Domestic violence against women is the act of abusing women either physically, sexually, mentally or emotionally. It is a serious crime that has left many women either permanently incapacitated or dead.
In Nigeria, likewise many African countries, this has been a reoccurring menace, which is widespread despite laws enacted against violence against women. It has been a common belief among some men in Nigeria that it is socially acceptable to hit a woman to discipline her for her wrongdoings. It is a common notion among this category of men that women should always be brought under control.
Societal factors that often encourage abuse is based largely on patriarchal society. The loss of women’s rights upon marriage in sub-Saharan Africa and the implicit obedience and deference towards men socially encouraged within the society. In practice where a bride price is paid, it is common to believe that by paying the bride price, he now owns his wife. The act of marriage is seen to give the husband full ownership of the woman.
The CLEEN Foundation reports that one in every three women her going through domestic abuse according to a report that was conducted. It was also discovered that there has been an increase in cases of domestic violence in the 3 years from 21% in 2001 to 30% in 2013.
Violence against women in Nigeria includes rape, acid attacks, molestation, wife beating, and corporal punishment. Sadly, more than 50% of cases of violence against women went unreported because many of these women believe that they have nowhere to go and wouldn’t want to leave their children for another woman to take care of them. As well, these women believe that domestic violence cannot be a reason to report their husbands to the police, rather it should be a matter to be settled within the family.
It is observed that some men who are drunkards often abuse their wives as a result of the influence of alcohol. Men who are going through financial crises are often frustrated and sometimes become violent against their wife, especially when the woman is more financially buoyant, the men become intimidated and will always want to force control over their wives. Unfortunately, some of these men continue to beat their wife until some of them become permanently disabled or dead.
The Nigeria government has risen to the challenge in a bid to stop all forms of violence against women and has taken legal proceedings against men who abuse their wife in other to forestall future cases. There should also be a societal reorientation that would encourage men to see women as equal partners in building the society and they should, therefore, be respected.