Several domestic relationships have been bedevilled by legal issues in Nigeria and with many of them ending in arbitration instead of ending up with handshake as they normally started. A cross sectional analysis where conducted from 44 schools in Nigeria and South Africa respectively on domestic violence using a sample of 2,462 adolescents. The analysis shows that, adolescents from Nigeria were more likely to be exposed to Intimate partner violence(IPV) and family violence and were more likely to endorse in violence against women. Male adolescents were more likely to endorse in violence against women than female adolescents. From the analysis, it can be deduced that exposure to Intimate Partner Violence(IPV) and family violence and beliefs about violence against women differed by gender and country. The prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence(IPV) is relatively high in Nigeria with almost 1 in 4 women having experienced Intimate Partner Violence(IPV) and 1 in every 3 respondents admitting to being a victim of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a global issue and however, shows no sign of lessening in Nigeria; One reason for this, is the perception that Nigerians have over domestic violence. This theoretical complementary has an objective of showcasing the general perception that most Nigerians have over domestic violence using secondary sources of data.
In the past decade, domestic violence has been recognised as a major public health problem with more than 2 million women and 800,000 men falling as victims worldwide. Misunderstanding of the basic concept of domestic violence however, has made case identification difficult. Hence, it is very vital for one to understand the key concept of domestic violence. In the studies of the Australia community, ‘domestic violence’ is usually taken to mean partner abuse, specifically physical violence between a male and female partner, most commonly perpetrated by the male partner. Such meaning that the Australia community poses over domestic violence omits the key words which include; any form of abuse be it, sexual abuse, economic abuse, psychological abuse and emotional abuse and not only physical abuse, it also omits the abuse that is done in any relationship within the households including the abuse of children, elders or siblings. A more precise definition of domestic violence can be given as “a pattern of assaultive or coercive behaviours including physical, sexual and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion that adults or adolescents use against their intimate partners”.
Domestic violence is a complex issue in Nigeria and people live with it as if is a norm in the society. Despite the fact that most societies proscribe against domestic violence, but the reality is that violations against domestic violence are often sanctioned under the grab of cultural practices and norms, or through misinterpretation of religious tents. Religion and religious institutions which seem to be an important place of refuge in the lives of most Nigerians however, have contributed directly or indirectly to the beliefs about domestic violence and has given most Nigerians the perception of domestic violence as a legal act. In the midst of all these uncertainties, the objective of this theoretical complementary remains to analysis the general perception which most Nigerians display over domestic violence, ranging from Intimate partner violence(IPV) against women; the most prominent form of domestic violence, to child abuse.
The cases of domestic violence in Nigeria is becoming increasingly remarkable and has increased from 21% in 2011 to 30% with Intimate partner violence against women(IPV) leading as one of the most common form of domestic violence, two in three victims of Intimate partner violence(IPV) are women. Almost 37-70 percent of the total population of women in Nigeria having experienced Intimate partner violence or 1 in every 4 women have experienced intimate partner violence. Following the data that was derived from the Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey(NDHS) in 2003 using both descriptive and analytical methods. The study demonstrates that a large percentage of Nigerian women agreed that a man is justified in beating or hitting his wife; 66.4 percent and 50.4 percent of ever married and unmarried women respectively expressed consent for wife beating. From the studies, the following was deducted about the perception which most Nigerians have on women and has furtherly navigated the prevalence of Intimate partner violence against women;
- There is a general conception that a woman must be subdued to her husband and that a man is justified in beating or hitting his wife.
- Majority belief in the inherent superiority of males and hence, there is a social inequality found between a man and a woman.
- In the concept of marriage, a man is legally approved to have sex with his wife and does not exclude the use of force, such concept has promoted the sexual abuse of women in marriage.
- Majority believes that, accepting violence is a means of resolving conflict and kick against divorce.
Nationwide, women and girls suffer a life-threatening effect of such wrong perception that most Nigerians display over Intimate partner against violence against women and may require a more pragmatic solution.
Child abuse is gradually becoming the most famous form of domestic violence after Intimate partner violence(IPV) against women, with Nigeria having the largest number of children abused. According to UNICEF, 6 out of every 10 children experience some form of violence – one in four girls and 10 percent of boys have been victims of sexual violence. Rapidly, Nigerian is becoming one of the country with the highest rate of violence worldwide and has the largest number of child marriage in Africa with more than 23 million girls and women who were married as children, most of them from poor and rural communities. Although the society as a whole speak against violence against children but the fact remains is that, the violence against children are rooted in social norms. The following was deducted about the perception or mentality which most Nigerians have over a child and has promoted the prevalence of child abuse in the society;
- There is a general believe system by most Nigerians when it comes to child up-bringing; most Nigerian believes in the use of violence in installing discipline to a child.
- Majority believe that parents have the right to sanction his/her child to marriage without trying to seek the permission of the child and hence, have resulted to over 43 percent of girls below the age of 18 to be victims of sexual abuse in Nigeria and has made Nigeria to be ranked the 9th country with the highest rate of early marriage.
Such mentality which most Nigerians perceive on child up-bringing and child marriage had foster the prevalence of child abuse in Nigeria.
In conclusion, Misunderstanding or the mentality which an average Nigerian has over domestic violence has made domestic violence to show no sign of lessening in Nigeria. Eliminating such wrong perception than an average Nigerian sees on domestic violence could substantially ameliorate domestic violence in Nigeria probably by 60 percent. The prevalence of domestic violence is largely on the general perception which the society looks at domestic violence and hence, eradicating domestic violence in Nigeria entails changing the perception which the society has on domestic violence.
Opara Udochukwu Kingsley, a 100 level medical student of Alex Ekwueme Federal University of Ndufu Alike Ikwo (AE-FUNAI) Ebonyi state wrote in from firstname.lastname@example.org