Do women face greater pressures at work and at home? Dina Medland finds out …
Domestic Violence in Nigeria is a deeply entrenched problem as its also occurring in other parts of the world. It is described as the power misused by one adult in a relationship to control another and the establishment of control and fear in a relationship through violence, physical assault, acid bath, psychological abuse, sexual assault and other forms of abuse.
In Nigeria, according to the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme, NSRP, one out of 10 women in the Niger-Delta has reported either being raped or attempted being raped. 46.5 percent of women in Africa have experienced some form of violence and in Northern Nigeria, this figure is said to rise to one in three women.
On May 5, 2015, the Senate passed the Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Act, VAPP, into law which provides the legislative and legal framework for the prevention of all forms of violence against vulnerable persons, especially women and girls.
According to the law, it is illegal for anyone, to endure economic abuse, substance attack, forced isolation and separation from family and friends among others and is hoped to back the elimination of and provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims of violence, and punishment of offenders. These are few ways to address domestic violence:
- Acknowledge your situation. It is necessary for victims to admit to themselves that they are being abused and in an abusive relationship. Even if a battered person is not ready to leave the abuser, recognition and validation of the situation are vital.
- Break the silence – Open up. Victims of domestic abuse often keep mute and don’t tell anyone. However, this is extremely dangerous and can lead to death, so endeavour to talk to family, close friends, neighbours and co-workers about the domestic violence you experience.
- Develop a Safety Plan. When domestic violence occurs, it is helpful to have a plan to deal with an emergency or crisis. It is important for individuals to think about ways to provide a safer environment for themselves and their children. Victims should plan how to get out of their home quickly and safely, so they may do so if violence begins.
- Seek counselling from your religious leaders or parents. As its commonly said that it’s not good to suffer in silence, it is very important to seek counselling from your pastors (if you are a Christian) or your Imam (if you are a Muslim) or either parents of the couple to address issues as this.
There are also several organizations that offer counselling services for victims and survivors namely: Centre for Health Ethics Law and Development, Project Alert on Violence against Women, WACOL, WRAPA, Well Being Foundation Nigeria and so many others.
- Make a report with the police. It is necessary for victims and their friends, relatives or neighbours to call the police for help. Calling the Police is an immediate protection to stop the abuse, prevent murder and restrain the abuser. Domestic violence is a crime and people shouldn’t be afraid to ask for immediate help.
There is no single solution to solving domestic violence, but while it is recognized that both sexes are vulnerable to violence, women are three times more likely to be killed or seriously injured. Whereas women who experience domestic violence are openly encouraged to report it to the authorities, men are believed to face social stigma which can impact their physical and mental health.