Nigeria: About One-Third of Married Nigerian Women Have Experienced Spousal Abuse - Report

Domestic violence.
13 October 2020

About a third (36 per cent) of married Nigerian women have experienced spousal abuse, a report by Dataphye, a media research outfit, has stated.

Pregnancy, the report also noted, did not hinder these abuses, and victims in this category are mostly between the ages of 15 and 24, with prevalence in the north-east of the country.

In terms of figure, the number of women who experienced violence during pregnancy increased from 4.3 per cent in 2013 to 10.3 per cent in 2018.

More than this, the report showed that about two-thirds of Nigerian women have no decision making power in marriage.

Dataphyte and its parent organisation, Interactive, said this in an advocacy document titled 'Gender in Nigeria 2020', which is a follow up to the National Population Commission's 2013 Gender in Nigeria Report.

Information for the findings was culled from the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey of 2018, the 2018 Statistics Report on Women and Men in Nigeria and the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2016-17 (MICS5), published by the National Bureau of Statistics.

Among Nigerian women generally, not less than 17 million (9 per cent) of them aged 15-49 have experienced sexual violence, the report found.

"While 8 million (4 per cent) said that they had experienced sexual violence in the past 12 months before the survey, 4 per cent of these women first experienced sexual violence before age 18," the report read.

In terms of national spread, the reported abuses are rife in North-east Nigeria with 16 per cent of women there saying they have experienced sexual violence.

Comparatively, the prevelance of sexual violence among women in both the North-west and the South-west is 5 per cent.

North-eastern state, Gombe, has the highest recorded cases of women who said they had experienced sexual violence. There, about half (45 per cent) of women have experienced sexual violence. Kebbi in the North-western region has the lowest with cases less than 1 per cent, according to the report.

"Perpetrators of sexual violence typically have a personal affiliation to the woman. So it could either be her current husband/partner; former husband/partner or current/ex-boyfriend. For single women who have never married, the main perpetrators are strangers," the report read.

The nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 disease has been tipped to be a major reason for the rise in abuses, because victims were closer to their abusers since regular movement was grounded.

Nonetheless, Dataphye's report further explained that while women who had never married and those who are married have experienced abuses, those who are out of marriage are the most likely to experience sexual violence.

"The data further showed (that) female divorcees, widows and separated (15% of them) were more likely to experience violence during pregnancy than married women (5% of them) and women who had never married (9% of them)," the group wrote.

Dataphye's lead, Joshua Olufemi, said the outfit prepared the report to provide gender perspectives to Nigeria's development in recent times and as the country marked its 60th independence anniversary.

"More so, this brochure aims to support various equality and gender-based advocacies in Nigeria and beyond with measured data and unbiased information for their work," Mr Olufemi wrote in the report.

"To this end, the report highlights prominent concerns bordering on Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 8," he added.

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