DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; WHAT’S THE WAY FORWARD?

The United Nations Women report reveals that forty-eight percent of Nigerian women have experienced at least one form of violence since the COVID-19 pandemic. Women and girls are subjected to numerous forms of violence in the home varying from deprivation, starvation, hitting, suffocating, burning, acid baths, poisoning, neglect, lack of care, verbal insults, degrading comments, torture, intimidation, female genital mutilation, child marriage, child abuse, denial, neglect, deprivation, and abandonment. News and stories about women who died or got badly injured from domestic violence currently circulates social media. One of which is the recent death of Nigeria’s popular singer, Osinachi Nwachukwu who was allegedly beaten to death by her husband in April 2022. The news of Osinachi’s death not only surprised Nigerians, it also raised questions about how a popular figure like her could endure the inhumane torture from her husband for a long time and how it could stay hidden for so long. The deceased’s case brought about the discovery of statistics of women who were subjected to cruel and brutal treatment by their spouses and supposed lovers. Some of which were the cases of Titilayo Omozoje who was killed by her husband Akolade Arowolo in June 2011, and Seun Mojiyagbe who was stabbed to death with a pair of scissors by her husband in November 2021 and so on. A lot of victims and survivors also came out to share their experiences and how helpless they felt.

In a College Seminar presentation hosted by the Basic Medical & Health Sciences, Fountain University, Osogbo with the topic ‘Personal & Contextual Factors As Determinants Of Attitude of Women Towards Domestic Violence In Nigeria’ Dr. Fasasi M.I shared the types of Domestic Violence people encounter, causes and solutions. In her words, “Domestic Violence is the intentional use of power and control by a person against another in the family which may be husband to wife.” Dr. Fasasi also identified two major factors influencing domestic violence. They include: Personal traits such as low self-esteem, childhood experience, hereditary or contextual factors e.g Social norms, cultural and religious beliefs, gender role perception, and so on.  Other causes of domestic violence are psychological effects such as the need for power and control, jealousy, social stress, loss of jobs, nagging, forced marriages, frustration, and other issues such as poverty, a partner denying the other sexual pleasure, and so on. It’s very important to know that domestic violence takes many forms including physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, and mental abuse. Common forms of violence against women in Nigeria are rape, acid attacks, molestation, wife-beating, and corporal punishment. Unfortunately, most women in Africa, especially in Nigeria, tend to stay in abusive relationships or marriages due to several reasons like economic reasons, for the sake of the children, religious beliefs, societal pressure, and stigma. It’s so sad that a lot of them view marriage as an achievement and take it as a do-or-die affair till they meet their doom.

Ways to Prevent Domestic Violence

1. Education:

Education is a proven way to prevent domestic violence. Educational training equips women with knowledge required to identify instances where their rights are being violated and teaches them proper ways to seek help.

2. Learning Proper Dialogue Techniques:

This teaches partners how to communicate their needs without resorting to violence. This would in turn reduce the occurrence of domestic violence.

3. Seeking Professional Help:

Both the abuser and the abused need professional help to figure patterns that result to abuse and how these can be resolved.

4. Being Affectionate:

: Partners who are affectionate towards each other have a lesselikelyhood of being domestically violent with one another.

In a nutshell, it is important that females, males, schools, parents, and teachers spend more time educating themselves and reading books on domestic violence, its causes, solutions, and how to seek help. More educational sensitization should also be carried out in schools. Parents should normalize teaching male children about proper ways to treat women and should avoid getting into violent behaviors in the presence of their wards. Males should join in the advocacy of eradicating domestic violence in society.

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