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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MANAGEMENT AMONG MARRIED URBAN DWELLERS IN THE CURRENT ECONOMIC RECESSION IN NIGERIA. CASE STUDY OF MARRIED URBAN DWELLERS IN EGBEDA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA IN IBADAN
Background of the study
Gender is defined by FAO as the relations between men and women. Gender is not determined biologically, as a result of sexual characteristics of either women or men, but is constructed socially. It is a central organizing principle of societies, and often governs the processes of production and reproduction, consumption and distribution (FAO, 1997). Despite this definition, gender is often misunderstood as being the promotion of women only. However, from FAO definition, gender issues focus on women and on the relationship between men and women, their roles, access to and control over resources, division of labour, interests and needs. Gender relations affect household security, family well-being, planning, production and many other aspects of life (Bravo-Baumann, 2000). Recent decades, have witnessed substantial gains in agricultural productivity and rapid advances in agricultural technology. These advances often by-passed women farmers and reduced their productivity. Frequently the changes were linked to credit requirements that were either in accessible to women, or were not tailored to their needs and demands. Therefore, women face a variety of gender-based constraints (violence) as farmers and managers of resources. Gender Based Violence (GBV) can be described as any harm that is perpetrated against a person, as a result of power of inequalities that are based on gender roles. According to United Nations Economic and Social Council (1992), gender based violence is all encompassing, as it is not only limited to physical, sexual and psychological violence, but include threats of violence, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Though gender based violence may take many forms, it cut across all cultures disproportionately affecting women and children mostly. According to Kes et al. (2005), a survey conducted in Kerela, India revealed that 49 percent of women without property reported that they had experienced incidents of violence as opposed to 7 percent of women with property. According to Villarreal (2000), access to productive resources such as land, credit, technical know- how, knowledge, technology transfer is strongly determined along gender lines, with men frequently having more access to all these than women but with the death of the man, the wife may be left without the access she has gained through her husband’s clan; and her livelihood can be immediately
threatened. According to Himanshu and Panda (2007), it is estimated that one in every five women faces some form of violence during her lifetime and, in some cases leading to serious injury or death.
Violence against women and the girl-child at home and at work place has taken alarming trend and different dimensions. It is equally a major threat to social and economic development (UN, 2000). It is also the most widespread and socially tolerated way in which women and girls are denied their basic right (DFID, 2007).
The preliminary report of the special rapporteur on violence against women (UNIFEM, 1994) argues that women’s vulnerability to violence is determined by their sexuality, resulting for example in rape or female genital mutilation (FGM).This arises from their relationships to some men and from membership of groups where violence against women is a means of humiliation directed at specific groups (e.g. mass rape in conflict situations). Violence against women is reinforced by doctrines of privacy and the sanctity of the family, and by legal codes which link individual, family or community honour to women’s sexuality. However,
the greatest cause of violence against women is government tolerance and inaction. Its most significant
consequence is fear, which inhibits women’s social and political participation (UNDP, 1997 as cited by Wach and Reeves (2000).
Violence against women and girls occur on a vast scale, with sexual violence playing a prominent role. Sexual violence often appears in literature but its definition is broad and the term is used to describe rape by acquaintance, or strangers, by authority figures (including husband), incest, child sexual abuse, pornography, sexual harassment and homicide (Gordon and Crehan 1998). Sexual violence describes the deliberate use of sex as a weapon to demonstrate power over, and to inflict pain and humiliation upon another human being. Therefore, sexual violence does not only include direct physical contact between perpetrator and victim; it may also include threat, humiliation, and intimidation (Gordon and Crehan 1998). The loss of homes, income, families, and social support deprives women and girls the capacity to generate income as a result of which they may be forced into transactional sex in order to maintain certain level of livelihood/comfort (or those of their husband or children), escape to safety, or gain access to shelter or services (including the distribution of food). It is widely acknowledged that the impacts of HIV/AIDS on rural livelihood are not gender neutral, its deepen and widen gender inequalities.HIV/AIDS is creating a major shock in the rural areas of the most affected countries, for the most part, these changes are increasing the vulnerability of the most vulnerable (women and children) and increase the already stark gender inequality in the access to and ownership of land and other productive resources. According to FAO (2004) HIV/AIDS reinforces mechanism of marginalization and inequality. In addition, it shows that policies intended to benefit the poorest or most vulnerable may not be effective unless they address the mechanisms of exclusion (FAO, 2004).
Women’s lack of property or access to financial resources, make them become dependent on men for support, and as a result they are at risk of being subjected to sexual abuse.Therefore,low social status of women in the developing world magnifies their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS infection and constrains their ability to deal with its impact (HPG,2004).For instance, women limited economic security may increase the likelihood of engaging in high risk behaviours such as commercial sex work or transactional sex. In transit, refugees who are sexually active (through choice or necessity) are often exposed to different forms of sexual violence resulting in some having differing levels of HIV infection (Gordon and Crehan 1998).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The impact of gender relations on activities and on the status of women and vice versa is construed by a web of diverse economic, social, religious and cultural factors (Miller, 1998). For instance in Nigeria, efforts made to draw attention to the issue of gender based violence have been resisted from organised religion, health workers, judicial, police, social welfare officers, all of whom see the home as sacrosanct.
In Nigeria, Police will not intervene in domestic quarrels, and do not consider wife beating as a crime, because, existing legal instruments do not treat wife abuse as a criminal offence. For instance, Penal Code Law Cap 89 laws of Northern Nigeria (1969) as cited by Odimegwu (2001) states that domestic quarrels is not an offence if committed by a husband for the purpose of correcting his wife. This law sees husband-wife relationship as being similar to parent-child relationship (Odimegwu, 2001).
There has been increasing concern in recent years among humanitarian organization about the extent and effects of gender based violence among refugees and internally displaced persons. The breach of personal security during times of conflict has inhibited women from participating in economic and social activities. This often led to loss of life and properties, resulting into decreased farming population.
Women are an essential part of labour source in the rural economics. It is vital for women to take up additional work in the farms and fields to supplement the household income. Women’s ability to participate in their daily activities highly depends on their personal security as well as the security of their land and property (Ganeshpanchan, 2005). Violence threatens the security of freely engaging in daily activities and free movement; thereby restricting women’s ability to participate in income generating activities, depriving them of the much needed household income and the ability to carry out their additional responsibilities of providing for the family and the security of their families, especially the young girls and the older members. Women who do not have access to market and real economic opportunities are at greater risk of experiencing gender-based violence (Women Refugee Commission, 2009). Moreover, AIDS, one of the major outcomes of gender-based violence has been documented to have caused a major agricultural labour shortage (Villarreal, 2000). It is against this backdrop that this research work generated the following objectives.
General Objectives: The broad objective of the study was the assessment of domestic violence among women in Ogun State, Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the study
1.4 Research questions
1.5 Research hypothesis
H0: There is no relationship between domestic violence management and the socio-economic development of married urban dwellers
H1: There is a relationship between domestic violence management and the socio-economic development of married urban dwellers
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