Domestic Violence Against Women And The Role Of Ministry Of Women Affairs In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Domestic Violence Recorded In Lagos State Between 2017-2020)

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Domestic Violence Against Women And The Role Of Ministry Of Women Affairs In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Domestic Violence Recorded In Lagos State Between 2017-2020)


Abstract


This study examined domestic violence against women and the role of Ministry of Women Affairs in Nigeria. In Nigeria, as is the case of most third world countries, domestic violence against women has is culturally sanctioned such that the dichotomous relationship between male and female gender is seen as a norm. Females usually are often victims of this form of violence. Domestic violence includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and verbal abuse between people who have at sometime had an intimate or family relationship.

The research objectives were to; examine the effect of domestic violence against women in Lagos State; find out the factors associated with domestic violence against women in Lagos State; assess the risks associated with domestic violence against women in Lagos State; identify if there are any legal approaches on domestic violence against women in Lagos State; and investigate the role of the Ministry of Women Affairs in the fight against domestic violence on women in Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole. This research work made use of qualitative source of data, through which data were gathered using journals, reports, articles, newspapers, treaties, textbooks and various statutes which would be obtained from online sources.

Findings showed that, domestic violence has significantly effect on children who are exposed to domestic abuse during their upbringing will suffer in their development and psychological welfare. Also, domestic violence have physical effect on the victims such as bruises, broken bones, head injuries, lacerations and internal bleeding. In addition, it was revealed that, Prohibition of Domestic Violence Act 2007, Child Rights Act 2003, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Criminal Code are the identified legal approaches on domestic violence against women in Lagos State. The study revealed Ministry of Women Affairs have initiated the establishment of gender desks at all the police stations in the country.

The study recommends that, in order to cushion domestic violence against women, there is need for constant public education and enlightenment with the aim of raising awareness among Nigerian populace. Also, the Ministry of Women Affairs should create counselling units across various communities and as well as the local government levels in order to counsel and assist victims of domestic violence in the Nigerian society. Lastly, policy makers should formulate laws that will ensure that perpetuators of domestic violence against women face the law accordingly, as this will help reduce the menace in the society.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1. Background to the Study

Violence is prevalent in human society. Of special interest is the violence perpetrated against women in devious dimensions and diverse measures across the globe experienced in “developed” and “developing” countries alike, (Choji & Agbo, 2014). Gender violence is replete in the everyday communications entered into by both male and female gender. The female gender are often at a disadvantaged end visa-vis their male counterparts who are structurally “favoured” by inbuilt stratification mechanisms in most societies, most particularly atheist societies with asexual formations. Enduring cultural orientations embedded in the ideology of patriarchy make men superior to women, (Akanle, 2016). This contradiction in itself engenders violent relationship in which women are subjugated by men. The social construction of gender emphasizes male domination or masculinity in patriarchal societies to which most societies originally belong especially in the context of Nigeria. This archetype explains the socialization process that pitches female gender at a receiving end right from girlhood down to womanhood, (Ellsberg & Heise, 2015).

Domestic violence is a form of violence that occurs in a situation of intimate or family relationship. Females usually are often victims of this form of violence. Domestic violence can therefore be defined as physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and verbal abuse between people who have at sometime had an intimate or family relationship, (Joda, Zubairu, Abdulwaheed, & Abara, 2014). What constitutes physical, sexual, emotional and verbal abuses against women often times would be influenced by the socio-cultural norms of a particular society. The question arises of whether; ‘Marrying a woman exclusively as a house wife and preventing her from any form of vocation outside the domestic responsibilities even if the woman in question has the necessary skills and qualifications as often occurred in various ethnic groups in Nigeria constitutes domestic violence or not?’. Just as some controversies would be raised on the definition of domestic violence as related to cultural practices of different societies, gender based domestic violence against women is often maintained or perpetrated by unhealthy societal and cultural practices.

As earlier highlighted, domestic violence against women could include physical violence, sexual violence, emotional and verbal abuses: 1. Physical violence based on WHO study (WHO, 2015), definition include the women being; slapped or thrown something at that could hurt her; pushed or shoved; hit with a fist or something else that could hurt; kicked, dragged or beaten up; choked or burnt on purpose; and threatened with or actually used a gun, knife or other weapon against her. 2. Sexual violence as defined based on WHO study (WHO, 2015) include; being physically forced to have sexual intercourse against her will; having sexual intercourse because she was afraid of what her partner might do; and, being forced to do something sexual she found degrading or humiliating. 3. The acts of emotional and verbal abuse could include; being insulted or made feel bad about oneself; being humiliated or belittled in front of others; being intimidated or scared on purpose (e.g. by a partner yelling and smashing things); and being threatened with harm among others.

Women are fundamental to the growth and development of any country and the world in general. In today’s world population, women represent half of the population and they are perceived to be homemakers, custodians of social, cultural and fundamental values of the society and permanent change is often best accomplished through women, (Alokan, 2013). Full community development isn’t possible without their understanding, cooperation and effect participation. Bearing in mind the value of women as mother, sometimes breadwinners, teachers and guardians, they deserve respect, recognition and better treatment but the opposite is usually the case, (WHO, 2015)

Domestic violence against women in Nigerian society is seen as the fabric of the society to a point that many women who are victimized feel that they are at fault, (Attoh, 2013; Otite and Ogionwo, 2011). Many of those individuals who perform domestic violence feel defensible by strong public messages which say that rape, battering, sexual harassment, child abuse, and other kinds of violence are acceptable, (Agbo & Choji, 2014). On daily basis, we see images of male violence against women in the news, on TV shows, in the movies, in advertising, and in our homes and workplaces. It is a fact of life that, woman of all ages, races and classes are faced with. Domestic violence is a regular part of most women’s experience in Nigeria, especially at home, (Oladeji 2013).

According to Davies, (2016), women are enslaved in a circle of poverty and they suffer from neglect, discrimination, and exploitation. They are as well subjected to various sorts of violence by their male counterparts. Some historians are of the believe that the history of violence against women is tied to the history of women being viewed as property and a gender role assigned to be subservient to men and as well other women, (Harvey & Gow, 2014). The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (2013) states that, violence against women is a demonstration of past unequal power relations between men and women, which have resulted to supremacy over and discrimination by men towards women and to the prevention of the complete advancement of women and that violence against women is one of the vital social tools through which women are compelled into a subordinate position compared with men.

Women are more prone to be victimized by a person that they are intimate with, commonly called Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). The effect of violence in the sphere of total violence against women can be understood through the example that 40-70% murders of women are committed by their husbands or boyfriends, (World Health Organization, 2015). Studies have revealed that, violence isn’t always perpetrated as a form of physical violence but can as well be psychological and verbal, (Pourreza, Batebi & Moussavi, 2014). Instances of Intimate Partner Violence tend not to be reported to police and thus many experts believe that the true magnitude of the problem is hard to estimate, (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 2013).

In Nigeria, as is the case of most third world countries, domestic violence against women has is culturally sanctioned such that the dichotomous relationship between male and female gender is seen as a norm, (Oladeji, 2013). The fast social change occasioned by globalization in the country hasn’t decimated this unequal relationship. It has only led to other forms of gender violence whereby women experience some forms of double domination, that is, domestic and occupational violence, (Oyediran, & Isiugo-Abanihe, 2015). As women turn to co-bread winners, as against sole-bread winner abinitio, in the family women now find themselves in increasing contentions over access to certain values, privileges and other economic resources, (Oladapo, Yusuf, & Arulogun, 2017). It is fast becoming imperative to revisit the existing law that guarantee the dignity of women as bonafide members of the society considering the international conventions accentuated to by United Nation, a comity of nations to which Nigeria belongs. It is worthy of note that domestic violence isn’t attributable to cases involving women gender alone, as there is no category of individuals that cannot be subjected to domestic violence. However, domestic violence against females is prevailing simply because they are perceived as the weaker sex and second to the husband at home. Therefore, it is on this backdrop that this study will examine domestic violence against women and the role of Ministry of Women’s Affair in the fight against it.


1.2. Statement of Research Problem

The increase in both physical and structural domestic violence against women in Nigeria is a growing source of concern to human rights groups and the international community, most particularly, the Ministry for Women Affairs. Concerns have been raised for advocacy and mitigation of increasing level of domestic violence against women around the globe with international agencies like UN WOMEN, UNICEF and African Union (AU) in the forefront. Other organizations like the International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA), Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDA), Women Consortium of Nigeria WOCON, Gender and Development Action (GADA), among others and the media have been playing remarkable roles in advocacies and redressing violence against women in Nigeria. This development primarily came about as a result of increasing awareness of the vital developmental role played by women in the society and how women have been hitherto suppressed, abused, excluded and segregated over the years.

Based on the above, there arises questions in relation to this research and getting answers to them will be beneficial to humanity and they are;

  1. What is the effect of domestic violence on women in Lagos State?
  2. What are the factors associated with domestic violence against women in Lagos State?
  3. What are the risks associated with domestic violence against women in Lagos State?
  4. To identify the causes of domestic violence among couple
  5. Are there any legal approaches against domestic violence on women in Lagos State?

1.3. Research Objectives

The main objective of this study is to examine domestic violence against women and the role of the Ministry of Women Affairs, an appraisal between 2017-2020. However, in order to achieve the primary objective, the following specific objectives will be to;

  1. Examine the effect of domestic violence against women in Lagos State;
  2. Find out the factors associated with domestic violence against women in Lagos State;
  3. Assess the risks associated with domestic violence against women in Lagos State;
  4. Identify if there are any legal approaches on domestic violence against women in Lagos State; and
  5. Investigate the role of the Ministry of Women Affairs in the fight against domestic violence on women in Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole.

1.4. Research Questions

  1. How does domestic violence affect women in Lagos State?
  2. What are the factors associated with domestic violence against women in Lagos State?
  3. Are there any risks associated with domestic violence against women in Lagos State?
  4. What are the legal approaches on domestic violence against women in Lagos State?
  5. What are the roles of the Ministry of Women Affairs in the fight against violence on women in the Nigeria society?

1.5. Scope of the Study

This study examines domestic violence against women in Nigeria. The scope of this study is limited to the Ministry of Women Affairs and will be confined to domestic violence against women in Lagos State. This study will cover a period of 3years, that is, from 2017 to 2020.


1.6. Significance of the Study

It is hoped that, the findings of this study will help to highlight the negative effects of domestic violence in the Nigeria society especially when it concerns women.

The findings of this study will be of great benefit to Nigeria society at large as it will help the public understand the causes of domestic violence especially towards women and how it can be curb in the society.

The results of this study would hopefully be significant in the sense that it would enable the government and policy makers put in place necessary measures and policies that will help restrain, monitor and apprehend perpetrators of domestic violence on women in the society.

Finally, it is hoped that the findings of this study will enable parents educate their children especially the male to be of good behaviour and conduct to the opposite sex and to shun and neglect any form of violence against women.


1.7. Methodology of the Study

This study will be carried out using a qualitative research approach. The research work will be conducted using a secondary source of data in which data will be gathered using online articles, books, publications, journals, library, and reports from the Ministry of Women Affairs relating to domestic violence against women. The issue under discussion is a global menace which cuts across other African countries, although there have been few or little literatures on the subject matter, this shall be referred to in discussing the topic at hand. The study covers a span of three years, from 2017 to 2020. The study target women especially the married ones, who have experienced domestic violence either directly or indirectly in nature.


1.8. Operational Definition of Terms

Violence:

Cambridge Dictionaries Online defines violence as, actions or words that are intended to hurt people. According to Browne and Williams (2013), violence is defined as the threat or use of coercive force with the intent of inflicting harm, psychological or physical.

Domestic Violence:

Is the intentional and persistent abuse of anyone in the home in a way that causes pain, distress or injury. It refers to any abusive treatment of one family member by another, thus violating the law of basic human rights.

Women:

For the purpose of this study, the term ‘women’ is used basically to cover females in their different forms, including girls and adults.

Trafficking:

This involves the procuring and transfer of women and girls with or without their consent for commercial sex work, forced domestic labour, or other slave-like practices, both within and outside the country.

Sexual Harassment:

These are acts such as jeering, sexist jokes, utterances referring to a woman’s private parts, and the treatment of women as sex objects, via cat calling, whistling, or touching the buttocks or breasts.

Homicide:

Is defined as when one human being causes the death of another. Not all homicides are murder, as some killings are manslaughter and some are lawful, such as when justified by self-defense

Forced Prostitution:

This is when women (including wives, daughters, female wards, and house girls) are forced into prostitution. Women are forced to use their bodies to get gain for their male relatives or for their bosses in many ways, for example, providing sex so as to secure jobs for their husbands or contracts for their employers.


1.10. Organization of Chapters

This study is organized into five main chapters. Chapter two consists of the literature review that reveals the findings and research that already exists on the topic. Chapter three entails the Nigerian government approach to violence against women. Chapter four will provide empirical findings to the research questions. Chapter five provides a summary of the study, conclusion and recommendations.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1. Summary of the Findings

This study examined domestic violence against women and the role of Ministry of Women Affairs in Nigeria. The following findings were revealed;

  1. It was revealed that, domestic violence is prevalent among partners or intimate partners in Lagos State, and it was further found that domestic violence have significantly effect on children who are exposed to domestic abuse during their upbringing will suffer in their development and psychological welfare.
  2. The study revealed that, domestic violence have physical effect on the victims such as bruises, broken bones, head injuries, lacerations and internal bleeding are a number of the acute effects of a domestic violence incident that require medical attention and hospitalization.
  3. It was also found that, victims who are pregnant during a domestic violence relationship experience greater risk of miscarriage, pre-term labour, and injury to or death of the fetus.
  4. The study as well revealed that, victims who are still living with their perpetrators, showed high amounts of stress, fear and anxiety. In addition, depression is as well common, as victims are made to feel guilty for ‘provoking’ the abuse and are frequently subjected to extreme criticism
  5. The study showed that, the most important effects of domestic violence victimization include psychological/mental health issues and chronic physical health problems.
  6. It was further found that, cultural and religious practices, economic and financial dependence are the identified factors associated with domestic violence against women in Lagos State.
  7. The study as well revealed that, at individual level, personality disorders, psychological problems like depression, propensity to anger following frustration, alcohol and other psychoactive substance misuse had been identified as risk factors for domestic violence against women
  8. The study found that, at the relationship level, it has been found that personal relationship such as family, friends, peers, intimate partners may influence the risks of becoming a victim or perpetrator of violence. At this level, childhood experience of domestic violence or constant witness of domestic violence acts in childhood has been identified as risk factors for domestic violence against women.
  9. It was also revealed that, at the community level, which include neighbourhood, workplace, schools among others, may also influence domestic violence. Risk factors identified here are population density, existence of booming trade of drug of abuse and arms, unemployment among others.
  10. The study revealed that, at the societal level, the identified associated risks of domestic violence against women are social and cultural norms that place men dominance over female.
  11. The study showed that, Prohibition of Domestic Violence Act 2007, Child Rights Act 2003, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Criminal Code are the identified legal approaches on domestic violence against women in Lagos State.
  12. The study revealed the following as the role of the Ministry of Women Affairs in the fight against domestic violence on women, which are; passing of the Act legislating against trafficking in women and children; establishment of a National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and other related matters; existence of safe houses for victims of domestic and sexual violence in a number of states and Federal Capital Territory representing about 16.2percent of the states of the federation; the federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Youth Development initiated the establishment of gender desks at all the police stations in the country; sensitization of the police officers on the Beijing Platform for Action, African Plan of Action and CEDAW at a 2day national workshop held in Lagos State; setting up of Family Law Centres in a number of states by the Ministry of Women Affairs, and the coalition of NGOs and CBOs to assist aggrieved women in the pursuit of their rights in the law courts; establishment of Legal Aid Council, which provides free legal counsel to women; the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs after due consultation with other stakeholders submitted interventions in the following areas; Wife chastisement; Wife inheritance; and Wife succession and property inheritance; among others.

5.2. Conclusion

The literature revealed that, there was high prevalence of domestic violence against women reported in the study. Both men and women have been found to be victims of gender based violence; however, the women were found to be the most victims of the act. The ensuring effect of this is that, it has a great implication for the general well-being as it affects all spheres of lives. And as a result, it is important that, special intervention strategies are implemented in order to enlightening the public on the effects of domestic violence on both women and men in the society.

Based on the findings revealed in the study, the study therefore concludes that, it is essential that all relevant stakeholders are involved, that is, the communities, religious associations, private and public agencies, federal, state and local governments. Seminars and workshops should be organized in order to raise awareness and start campaign against domestic violence. In addition, existing laws on domestic violence against women should be reviewed and strengthened in order to effects the lapses contained in it so as to carry out its purpose of establishment effectively.


5.3. Recommendations

Based on the above conclusion, the following recommendations are poised for the study;

  1. The study recommends that, in order to cushion domestic violence against women, there is need for constant public education and enlightenment with the aim of raising awareness among Nigerian populace.
  2. The study as well recommends that, government and relevant private and public agencies should engage the use of television, radio, prints media and social media to campaign and create awareness in order to improve the masses knowledge on domestic violence and to understand the importance of a free violence society.
  3. The study as well recommends that, parents should monitor their children behaviour and attitude from childhood so that they exhibit and portray good behaviour
  4. The study recommends that, the issue of domestic violence against women be given top priority and to ensure that the right of women and girl child are adequately protected against discrimination in the Nigerian society.
  5. The study recommends that, policy makers should formulate laws and policies that will ensure that perpetuators of domestic violence against women face the law accordingly, as this will help reduce the menace in the society.
  6. The study recommends that, the law enforcement agencies especially the police be adequately equipped and enlighten on measures to prevent and solve domestic violence against women in the society.
  7. The study recommends that, the Ministry of Women Affairs should create counselling units or centers across various communities and as well as the local government levels in order to counsel and assist victims of domestic violence in the Nigerian society.
  8. The study as well recommends that, women should be adequately empowered in order to keep them engaged and financial stable.

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