The Crime Of Domestic Violence In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Nnenwi, Anambra State)

Project and Seminar Material for Sociology

The Crime Of Domestic Violence In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Nnenwi, Anambra State)


Abstract


This study was carried out on the crime of domestic violence in Nigeria using Nnenwi, Anambra State as a case study. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprised of married couples residents in Nnenwi, Anambra State. In determining the sample size, the researcher purposefully selected 112 respondents and 100 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables, and mean scores. The result of the findings reveals that the prevalence of the crime of domestic violence in Nigeria is high.The study also revealed that the possible causes of domestic violence among couples in Nigeria include; sex role, sexual dissatisfaction and infidelity, ego massage, income disparity, religion differences, alcohol consumption, money matters, and childlessness. Furthermore, the study revealed that the various consequences of the crime of domestic violence are child negligence, communication gaps, destruction of property, divorce, separation and ultimately death. Therefore, government should increase public awareness on domestic violence, by sensitizing individuals on their rights and laws guiding these rights. To mention but a few.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Domestic abuse is a problem that is entrenched in many societies across the globe and Nigeria is not an exception. Research in this area such as the one done by Eneh, et al. (2005) has shown that this type of violence has traumatised many Nigerian couples. The crime of domestic violence remains a persistent problem because of the power and control held by the abuser; the fear, intimidation and humiliation suffered by the victim of this crime (Okere, 2000).

The oldest and most prevalent institution in the world today is the marriage institution. In all cultures, there is a particular sanctity attached to this institution, so much that it is particularly considered to be a building block of any society. The pivotal position of marriage has made domestic violence a subject of interest to various disciplines, government, religious sects and professional associations (Arldine, 1994).

American Psychological Association (APA) (1996) defined domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behaviour including a wide range of physical, sexual, and psychological maltreatment used by a person in an intimate relationship against another to gain power unfairly or to maintain the misuse of power, control and authority.
The role of spouse in family relationship is significant, such that some people have acclaimed it to be a surviving family adjustment. However, this role has its own problems. Some spouses have been found to be abused in various forms, ranging from sexual to financial abuse and communicative abuse. All these have implication on family relationship (Ayo, 2001).

Domestic violence occurs in traditional heterosexual marriages, as well as in some sexual partnership. The abuse may occur during a relationship or after the relationship has ended. The key elements of domestic violence are: intimidation, humiliation and physical injury. Going by the definition of domestic violence, couples engage in it to control the other partner and keep him/her from departing or quitting the relationship. A critical look at the definition of domestic violence will reveal that they assume the dimension of portraying women as the victims bearing the brunt, while men are seen as perpetrators.

This could be as a result of the widely held beliefs that women are the weaker sex while men are by right, the head of the family that must be obeyed. Nigeria as a country has her own fair share of domestic violence, which could be seen in the rate of divorce, separation and marital dishonesty in the country. According to Ajila (2000) in his study on wife beating in western Nigeria, it was found that 32% of women indicated that they have experienced abuse, 21% believe strongly that wives should be beaten while 72% believe that wives should be beaten once in a while. Bakare (1986) identified marital conflict to exist along a particular continuum which are: occasional verbal quarrels, frequent verbal quarrels, occasional physiological quarrel, frequent physical quarrel, psychological separation, physical separation, and divorce, etc. A close look at this shows that a particular couple is expected to go through the whole stages, but it is not necessarily so in all situations. Some couples get to the divorce stage without going through physical quarrels and physical separation, while some resolve the conflict completely before it gets to divorce stage (Anyanwu, 2004).

Researchers such Rhodes, Adamson and Arnolds (2000) indicated the crime of domestic violence prevalent in Nigeria is still largely under reported, if reported at all. The causes of domestic violence can be seen in two broad categories. The traditional causes such as culture, ethnicity and religion are those factors that are commonly seen and discussed as leading to fighting among couples. They are immediate causes that can be pin pointed as leading to violence in the home. These include, among others, sex role, sexual dissatisfaction and infidelity, ego massage, income disparity, religion differences, alcohol consumption, money matters, childlessness, influence of inlaws etc (Adekoya, 2005).

Secondly, contemporary causes of domestic violence are those underlying remote factors such as frequent verbal quarrels, occasional physiological quarrel, frequent physical quarrel and psychological separation that are not easily seen or implicated, yet they influence violence behaviour in marital relationship. Domestic violence has now become a common phenomenon. It should be noted here that as husbands abuse their wives so also wives abuse their husbands (Steinmetz, 1997). It is only the degree that varies. The question then is how well has domestic violence or abuse been able to achieve its end? Has domestic violence solve the problems of family discord, divorce, separation etc experienced today?

Base on the above picture, the study is to examine the the crime of domestic violence in Nigeria.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

It has been found that various forms of domestic violence crime exist in some family relationship and has degenerated into various marital problems among which are child negligence, communication gaps, destruction of property, divorce, separation and ultimately death.

Many marriages today, have failed unmendably due to domestic violence. For instance, many couples, especially the men folks, have resorted to settling scores with their wives through aggressive actions such as beating and fighting on any slightest provocation. In some families, love has flown away, and has been replaced by spousal hate and aggression. For instance, in many couples’ homes, occasional verbal quarrels, frequent verbal quarrels, occasional physiological quarrels, frequent physical quarrels, psychological quarrels and separation which in any case, lead to physical separation and total divorce, have resigned supreme. No wonder in our customary and conventional courts today, there are cases of divorce occasioned by domestic violence or aggression among spouses.

Based on the above picture, this study is therefore meant to examine the crime of domestic violence in Nigeria.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The primary purpose of this study are to:

  1. Ascertain the prevalence of the crime of domestic violence in Nigeria
  2. Identify the causes of domestic violence among couples in Nigeria.
  3. Find out the types of domestic violence prevalent in Nigeria.
  4. Identify the consequences of the crime of domestic violence.

1.4 Research Questions

The study will be guided by the following questions;

  1. What is the prevalence of the crime of domestic violence in Nigeria?
  2. What are the possible causes of domestic violence among couples in Nigeria?
  3. What are the types of domestic violence prevalent in Nigeria?
  4. What are the consequences of the crime of domestic violence?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The outcome of this study will be of great benefit to the married couples, marriage counsellors, children of violent couples and the society at large. With reference to the married couples, the finding of this study will help them identify some of this evil effects of violence not only on them as perpetrators but also on everyone who maintains intimate relationship with them such as their children and extended family members or friends. Thus, be able to control their anger.

Also, marriage counsellors will be able to identify the various forms of violence among couples and be able to provide adequate counselling assistance whenever the need arises.

On the other way, children of violent couples will be exposed to the right attitude to violent behaviour of their parents so as not to grow up as perpetrators of domestic violence. These children will also be educated on the need to always develop healthy emotional life inspite of the violent circumstance prevailing among them.

The society at large will be made to the damning effects of domestic violence on family relationship. It will also assist the society to see and accept marriage as a loving relationship that should be devoid of humiliation, intimidation, threat and physical injury.


1.6 Scope of the Study

This study basically covered married couples in Nnenwi, Anambra State


1.8 Definition of Terms

1. Domestic Violence:

Domestic violence which is otherwise referred to as spousal abuse is described as when adults in a relationship misuse power to control another whereas such establishment of control in the relationship is through violence and other form of abuse. It is also defined as a pattern of abusive behaviour including a wide range of physical sexual and psychological maltreatment used by one person in an intimate relationship against another to gain power unfairly or to maintain the person misuse of power, control and authority. The following factors amount to domestic violence; occasional verbal quarrels, frequent verbal quarrels, occasional physiological quarrel, frequent physical quarrel, psychological separation, physical separation and divorce.

2. Family Relationship:

This is defined as the relationship of trust, love and care existing between couples who have agreed to co-exist as husband and wife. It is the foundation or bedrock of all other societal relationship. Family relationship is expected to last till death do couples part. The following factors amount to domestic violence; occasional verbal quarrels, frequent verbal quarrels, occasional physiological quarrel, frequent physical quarrel, psychological separation, physical separation and divorce.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on the crime of domestic violence in Nigeria using Nnenwi, Anambra State as a case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was on the crime of domestic violence in Nigeria using Nnenwi, Anambra State as a case study. The study is was specifically carried out to; ascertain the prevalence of the crime of domestic violence in Nigeria, identify the causes of domestic violence among couples in Nigeria, find out the types of domestic violence prevalent in Nigeria, and identify the consequences of the crime of domestic violence.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 100 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent were married couples residents in Nnenwi, Anambra State.


5.3 Conclusions

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher concluded that;

  1. The prevalence of the crime of domestic violence in Nigeria is high.
  2. The possible causes of domestic violence among couples in Nigeria include; sex role, sexual dissatisfaction and infidelity, ego massage, income disparity, religion differences, alcohol consumption, money matters, childlessness, and influence of inlaws.
  3. The types of domestic violence prevalent in Nigeria comprises of physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse, stalking, and psychological abuse.
  4. The various consequences of the crime of domestic violence are child negligence, communication gaps, destruction of property, divorce, separation and ultimately death.

5.4 Recommendations

Recommendation on the basis of findings. The researcher made the following recommendation with the belief that when studied and applied, would help to reduce the incidence of domestic violence among married couples. The researcher recommends that:

  1. Government should increase public awareness on domestic violence, by sensitizing individuals on their rights and laws guiding these rights
  2. Social workers should ensure that victims of domestic violence and their children are safe-guided through a programme tagged “Save the children” programme, in which the children’s conditions in marriages rocked by domestic violence are taken care of.

The Crime Of Domestic Violence In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Nnenwi, Anambra State)


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