Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Domestic Violence in a Semi-Urban Neighbourhood

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Domestic Violence in a Semi-Urban Neighbourhood

Article excerpt

Abstract

There are no published studies on impact of neighbourhood on domestic violence in Sango-Ota. This is the first study to examine formal and informal control method and the influence of family structure and socio-economic status on the occurrence of domestic violence in Sango-Ota. A closed-ended questionnaire with two open -ended questions was administered to married couples and other consenting adults at three selected neighbourhoods in Sango-Ota. A research question and one hypothesis were tested. The study tried to find out whether formal and informal control methods are effective. The research hypothesis states that there is a significant combined contribution of socio-economic conditions, family structure and years of marriage to incidences/ occurrences of domestic violence in Sango-Ota. Of the 84 participants that reported cases of domestic violence, about two-thirds (61%) reported to their family members while 17 (21%) reported to close family friends. Only 4 (5%) participants had the courage to report to the law enforcement agency, in this case, the police. Risk factors identified to precipitate domestic violence are years of marriage (β= -.205; t = -2.792; p< 0.05) and the prevailing socio-economic status of the family (β= .437; t = 6.052; p< .0005). The findings show a low level reportage of cases of domestic violence. Higher socioeconomic status was found to be protective against domestic violence. Our findings also highlight the potential role of broader contextual or community-level interventions in reducing domestic violence in settings such as Sango-Ota which is a semi-urban area. We found evidence that improvements in the socioeconomic status of the participants will lead to significant reductions in the incidence of domestic violence.

Keywords: Domestic Violence, Sango-Ota, Neighbourhood, Socioeconomic status, Police

Introduction

Violence against women and girls continues unabated in every continent, country and culture. It takes a devastating toll on women's lives, on their families, and on society as a whole. Most societies prohibit such violence - yet the reality is that too often; it is covered up or tacitly condoned' (UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, 2007).

Domestic violence has been identified as an issue of global concern (Adekeye, 2008; UN, 2006). While the level of violence against Nigerian women remains poorly mapped, pilot studies conclude it is "shockingly high' (Eze-Anaba, 2005; Media Deliver Now (n.d.)). In a report, more than two-fifths of women (43%) and almost one third of men (30%) agree that a husband is justified in beating his wife for certain reasons (National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), 2008). For the past two decades, the role of contextual and community level factors in shaping risk of domestic violence has also recently been the focus of increased attention (Heise, 1998; McQuestion, 2003). Violence against women occurs in all social and economic classes, but women with low socio-economic status are more likely to experience violence (Adekeye, 2008). As noted by Abama & Kwaja (2009), more research is needed to fully understand the connections between poverty and violence against women. It is clear that poverty and its associated stressors are important contributors. A number of theories about why this is so have been explored. Men in difficult economic circumstances (e.g. unemployment, little job autonomy, low socioeconomic status or blocked advancement due to lack of education) may resort to violence out of frustration, and a sense of hopelessness, a condition akin to displacement in psychoanalysis. According to Birdsall, et. al (2004, as cited by Abama & Kwaja, 2009), poor women who experience violence may have fewer resources to escape violence in the home.

Violence towards women like other forms of violence against women in Nigeria has received little attention due to cultural, legal, and misinterpreted religious endorsements on it. …

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