Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Dental Implications of Domestic Violence against Nigerian Women - a Pilot Study

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Dental Implications of Domestic Violence against Nigerian Women - a Pilot Study

Article excerpt

Domestic violence is a pattern of violent behaviour including physical, sexual and psychological attacks as well as economic coercion used against intimate partner. This study is aimed at creating awareness of the dental implications of domestic violence against women in Nigeria, to demonstrate that Dental professionals are in the position to recognize such abuse so that early identification, appropriate intervention and long term solutions can be provided. Clinical data were collected on 538 female adult attendants in a private clinic in Benin City for a period 2 ½ years and analysed by Microsoft excel package. A total of 538 female studied for domestic violence, 13 or 2.28% suffered physical assault from their partners. Out of the 13 (thirteen) victims 6 (six) or forty-six percent (46%) were assaulted by their husbands while boyfriends assaulted 7 or fifty - four percent (54%). Higher educational status of the victims correlated positively with early presentation at the clinic. However, it was observed that 11 (eleven) out of the 13 (thirteen) presented first in pharmacy shops for treatment. There was no police report in all of these 13 (thirteen) cases of domestic violence. Although this study is limited, the result, points to the fact that injury from domestic violence in the oral facial region is not uncommon.

Domestic violence is a range of violent and abusive behaviour perpetrated by one partner against another, in marriage, marriage-like or intimate relationship. It adapted by a person to control their victim, which results in physical, sexual, and/ or psychological damage, forced social isolation, or economic deprivation, which leaves victims living in fear.

Domestic violence is old as man as reflected in the biblical story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4: 1 - 8 which then lead to the first murder in the history of Mankind (Holy Bible).

Domestic violence cuts across all racial, ethnic, religion, educational, and social-economic lines. Unfortunately, majority of the victims of domestic violence are female. Reports by National violence against Women Survey jointly carried out by National Institute of Justice and Centre for disease control and Prevention in U.S.A showed that women are more significantly more likely to be assaulted by an intimate partner then men. Twenty-five percent (25%) of surveyed women compared with 8% of men. In the same survey, estimates that approximated 1.5 million women and 834,700 men were raped and/ or physically assaulted by an intimate partner/ s annually. Thirty percent of all murder cases in U.S.A were committed by husband or boyfriends to their partners/ ex-partners (Jjaden & Thoennes, 1998)

The question could arise, are men also victims of various forms of violence? Yes, while men tend to be attacked and killed by strangers or causal acquaintance, women are most at risk at home or society with men or other family members whom they trust. Analysis of violence-related injuries treated in Hospital Emergency Department by U. S Bureau of Justice Statistics Special report in 1994 showed that 15.9% of women were treated for injuries on them by their spouses or ex-spouses against 1.8% for men while that inflicted by boyfriend to women was 20.9% against 2.7% for men(Rand, 1997) , In South Africa in study of 3 communities on the prevalence of physical abuse by current or ex- partners were 26.8 per cent Eastern cape, 24.8 pr cent in Mpumalanor and 19.1pe cent in other races in Northern province (Jewkes, Penn-Kekena, Ratsaka, &Schriebar (2001) Battered women were more likely to be injured in the head, face, neck, and thorax than were other women injured by other mechanisms (Muelleman, Lenaghan & Pakieser (996), 7.5 times more likely to have head neck and facial injuries than other trauma patients(Perciaccante, 1991). Similarly the prevalence of women visiting general practitioners in South Africa was found to be 21.5 percent post traumatic stress disorder and major depression were significant more common in domestic violence patients (Maraias, Villiers, Moller & Stein, (1999). …

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