Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Cultural Tolerance in the Face of Universally Held Gender Based Violence: Implications on Marriage Institution among the Esans of Edo State, Nigeria

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Cultural Tolerance in the Face of Universally Held Gender Based Violence: Implications on Marriage Institution among the Esans of Edo State, Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

Generally, violence against women has always existed in every society. Until very recently, violence against women, particularly domestic violence was considered a private issue. But about two decades ago, the international community started to address it as gender based violence and a form of human right abuse (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights 2016). Subsequently, it has created wider awareness and acceptance, and today it is being considered as gender-based violence and as a form of human right abuse (Ashimi & Amole, 2015; Umana, Fawole, & Adeoye, 2014; Aihie, 2009). In 1993, the United Nations (UN) defines gender based violence as "... any act of gender based violence that results in, or likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life". The pervasiveness of violence against women as a constraining factor to women's inability to enjoy their human rights and as a fundamental freedoms of women was further reemphasized at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 by expanding its scope in a variety of settings, (UN, 1995). Gender based violence in this study means Intimate Partner Violence as perceived and/or experienced by married women within the cultural confines of the study population.

Statement of the Problem

Intimate Partner Violence is very prevalent and pervasive in most societies of the world. The menace of intimate partner violence is so alarming and threatening that it has been recorded as the third major cause of mortality among married women of reproductive age, (WHO cited in Umuna, 2014). In most African cultures, the fundamental basis for intimate partner violence is believed to have been rooted mainly in the patriarchal dominance (Oyediran & Isiugo-Abanihe, 2005). In the context of Nigeria, available evidences reveal that about 2/3 of Nigerian women experienced intimate partner violence in their homes while about 65% of literate women are found in this situation as compared to their low income counterpart which has about 55% reported cases of intimate partner violence. However, about 97.2% of the abused women do not report these abuses to the authorities (Abayomi, 2014). This trend is based on the fact that the perception and response to intimate partner violence vary within and between countries (WHO, 2005). There is a deep cultural belief which underpins that intimate partner violence is socially permissible and acceptable in Nigeria as it is believed to be a corrective measure for the wife (Abayomi, 2014). Hence, it is socially acceptable for a husband to beat his wife as a form of discipline (Yusuf, Arulogun, Oladepo & Olowokeere, 2011; Ashie, 2009). While these forms of abuses are permissible in developing societies like Nigeria, this is less in advanced societies of the world because the level of tolerance or acceptability of spousal abuse differ depending on the circumstances and context (Adegoke, 2010; WHO, 2005). An unfortunate divorce is one of the consequences of spousal abuses.

It is unfortunate because at marriage it was the desire of couples to live together as husband and wife and it is a necessity because it is a protective strategy from further abuse. Records show relatively high divorce rate, arising from intimate partner violence, in most advanced countries of the world. For instance, In Canada, the divorce rate is about 50%; while it is 65.4% in Russia, 61.2% in South Africa, about 53% in United Kingdom respectively. United States is said to have the highest divorce rate in the world (WHO, 2005). Comparatively, divorce rate arising from spousal abuse in Nigeria is believed to be relatively low. Though there is no available official statistics of divorce rate in Nigeria, it is believed to be relatively low when compared with advanced countries of the world (WHO, 2005). …

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