i am somewhat familiar with the issue of domestic violence in Igbo households, both from personal experience (that is observing other families who engage in this practice) and from what I see in the media (ehem, Nollywood). However, I have recently encountered a disturbing article, (actually there are several more out there) on domestic violence incidence in a random sample of Imo state women, which, I may venture to say, could be generalized to Igbo women at large, and perhaps, Nigerian society (pleeeease correct me, if I am wrong).
The article is entitled, Prevalence, Patterns and Correlates of Domestic Violence in Selected Igbo Communities of Imo State, Nigeria (Okembo C et.al. 2002). I guess you can google scholar it if interested, but if you don't have access to it, email me and I can send you the pdf file. (I'm not sure if I will get in trouble for distributing it, but I think I am willing to take the risk, for the sake of the cause).
For the sake of space, I will spare you the intricate details about study design, sample size etc (though, they are important, I just gloss over these things...bad habit) and highlight some of their results. In a sample of about 300 women (I know, this is a pretty small sample), they found that almost 80% had experienced some form of domestic violence. I thought the number was unbelievable. Women in urban areas were more likely to experience physical beatings from their husbands than rural women. (In regards to polygamy, it was found that women in polygamous marriages were less likely to undergo abuse - just thought that was interesting - please note that I am not advocating the practice). There were other interesting results documenting kinds of abuse, prevalence and preferences and predictors of abuse that you can pick out on your own time.
I would really like to know, if some of you, from your own personal experiences find that domestic violence is as prevalent as this article suggests and your thoughts on this idea that domestic abuse is more common in the cities than rural areas and why? (of course, this was just a preliminary study and I did not check out other papers to find out if they support this stat.
I think what really caught my attention were some of the responses from the participants to why abuse occurs. For example, here is one:
"...Usually [men] see women as physically, economically and socially inferior to [men]. They also feel that they bought women with their money..."
The authors stated that cultural institutions amongst the Igbo are to blame for the continued practice of domestic violence. Particularly, the idea that male children are worth more than female children therefore creating the notion that women can be treated that way. Besides traditional institutions that support the prevalence of domestic abuse, some women cited Christianity as to institution to blame for this continued practice stating that the Bible calls for the "subjection" of women by man.
Let me first state that I would not go so far as to condemn Igbo cultural institutions, which I appreciate and adhere to, nor condemn Christianity, which I practice. However, are these two institutions to blame for the continued practice of domestic violence? What particular aspects are to blame for domestic violence and can one use these institutions to prevent and abolish this practice? What should be done about it and why isn't more being done about it (like addressing it as a vital component of a family planning or reproductive health agenda)?
Sorry if this post is a bit long, but I seriously cut out a lot of stuff in order to get the main point across. I always look forward to all of your responses because they seriously challenge me and get me thinking in ways unimagined.
Oh in regards to the poster above....yes, another google image search. But I thought the poster was interesting in that it is appealing to adherence to tradition which calls for utmost respect for mothers and older-womanhood. An example of how existing societal institutions which promote violence could be used to eradicate it....yes, I said ERADICATE it.
- ► 2010 (21)
- ► 2009 (39)
- ▼ 2008 (29)