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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA – Toyin Adepoju – 9jafeminista



Background to the Study

            According to the World Health Report on Violence and Health (2009), domestic violence refers to any behaviour within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sexual harm to those in the relationship (Bernama, 2017). Domestic violence can take a variety of forms including physical assault such as hitting, slapping, kicking and beatings; psychological abuse, such as constant belittling, intimidation, and humiliation; and coercive sex. It frequently includes controlling behaviours such as isolating a woman from family and friends, monitoring her movements, and restricting her access to resources (Bernama, 2017).

            Alhabib, Nur and Jones (2010) defines domestic violence as a threat or physical, psychological and / or emotionally violent act; that is, any kind of violence against others with the intention of injuring or demonstrating power and exercising control over them (Flury, Nyberg, & Riecher-Rössler, 2010). The United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life” (Women’s Aids Organisation, 2017).             Marcus and Braaf (2007) defined domestic violence as a pattern of coercive tactics that can include physical, psychological, sexual, economic, and emotional abuse, perpetrated by one person against an intimate partners, with the goal of establishing and maintaining power and control. Domestic Violence occurs in all kinds of intimate relationships, including among married couples, people who are dating, couples who live together, people with children in common, same-sex partners, people who were formerly in a relationship with the person abusing them, and teen dating relationships. Laing and Bobic (2002) stated that domestic violence is control by one partner over another in a dating, marital

or live-in relationship. The means of control include physical, sexual, emotional and economic abuse, threats and isolation. Domestic violence occurs in adult or adolescent intimate relationships where the perpetrator and the victim are currently or have been previously dating, cohabiting, married or divorced. They may be heterosexual, gay, or lesbian. They may have children in common or not. The relationships may be of a long or short duration (Kishor & Johnson, 2004).

            Some recent researchers (Chang, Lin, & Liu, 2017) stated that domestic violence includes physical, mental or economic harassment, control, threats, or other illegal attacks; and these violent acts are imposed on family members i.e. intimate partner, children, youth and the elderly. The types of domestic violence include physical, psychological, sexual, economic or financial and spiritual (Women’s Aids Organisation, 2017). Its impact stretches beyond those women who are the victims of violence themselves, since it also affects families, friends and society as a whole. It causes a myriad of physical and mental health issues and in some cases results in loss of life.

            Domestic violence has in the last few decades become a public health issue of immense significance all over the world. Such violence has been associated with serious health consequences including physical, sexual and reproductive health, psychological and behavioural problems, as well as fatal health outcomes such as homicide, suicide, and maternal mortality. (Campbell, 2002; Bonomi, Anderson, Rivara & Thompson, 2007).

            Aihie (2009) identified various forms of domestic violence to include physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, economic abuse, emotional abuse and spiritual abuse. Alcohol consumption and mental illness can be co-morbid with abuse and present additional challenges in eliminating domestic violence (Markowitz, 2000). Prevalence, awareness, perception, definition and documentation of domestic violence differ widely from country to country, and have evolved from era to era.             Population-based studies from various countries indicate that between 10% and 75% of women report that an intimate partner has physically abused

them at least once in their lifetime. The lowest figures of 10% were reported in Paraguay and Philippines while the highest prevalence rates were recorded in Bangladesh (Bonomi, 2002; Garcia-Moreno, Jansen, Ellsberg, Heise & Watts 2006). Overall, at least 1 in 3 of the world’s female population has been physically or sexually abused by a man or men at some time in their life (Silverman, Gupta, Decker, Kapur, & Raj, 2007). Research has shown that physical abuse is often associated with psychological or emotional, and sexual abuse (Heise, Ellsberg & Gottmoeller, 2002)

            In Malaysia, the statistics of domestic violence occurrences against women continues to rise in a concerning and in ever increasing number. A total of 57, 519 cases of violence against women were reported since 2010 to 2016, which include 23,212 cases (40%) of domestic violence involving women as victims while 28,365 cases involving child abuse (Bernama, 2017). In view of this alarming statistics, the issues of domestic violence against women is starting to get substantial attention not only from the authority and Non-Governmental bodies, but also from academicians (García-moreno, Claudia, et al, 2005). Past researches have shown that the predisposition factors (e.g., substance abuse, exposure to parental violence, gender ideologies etc.) are positively related to domestic violence against women and victim factors (e.g., possession of resources, witnessed violence experience, personality integration, positive attitude toward violent behaviour etc.). In further support to that, a number of past researches (e.g. Reingle, Staras, Jennings, Branchini, & Maldonado-molina, 2013) have also found that victim factors and perpetrator factors are positively correlated.             Laws on domestic violence vary by country. While it is generally outlawed in the Western World, this is not the case in many developing countries. For instance, in 2010, the United Arab Emirates’ Supreme Court ruled that a man has the right to physically discipline his wife and children as long as he does not leave physical marks. The social acceptability of domestic violence also differs by country. While in most developed countries domestic violence is considered

unacceptable by most people, in many regions of the world the views are different (UNICEF, 2000).

            According to a UNICEF (2000) survey, the percentage of women aged 15–49 who think that a husband is justified in hitting or beating his wife under certain circumstances is, for example: 90% in Afghanistan and Jordan, 87% in Mali, 86% in Guinea and Timor-Leste, 81% in Laos, 80% in Central African Republic. Refusing to submit to a husband’s wishes is a common reason given for justification of violence in developing countries: for instance 62.4% of women in Tajikistan justify wife beating if the wife goes out without telling the husband; 68% if she argues with him; 47.9% if she refuses to have sex with him (Clarke, 2013). 80% of women surveyed in rural Egypt said that beatings were common and often justified, particularly if the woman refused to have sex with her husband (UNFPA, 2005).

            Various predictors of domestic violence have been extensively reported in literature. In broad terms, they can be classified as, drug abuse, socio-economic status, individual behaviour, partner attitude to marriage and societal characteristics to mention but a few. At the level of the individual (victim), it has been reported that young women and those below the poverty line are disproportionately affected (Ellsberg, Pena, Herrera, Liljestrand & Winkvist, 2000). Low socioeconomic status has also been identified as a predictor of domestic violence (Cunradi, Caetano & Schafer, 2002). Women who contribute a greater proportion to the family income have been identified to be at risk, possibly because the woman’s economic power questions the man’s role as provider (Ellsberg, et al, 2000).

            On the part of the drug abuse as a predictor of domestic violence, men or women who abused alcohol and other psychoactive substances were more likely than those who did not abuse alcohol to perpetrate domestic violence (Stickley, Timofeeva & Sparen, 2008). Witnessing parental violence or being a victim of physical violence as a child has also been associated with men who perpetrate domestic violence. Also, women who were exposed to childhood violence and witnessed domestic violence are at higher risk of being victims.11 At the level of the couple, dysfunctional, unhealthy relationships characterized by inequality, power imbalance and conflict can lead to domestic violence (Clark, Silverman, Shahrouri, Everson-Rose & Groce, 2010).

            Domestic violence is reportedly associated with gender inequality as well as social norms supportive of traditional gender roles, and patriarchal male dominance. Similarly, the lack of institutional support from police and judicial systems and weak community sanctions are other factors known to be associated with domestic violence (Heise, et al., 2002). Gender differences in reporting violence have been cited as another explanation for mixed results (Chan, 2011). According UNFPA (2005), in 2004 survey carried out in Canada, the percentages of males being physically or sexually victimized by their partners was 6% versus 7% for women. However, females reported higher levels of repeated violence and were more likely than

men to experience serious injuries; 23% of females versus 15% of males were faced with the most serious forms of violence including being beaten, choked, or threatened with or having a gun or knife used against them. Also, 21% of women versus 11% of men were likely to report experiencing more than 10 violent incidents.

            Around the world, at least one out of three women is beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family (WHO, 2004). UNFPA (2002) reports that more than 60% of women worldwide have been abused. In 48 population-based surveys around the world, 10 to 69% of the women reported assault by an intimate partner (Krug, et al., 2002). In addition, the prevalence of violence during pregnancy ranges from 4 to 20% in developing countries (Nasir, et al., 2003).             Some sociologists have investigated risk factors and predictors of domestic violence. These factors include age, sex, socio-economic variables, social stress, race and ethnicity (Gelles, 2003). Gelles and Cornell (2000) proposed that factors such as work pressures, unemployment, poverty and poor housing caused

frustration and stresses at the individual level and as a consequence lead to violence in the family. However, some writers argue that this is a limited view since violence is not confined to families in the lower socio-economic groups but is spread across the class spectrum (Browne & Herbert, 2007). Sociologists also viewed family structure as a social institution that creates a high risk for violence (Gelles, 2003). Another sociological explanation of domestic violence is the resource theory proposed by Jasinski (2001). Jasinski (2001) suggested that violence is a resource used to derive power so that a person lacking of power will utilize violence (resources) within the relationship. Although sociological perspectives employ psychological variables, family factors, and the broader social context as the predictors of domestic violence as a social issue.

Statement of the problems

            Domestic violence affects men, women and children. It is a serious problem that transcends racial, economic, social and religious lines. More so, it affects human health, undermines human dignity and in the long run become a major drawback to economic development. When families get involved in domestic violence, a lot of time is spent in settling of disputes and nursing psychological and physical wounds of violence (Siemieniuk, Krentz, Gish & Gill, 2010).

            The impact of domestic violence is far reaching having physical and mental health implications. Murder represents an extreme consequence of domestic violence which is not uncommon (Abasiubong, Abasiattai, Bassey & Ogunsemi, 2010). A major challenge associated with domestic violence is the fact that in some settings it is still a culturally acceptable practice with many women and men including children suffering in silence being held back by family secrecy, cultural norms, shame and fear (Aihie, 2009).

            Several researches have been carried out on domestic violence. For instance Acevedo, Lowe, Kenneth, Gilbert (2013) conducted a study on predictors of intimate partner violence in a sample of Multiethnic urban young adults in Brazil. It was found that lifetime violence-related behaviours, number of lifetime sexual partners, and number of children were significant risk factors for intimate partner violence. Igbokwe, Michael and Kelechi (2013) carried out a study on domestic violence against women in Enugu state and found that verbal abuse (80.95%) and the physical forms of violence (beating, battering, slapping) (69.05%) constituted the major forms of domestic abuse. The greatest socio-cultural factors that promote domestic violence include failure to give the husband a male child (83.33%) and silence of the women about incidence of domestic violence (70.95%). It was found that the greatest forms of domestic violence experienced by women in Nsukka LGA are physical and emotional forms of domestic violence.

Data from the United States shows that an estimated 32,101 pregnancies were as a result of rape each year, the majority of them among adolescents. Fifty percent of these ended in abortions and 5.9% placed the infant for adoption (Holmes, Resnick, Kilpatrick & Best, 2006). There is also a close relationship between violence and mental ill health (Elsbergh, Pena, Herrera, Winkrist & Kullgren, 2009).

According to National Research Council (2006), domestic violence is responsible for 51.7% of male deaths and 24.5% of female deaths in United States. However, in women, death from homicide is known to be associated with a history of domestic violence. A high proportion of women are killed by people known to them, particularly partners and ex partners. Many of these deaths may take place around the time that a woman decides to look for help, or to leave the abuser. Also in Canada, 5,373 women died as a result of homicide, six out of every ten of them were murdered by someone they knew; about half were murdered by a spouse or someone with whom they had been intimate (Johnson, 2006.) Between 1976 and 1996, for persons murdered by intimates, the number of male victims was an average of 5% per year, and the number of female victims went down to an average 1% (U.S. Department of Justice, 1998).

            Furthermore, some researchers focused on an array of issues bothering on prevalence of domestic violence; against women; on gender based violence; and as well as relationship between violence and death of women (Ahiie, 2009; Yusuf, Arulogun, Oladepo & Olowokeere 2011; Oladepo, 2011; Adebayo & Kolawole, 2013). Indermaur (2001) who found that married women aged 19 to 40 years had experienced more of domestic violence from their partner than older married women. Uskun, Nayir and Kisioglu (2012) found that level of education has an inverse relationship with domestic violence. McQuigg (2011) found victims of domestic violence are mostly women and children. Kwamboka (2002) found significant difference in the forms of domestic violence based on years of marriage. He asserted that married adults in their early marriage experienced several forms of domestic violence such as frightening, intimidating, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone in Kenya.

            However, to the best of the researcher’s knowledge, none of the previous researchers had worked on the predictors of domestic violence in Ilorin metropolis. Therefore, this present researcher intends to fill the gap left by the previous researchers to investigates the predictors of domestic violence as expressed by married adults in Ilorin metropolis, Kwara state.

Research Questions

            The under listed research questions were raised to guide the conduct of this study:

  1. What are the predictors of domestic violence as expressed by married adults in Ilorin metropolis, Kwara state?

Research Hypotheses

            The following null research hypotheses were formulated and tested in the study:

  1. There is no significant difference in the predictors of domestic violence among married adults in Ilorin metropolis based on gender.
  2. There is no significant difference in the predictors of domestic violence among married adults in Ilorin metropolis based on age.
  3. There is no significant difference in the predictors of domestic violence among married adults in Ilorin metropolis based on educational qualification.
  4. There is no significant difference in the predictors of domestic violence among married adults in Ilorin metropolis based on religion affiliation.
  5. There is no significant difference in the predictors of domestic violence among married adults in Ilorin metropolis based on years in marriage.
  6. There is no significant difference in the predictors of domestic violence among married adults in Ilorin metropolis based on type of occupation.

Purpose of the Study

The major purpose of this study is to investigate the predictors of domestic violence as expressed by married adults in Ilorin metropolis, Kwara state. Specifically, the study seek to find out if moderating variables of gender, age, educational qualification, religion, years of marriage and type of occupation will influence the expression of married adults in Ilorin metropolis on the predictors of domestic violence.

Significance of the Study

            The finding of this study would be of immense benefit to married adults, would be couples, marriage counsellors, psychologists and future researchers.

            The result of this study would assist married adults or parents and would be couples to be aware of the predictors of domestic violence; and haven been exposed to those predictors, it might guide them on how to build stable marriage devoid of domestic violence. It might assist them in their preparation for wholesome families and may also promote healthy and stable family relationship that will be of profitable mode of marital behaviours that may be quote essential

            Marriage counsellors could find the results of this study helpful. The findings could groom the counsellors more in addition to the knowledge of marital counselling. The findings of study could supply relevant data that might help marriage counsellors in finding solution to the problems of domestic violence in Ilorin metropolis and Nigerian society as a whole.

            Lastly, the study may serve as future reference, be a source of aspiration to new researchers who may be interested in studying domestic violence and related topics.

Operational Definitions of Terms

            For the purpose of clarity and understanding terminologies used in this study, the following terms are operationally defined as used in the study.

Domestic Violence: the act of inflicting or physical or emotional injury by one spouse on another.

Married Adults: literate men and women who are psychologically, socially, and mentally matured and in marital relationship based on societal acceptance.

Predictor: An act or incidence which predicts domestic violence among married adults.

Violence: The use of physical force or emotional abuse to harm a spouse.

Scope of the Study

            This study is aimed at finding out the predictors of domestic violence as expressed by married adults in Ilorin metropolis, Kwara state. Kwara state has sixteen local government areas with 737,577 married adults, it will be difficult for this researcher to cover all the married adults across the state due to lack of time and resources (both human and material resources). Thus the study is going to be limited to selected married adults in Ilorin metropolis. The study investigated the influence of moderating variables of gender, age, educational qualification, religion, years of marriage and nature of occupation on respondents’ view about predictors of domestic violence. A total of 385 respondents formed a sample for the study. An instrument entitled “Predictors of Domestic Violence Questionnaire” (PDVQ) was used to gather data for the analysis. The data will be analysed using percentage, mean and rank order for demographic data while t-test and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) statistic tool was be used for the null hypotheses.