Dealing with the Prevalence of Domestic Violence in Nigeria
By Jude Chukwuemeka
▪︎Mrs Titilola Vivour (Coordinator, Lagos State Domestic and Violence Response Team)
▪︎Rotimi Sankore (Policy Expert)
The two experts in the issue of domestic violence join Sheriff Quadry inside the 99.3 Nigeria Info studio to discuss the issue again, finding the primary causes and possible way forward in solving the menace that still haunts families in Nigeria.
Rotimi in particular has done a lot in speaking on behalf of women who suffer in the hands of their husbands or lovers, so-to-speak. His work on the issue has taken him to several events in and out of Nigeria. But as Rotimi would often say, the issue of domestic violence goes beyond husbands mistreating wives; wives also mistreat husbands, while children too have been abused.
But what is domestic violence? Sheriff makes the following definition clear:
“According to various researches, Domestic violence is primarily regarded as a persistent and deliberate treating of anyone in the home in the way that causes stress or injury. It refers to any abusive treatment of one family member by another, thus violating the law of human rights.
“It includes bartering of intimate relations and others, sexual abuse of children, marital rape and traditional practices that are harmful to women. Further, medically inclined researches indicate that partner violence against women has been recognized worldwide as a public health problem with far-reaching consequences for the physical reproductive and mental health of women.”
While responding, Titilola says a primary reason for abusive actions is that the abuser wants to control or dominate the other partner. She says these are the major reasons. Also, the abusive partner may have grown up being abused too. Unrealistic expectations also push a partner to abuse the other at the slightest point of disagreement.
On his part, Rotimi says it is a ‘brutality’ and calling it domestic violence underestimates the brutality of the action. “Sometimes, it is worse than war,” he says.
“When people are using their body weight as in the days of the cave men or Neanderthals, this is where the State has to come in and we have to commend Lagos state in this area for leading the way. When it happens, it is a case of Lagos State against the abusive person," Rotimi says.
In a survey on violence against women in Lagos, 64.4% of women admit that they had been beaten by a partner (boyfriend or husband). Titilola, who gives statistical numbers says the brutality is steadily rising these days, although the State is trying to help with the issue.
The common forms of abuse reported during the research were shouting at a partner and it constitutes 93% of the case. Slapping or pushing constitutes 77% and punching and kicking is believed to be 40%.
The guests also talk about the red flags and other signs that a partner could become abusive in the future. Other areas are the case of whistleblowers, societal stigma, etc.