Female population accounted for more than half of Nigerian population and they experienced gender based social injustices that prevented full exploration of their potentials. One of these social injustices is domestic violence against women. The problem of violence against women in Nigeria had not been given adequate attention both at the individual and government levels. This article did a general review of the present state of situation as regards domestic violence against women in an African sub-culture society like Nigeria. It explored the religious influences vis-à-vis the gender roles imposed on women by African culture and practices and the role of Nigerian government so far. It also proposed the way forward in mitigating domestic violence against women in Nigeria. Family, apart from providing security and emotional support should provide the most secure environment for an individual to grow. However, domestic violence is largely evident in the Nigeria families and societies. Although, women are worshipped as deities at home in some cultures in Nigeria, they are also treated as second class members of the family. This is largely due to the patriarchal nature of the Nigerian society
- Background of the study
The population of a nation is a great asset to her economic and political development. Female population accounted for more than half of the Nigerian population (NPC, 2016). To maximize economic and political development in Nigeria, there is need to actively involve women to contribute their quota. They need to be encouraged and liberated from various social injustices perpetrated against them. One of these social injustices is domestic violence against women, which had not only put them in subordinate position but had prevented them from exploring their potential as regards contribution to Nigerian economic and political development. Globally, there is increased interest on addressing the inequalities that exists across societies which negatively affects women’s health. Eradicating such ills is no longer a privilege but a fundamental human right issue as emphasized during the International Conference on Population Development (ICPD) meeting of 2004 in Cairo, Egypt. Violence against women occurs in all cultures and in diverse forms with significant physical, mental, psychological and psychosocial impact (Amobi LI, Okonkwo 2012). This formed the basis for the United Nations General Assembly declaration in 2013 for the elimination of all forms of violence against women. Sexual violence is an act that involves any unwanted, nonconsensual sexual contact, ranging from kissing or fondling to rape or attempted rape. The violence does not necessarily connote the use of force but may follow coercion. Sexual violence occurs in both gender but is known to affect the female gender more commonly. Several factors such as societal norms, economic factors, wars and conflicts plus cultural factors make the victim vulnerable. The prevalence of sexual violence is difficult to estimate because of variations in how data sources define sexual violence and also how information about it is gathered. In South Africa the prevalence is 4.5 – 7.2% while in Nigeria rates of 14.2- 81.0% had been documented (Jewkes R, Penn-Kekana 2011). In Nigeria, it has been reported as part of intimate partner abuse, domestic violence and among infant welfare clinic attendees. Pregnancy is also not an exception with domestic violence rates of 10.0-14.2% reported among pregnant women in United Kingdom and Lagos, Nigeria (Onoh RC, Umeora Et al 2013). Sexual coercion which is a form of sexual violence has been defined as the use of force or attempt to force another individual through violence, threats, verbal insistence, deception, cultural expectations, and economic circumstances to engage in any sexual activity against his or her will. It occurs in all age groups with rates of 13.4-55.0% among youths in Nigeria and Uganda. Rape is an extreme form of sexual violence occurring across all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. It is underreported with 50-84% of its extreme form not reported. Although it occurs in all ages, the young are at greatest risk. Rates of 12% had been reported among adolescents in Ibadan and 25% among college students in the United States of America. In most cases the victims are females while the perpetrators are males, usually known to the victim and included boyfriends and faculty members (Ajuwon AJ, Akin-Jimoh 2013). The risk factors documented for perpetrators include alcohol and drug use, coercive sexual fantasies, impulsive and antisocial tendencies, history of sexual abuse as a child, multiple sexual partners, poverty, witnessed family violence as a child, strongly patriarchal relationship or family environment, societal norms that support sexual violence and weak laws and policies related to gender equity. Sexual violence has immediate and long term effects which can be tremendous and devastating. It has physical, psychological, social and health behaviour consequences. Among victims there is an increased incidence of strain in relationships, insomnia, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicidal tendencies. The various health related effects are chronic pelvic pain, premenstrual syndrome, sexually transmitted infections, gastrointestinal disorders and psychosomatic complaints (Lu MC, Lu JS, Halfin VP 2013). Cultural norm can influence gender based violence either positively or negatively. In societies with male-dominated sexual relationships and values, victims are less likely to report to avoid breaking traditional norms and stigmatization, while in cultures and religions where punitive measures are enforced, the reporting is much improved. Adolescents and young persons are quite adventurous, including in matters related to sex. Violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women’ (UN, 2013).Violence against women had been defined as any act of gender based violence that results in, or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty whether occurring in public or in private life(WHO, 2016). The definition connotes that violence against women is a form of social injustice by which women forced into a subordinate position compared to men.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Domestic violence is a widespread problem throughout the developed and developing world and makes serious impact on quality of human life and broader development (Melville & McDowell 2018). Violence against women is the manifestation of a historically unequal power relationship between men and women. It is a conditioned response and is not natural or born of biological determinism. In the olden days, violence against women was as a result to the prevalent atmosphere of ignorance and feudalism (Matud 2018). Today violence against women is an uncontrollable phenomenon, which is a direct result of the rapid urbanization, industrialization and structural adjustment programmes which are changing the socio-economic scenario of our country. In the Nigerian society, the problem of violence against women in the family is not new. In Nigeria, despite a women goddess been worshipped in the image of Orisha within the Yoruba cultural group, it is still disheartening to observe the brutal reality of women‟s existence (James 2018). Women in many Nigerian society have been the victims of humiliation, torture and exploitation from the time immemorial irrespective of the fact that they are also worshipped by different tribal groups (Umukoro & Egbai 2016: Anweting & Ogar 2018). Also, family is supposed to be the first agency, which provides not only emotional and material support to its members but also serves as basic source of personal satisfaction, socialization and social control. However, due to patriarchal nature of the Nigerian family system, the family structure does not give equal importance to all members as role, power and status are strictly determined by age and gender. Women in Nigeria through the ages have been victimized, humiliated, tortured and exploited.
- OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The study has one main objective which is sub-divided into general objective and specific objective. The general objective is to define ways sexual assault and domestic violence can be stopped in Isiodu community of River state. The specific objectives are;
- To examine the effect of domestic violence on the psychological wellbeing of residence of Isiodu community
- To examine the relationship between sexual assault and domestic violence in the study area
- To ascertain the effect of sexual assault on the emotional wellbeing of Isiodu women in Rivers state
- To proffer suggested solutions to the identified problem
- RESEARCH QUESTION
The following research questions were formulated by the researcher to aid the completion of the study;
- Is there any effect of domestic violence on the psychological wellbeing of residence of Isiodu community?
- Is there any significant relationship between sexual assault and domestic violence in the study area?
- Does sexual assault have any effect on the emotional wellbeing of Isiodu women in Rivers state?
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher to aid the completion of the study;
H0: There is no significant relationship between sexual assault and domestic violence in the study area
H1: There is a significant relationship between sexual assault and domestic violence in the study area
H0: Domestic violence does not have any effect on the psychological wellbeing of residence of Isiodu community
H2: Domestic violence does have an effect on the psychological wellbeing of residence of Isiodu community
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to counselling and guiding profession as the study will proffer suggested solution to combat the menace of sexual assault and domestic violence in the study, the study will also be of importance to researchers who intend to embark on a study in a similar topic as the study will serve as a reference to further studies in a similar topic. The study will be of great importance to students, teachers, academia’s, researchers and the general topic as the study will contribute to the pool of existing literature on the subject matter and also contribute to knowledge.
- SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers the definition of ways sexual assault and domestic violence can be stopped in Isiodu community in River state. But in the course of the study, there are some factors that limit the scope of the study;
- a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
- b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
- c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.
1.8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Sexual assault is an act in which one intentionally sexually touches another person without that person’s consent, or coerces or physically forces a person to engage in a sexual act against their will
Domestic violence is violence committed by someone in the victim’s domestic circle. This includes partners and ex-partners, immediate family members, other relatives and family friends.
Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent.
1.9 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study