According to findings by the World Health Organisation, thirty-five point six per cent of women have experienced violence from their partners globally. Nigeria is not immune to this trend. Nigerian culture unfortunately plays a large role in protecting and sponsoring domestic violence.
In the view of Professor Isiugo-Abanihe, the belief that a husband may chastise his wife by beating her is deeply embedded in many Nigerian cultures. Furthermore, some tribes even encourage domestic violence. The Tiv consider wife beating to be a sign of love, and as a result, women are socialised to accept it.
As a result, domestic violence has not only continued in Nigeria but has actually increased over the years. This was substantiated by a 2013 survey by the CLEEN foundation, which showed that domestic violence in Nigeria increased from twenty-one per cent in 2011 to thirty-one per cent in 2012. The survey also found that domestic violence ranks amongst the top four most common victimizations in Nigeria.
Not that alone, there is a tendency to remain silent about domestic violence in Nigeria, as there is about several crimes. The CLEEN Foundation survey found that eighty-two per cent of crimes go unreported in Nigeria. The aforementioned culture of wife-beating in combination with the culture of silence leaves Nigerian domestic violence victims with no option for seeking justice.
As a result, in many cases, women who find themselves trapped in violent households are often pressured to run away with their children or remain in a violent environment because of the children. This was the story of Princess Rita Ojapa, who only divorced her husband after years of suffering in silence and accepting to stay in an abusive relationship for the sake of the children.
A movie was released recently addressing the issue in a comic way. Having lost one of their friends to domestic violence, a group of market women decided to fight back by going on strike. My people, that is what we need to do. We must rewrite the cultural rules that promote the endangerment of our women in their own homes. We must protect future generations from outdated beliefs which threaten their very lives. We must put an end to domestic violence.
May God Bless the people of our beloved Country, Nigeria.
Funmilayo Adetokubo A-A, a political and International Affairs Analyst, writes from Somerset, England, United Kingdom.