurement and possible less of eyesight. Acid baths are large issue for women that needs to be addressed.

In 1990, a former beauty queen rejected her boyfriend's attempts to rekindle their relationship. In retaliation, he threw acid in her face with the words" let me see how any man will love you now".

One question remains unanswered; what is the reason behind the sky-rocketing increase of domestic violence in Nigeria, is it that the long hands of the law is not catching up with the perpetrators of this dastardly act or the punishment doled out on these perpetrators is not thorough enough to keep other persons with such intentions at bay?

Various forms of domestic violence has been identified as physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, economic abuse, emotional abuse and spiritual abuse and although the world today just might be sourcing for possible ways to put the menace of domestic violence away and appropriately punish the perpetrators of such crimes, the endangering effects of domestic violence is alarming.

Children are often principal victims of domestic violence, witnessing, experiencing abuse or living in an environment where someone is being physically abused can be psychologically devastating for a child as that child is susceptible to depression which leaves the people around him and his immediate environment unsafe. Such a child is also likely to have low intelligence quotients (IQ), lower than usual.

Victims of domestic violence whether children or adults suffer physical injuries such as minor cuts, scratches and bruises, others more serious like broken bones, internal bleeding, head trauma, to mention but a few.

Victims often have low self esteem, having difficulties in trusting others; meanwhile the anger and stress experienced by these persons lead to emotional disorders, harmful health behaviour like excessive smoking, alcohol abuse, use of drugs and engaging in risky sexual activity.

To remedy the domestic violence situation in Nigeria, all stakeholders must be involved the communities, religious groups, institutions, government at all levels, where trained counselors would assist in propagating the anti-domestic violence campaign should be organized. There is need to create awareness at these forums, to underscore the fact that violence in the home serves as a breeding ground for violence in the society.
The need to regard domestic violence from a psychological rather than a socio-cultural perspective should be emphasized. People should be made to understand that adults can change the social norms that justify domestic violence.
Due to lack of positive response, victims no longer seek legal redress: therefore, laws on the violation of human rights should be. solidified and will implemented on perpetrators.
Women and girls should be sensitized and educated to draw a line between love and abuse.
Initiating a social change has never been an over night process, but no matter the reasons, domestic violence is an aberration and the law must prosecute and punish those who inflict psychological and physical pain on others while protecting the victims of such ignominious acts.

Written By  Maxwell Onwordi