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Anger as a Response to Intimate Partner Violence in Nigeria {Part 1}

I am angry, yet unapologetic about it. We tend to think of anger as an abominable, negative emotion, but research finds that anger is not bereft of positive sides. My anger is a motivating force in the form of positive energy geared towards fighting against all forms of intimate partner violence. Domestic violence is a global phenomenon that is manifested in all strata of the society, cutting across religious, political, racial, economic, and cultural spectrums. It is noteworthy that domestic violence is an umbrella term with which intimate partner violence (IPV) is a part. Scholars such as Collins Nwabunike and Eric Tenkorang maintain that most Nigerian women have experienced domestic violence irrespective of the ethnic group and the part of the country in which they reside.[1] However, the Southwest region is the focus of this post, it does not mean that is the only region where intimate partner violence is rampant as it is realizable in other regions of the country and the world at large. Violence in the family comprises social, mental, and psychological problems with adverse consequences for survivors. It leads to changes in the social and psychological functioning of the survivors. My anger is mainly for the imposition and the infringement of the human rights of women (this is not to say that men themselves are not victims, but violence against women is more rampant and that it the focus of this post). If you feel uncomfortable with the denial and subjugation that women are forced to undergo, therefore my anger (energy) and yours can be used to tackle violence against women in all forms.

As in most other African countries, Nigeria is one with high prevalence of this phenomenon and the abused women are culturally expected to be totally submissive to their husbands. This norm has brainwashed women to the extent that they accept and justify the abuse perpetrated on them by their spouses.  Nwabunike and Tenkorang give an example of the Tiv tribe of Nigeria who are of the belief that wife battering is an indication of love, and the women have been fraternized to accept and support it.[2] This shows how women are violated by their spouses and are left to endure it. Violence in the family comprises social, mental, and psychological problems with adverse consequences for survivors. It leads to changes in the social and psychological functioning of the survivors.

The imposition and the infringement of their human rights raises the question of how female survivors in Nigeria cope with such adversity and the effects of gendered trauma. Most researchers find that female Nigerian survivors of abuse are strong despite the harsh conditions in which they find themselves. I argue primarily that they exemplify different coping mechanisms to uphold and recreate their lives through resilience. Also, that their resilience is not just a means of being quiet due to non-disclosure, but hidden strength. Importantly, they do not only depict hidden strength, but also develop agency and empower themselves irrespective of the structures (gender, class, customs etc.) that limit them.

The menace of domestic violence with a focus on intimate partner violence is a global problem that occurs not only in Nigeria, which is a developing country, but also in developed countries. It is strengthened by a culture which allows women to be subordinate in the family, thereby giving ultimate power to men. It is a widespread issue that shows little or no sign of alleviation and the forms in which it takes include physical, sexual, emotional, and mental. The Nigerian Government is beginning to investigate it, but the situation seems unattended to because of the patriarchal structure of the society which leaves these women at the receiving end. A vivid example is the recent case of one Mr. Pius Angbo (a Channels TV reporter) who was called out by his wife (Ifeanyi Angbo) over a long history of battering in their six years of marriage. In sum, the Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State intervenes and reconciles the couple. What I see at play or questions that arise are that “Did or will he be convicted for his crimes? “Will the wife/husband be made to see a therapist?” among others.

Allan Johnson affirms that a patriarchal society is one that bestows privileges and power to men, thereby allowing for male domination.[3] This, therefore, creates inequality between men and women. Men tend to fill top positions across all institutions ranging from political, social, and religious settings. Nigerian female survivors of intimate partner violence are encouraged to accept their fate as it is taken as a normal phenomenon as the society stigmatizes any woman who attempts divorce or separation. Catherine Oluyemo and Tolulope Ola also assert that patriarchy allows for the subjugation and subservience of women and as such, leads to the infringement of their rights.[4] Interestingly, survivors are expected to strive on in the abusive relationship like nothing wrong ever happened or is happening. This affirms how the societal inequality has eaten deep into the family which naturally should serve as a haven. Generally, the family is known to be the basic unit of the society with a strong tie, but it is disheartening that violence erupts from it. Patricia Hill Collins maintains that “one dimension of family as a privileged exemplar of intersectionality lies in how it reconciles the contradictory relationship between equality. . . the traditional family ideally projects a model of equality.”[5] She argues that family units serve as an instrument for the violation of women. The intersectionality that arises from the family unit leaves one questioning the idea of family as a setting where love erupts, and security abounds. Research suggests that the issue of women being violated and subjugated in society is an outcome of a longstanding belief and a global idea that men are superior to women. Therefore, I argue that gender inequality is the basis for all forms of violence against women in the society.

[To be continued…]

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Silove, Derrick & Brooks, Robert & Bateman-Steel, Catherine & Steel, Zachary & Hewage, Kalhari & Rodger, James & Soosay, Ian. (2009). Explosive anger as a response to human rights violations in post-conflict Timor-Leste. Social science & medicine (1982). 69. 670-7. 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.06.030.


[1] “Domestic and Marital Violence Among Three Ethnic Groups in Nigeria.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 32, no. 18 (September 2017): 2751. https://doi:10.1177/0886260515596147 .

[2] Ibid., 2752.

[3] The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, (1997): 5 https://search-ebscohost-com.iris.etsu.edu:3443/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,ip,url,uid,athens&db=nlebk&AN=51281&site=ehost-live

[4] “The Rights of Nigerian Women In A Patriarchal Society: Implication For Development.” Journal of Research in Gender Studies, 4, no. 2, (2014): 375. https://login.iris.etsu.edu:3443/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1645383659?accountid=10771

[5] “It’s All in the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Nation.” Hypatia 13, no. 3 (1998): 64. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.457.6652&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Published by Tobi Oloyede

Tobi Oloyede is a young visionary with a flair for personal and population developments. Rather than being pinned down by the challenges around her, she is dedicated to learning new ideas and getting the best out of life. She is one that is inspired by the popular Yoruba saying, "Ona kan o wo oja- There is no one/single route to the market." She holds her first degree in English and Literary Studies from the Ekiti State University, Nigeria, a Master's degree in Gender and Diversity from East Tennessee State University, and is currently a Sociology graduate student at Georgia Southern University. Writing is one of the several other things she loves to do and she brings it upon herself to make the world a better place through her writings. For her, 'the pen is always mightier and with it, she speaks volumes.' BE THE LIGHT, BE THE CHANGE…A BETTER YOU, A BETTER WORLD.

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