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The emphasis of this study is on violence against women in the rural areas of Ikwo communities of Ebonyi state. The research adopted a survey research design to locate the sample which consisted of 600 participants, comprising 60 male and 540 females, which includes both marriage and separated individuals. Seven (7) research questions were generated for the study. Questionnaire on violence against women, a self-designed open-ended questionnaire divided into 7 sections serves as part of the instrument, and in-depth interview is used for data collection. The data generated were analyzed using frequency count, simple percentages and inferential statistics using Chi-square. Findings from the study were related to the extant literature on the issue of domestic violence against women, while recommendation to mitigate the adverse effect of domestic violence on the health of rural women was made in line with the findings of the study.
Keywords: Violence, Rural Women, Domestic Violence, Frustration. Community,
The increased effort and advocacy by state and non-state actors in recent times to curb violence against women in all ramifications has proved abortive. It has become a global virus, which defies all medications, but kills and steadily. It also tortures, and maims – physically, psychologically, sexually and economically (Innocenti Digest, 2000, Christiana, 2008). As such, it is one of the most persistent human rights violations (World Bank, 2019), denying women equality, security, dignity, self-worth, and their right to enjoy basic freedoms (UNICEF, 2002,). The issue of violence against women is present in every nation of the world, regardless of the differences in culture, race, religion, class, education, social status, income, ethnicity and age (Solanke, Amoo and Idowu,2018; Albert, Oladosun, Oni and Adeleke, 2017; Pesoob, 2010; UNICEF, 2000).
In spite of various state policies, constitutional provisions, and the signing of international treaties on the protection of rights of women and gender equality, the gap between men and women remains wide. Azeez (2016) posits that though most countries enact laws, implement policies and even sign international treaties to protect the rights of women, but not much has been recorded as an achievement in reducing the inequality between men, and women socially, politically and economically. The truth is that violations against women’s rights are often inadvertently accepted as an understandable behaviour (Ajala, 2003), due largely to cultural belief, practices, and norms, or through misinterpretation of religious tenets (UNICEF, 2004). Issues that relate to violence against women are treated as being in the domain of privacy and a family affair that can only be handled by relatives and close family members. Moreover, when the violation takes place within the home, as is very often the case, the abuse is effectively condoned by the tacit silence and the passivity displayed by the state and the law-enforcing machinery (Fareo 2015, Bazza. 2010, Kingdom and Udoh, 2018).
All over the world, the rate of domestic violence against women and girl child are alarming, as highlighted by studies on its incidence and prevalence (Innocenti Digest, 2000, Heise, 1999; Jewkes, 2002, Fareo, 2015), verifiable studies show that globally, over a third (35%) of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives (WHO, 2013, NPC, 2013, Benebo and Schumann et.al, 2018). Also, the World Health Organisation (WHO) report on global and regional estimates of violence against women found that the global lifetime prevalence of IPV among ever-partnered women was 30% and for Africa 37% (WHO, 2013). For example, each year in the United States of America, women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner -related physical assaults (Djaden and Thoennes 2002, cited in Aihie, 2009). Furthermore, 1 in every 6 women and 1 in 33 men in the United States according to CDC, (2002) reported experiencing an attempted or completed rape at some time in their lives.
In Nigeria, studies (NPC, 2013, Mapayi and Makanjuola et.al, 2013) and reports from the Nigerian National Population Commission estimated women’s lifetime exposure to Intimate Person Violence (IPV) from their current husband or partner stood at 19%, for emotional IPV, 14%, for physical IPV, and 5% for sexual IPV. Furthermore, the prevalence of IPV range from 31% to 61% for psychological/emotional violence, 20 to 31% for sexual violence, and 7 to 31% for physical violence (Furthermore, studies conducted in different regions in Nigeria have reported prevalence of IPV ranging from 42% in the North (Tanimu, Yohanna, and Omeiza,2016) 29% in the South West (Okenwa, Lawoko, and Jansson, 2009), 78.8% South East (Okemgbo, Omideyi, and Odimegwu, 2002), to 41% in the South-South (Dienye, Gbeneol, Itimi, 2014).
No society or culture can boost of been free of violence against women; the only variation is in the patterns and trends that exist in countries and regions. In most parts of the third world generally, domestic violence is widespread and reportedly justified and condoned in some cultures. For instance, 56% of Indian women surveyed by an agency justified wife-beating on grounds like –bad cook, disrespectful to in-laws, producing more girls, leaving home without informing the spouse among others (The World’s Women 2015). Based on available data, reported occurrence of physical violence was highest in Africa, with almost half of countries reporting lifetime prevalence of over 40 percent. In Asia, the range of life-time physical violence was narrower, from 13 percent in Azerbaijan (2006) to almost 40 percent in Timor-Leste (2009–10) However, results for the majority of countries revealed that the prevalence of violence stayed almost constant, reflecting the persistence of the problem.
Traditionally in Nigeria, like other African countries, children and women battering are regarded as a corrective measure (UNICEF 2001), this contributed to women been subjected to physical violence by their partners, without speaking out, but the very few of the victims that speak out do not report to the police or other law enforcement agents, rather they turn to a family members, in most of the cases, they are advised to keep quiet when it involves sexual violence, while in other physical violence they are admonished to endure the beatings. Even the very few victims that reported to the police are reminded even by the law enforcement agents that it is a home affair to the extent that laws enacted to protect the rights of women are poorly enforced due to religious and cultural resistance.
Violence against women has become a recurring decimal in many societies in recent times, and one of the greatest challenges of human right violation of women but least punished crime in the world, most especially in the southeast Nigeria due significantly as a result of cultural practices that equate the women as a part property of the husband, who should be submissive to man without any form of right except one given by the man. It will be injurious to assume violence against women is harmless in this era when structural violence and systematic discrimination against women manifest continuously (Idoko et al, 2015; Fisher et al, 2012 & Odimegwu and Okemgbo, 2003 and Raj et al 2015).
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