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Anger as a Response to Intimate Partner Violence in Nigeria {Part 2}

Source: Tackling Violence against Women

This menace should be attended to because women, especially through their resiliency and hidden strength, can positively affect the growth and development of the nation and the world at large. They are homemakers, custodians of social, cultural, political, and inherent values of the society, and sustainable change is best achieved through them. Without the involvement of women, community development, cooperation and effective participation is impossible. With regards to these, women deserve better and favorable treatment, but the reverse is usually the case in Nigeria. Intimate partner violence affects the physical, social, and psychological wellbeing of the abused women and even that of their children. With regards to personal experiences while growing up in the Southwestern part of Nigeria, undoubtedly, this calls for intervention.

In the course of undertaking this research, I interviewed a couple of survivors as they preferred to be called survivors as opposed to victims. Most agreed that they were and are angry. Derrick Silove et al. “maintain that mental health professionals have documented the occurrence of explosive forms of anger amongst survivors of gross human rights violations, including those exposed to sexual abuse and intimate partner violence.” ) They further posit that exposure to gross human rights violations provokes feelings of extreme rage, particularly when victims are incapable of resisting. Frustrations in the post-conflict environment (lack of effective justice, socio-economic deprivations) may compound feelings of anger, with environmental triggers precipitating episodes of overt rage. The emotion of anger has no doubt received growing attention in the general field of mental health with extant studies focusing both on clinic and population samples. In the field of traumatic stress, a focus on anger has been somewhat overshadowed by the emphasis given to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), particularly because that category incorporates symptoms of irritability and anger. There is evidence, however, that anger may be distinguished from other symptoms of PTSD in following a more protracted course.

Without doubt, trauma affects the wellbeing of an individual, irrespective of the type and level of the overwhelming incident. Women who have previously experienced some form of trauma such as physical or sexual abuse live with a mental illness. Intimate partner violence causes adverse effects on the psychological and emotional state of survivors such as anxiety, panic attacks, substance abuse, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Dominick LaCapra, a researcher in trauma studies, refers to trauma as “a disruptive experience that disarticulates the self and creates a hole in existence.”[1] Survivors become weakened and are propelled into a state of confusion, thereby causing them to feel disorganized.

Intimate partner violence targeted against women undoubtedly leads to gendered trauma that affects women’s economic, cultural, political, and social rights. The patriarchal and oppressive social structures of the Nigerian society result in gender trauma. Anastasia Gage and Nicholas Thomas affirm that “gender ideology that supports husband dominance and wife beating can undermine women’s structural gains and jeopardize their health and contributions to economic development.”[2] In Nigeria, women are beaten and physically abused by their spouses on a regular basis and these attacks leave them physically and mentally disfigured.

On gender trauma in African women, Sylvia Tamale notes that it is pertinent to move from occurrences of gendered trauma to equality as inequality hinders women’s growth in the society and as such, they are traumatized.[3] Researchers posit that there are different types of intimate partner violence, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse among others. Cathy Humphreys and Ravi Thiara admit that there is a relationship between the mental health of domestic violence survivors and their experience of traumatic events such that it becomes so crucial that they experience anxiety, depression, emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among others.[4] Jacqueline Golding’s study presents the mean prevalence of mental health problems among abused women to be 47.6% in 18 studies of depression, 17.9% in 13 studies of suicidality, 63.8% in 11 studies of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 18.5% in 10 studies of alcohol abuse, and 8.9% in four studies of drug abuse.[5] Jacqueline Campbell admits that “women in developing countries also report mental-health problems from abuse, with 70% of cases of emotional distress in Nicaragua attributed to intimate partner violence, and depression and anxiety reported in battered women in Pakistan.”[6] Obviously, the adverse effects of intimate partner violence across cultures cannot be overemphasized.

Conclusion

Though this research is still in progress, it is important to note that if we truly seek an end to intimate partner violence, it is required of us to firmly understand the experiences of survivors and their needs for improvement. When we decide to look away from a social justice phenomenon such as this, we allow injustice to thrive. The anger to fight against violence remains a positive powerful energy for change. Again, I am angry yet unapologetic because I seek strength and liberation.

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] Writing History, Writing Trauma (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2014): 41.

[2] “Women’s work, gender roles, and intimate partner violence in Nigeria” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46, no. 7(2017): 1924. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10508-017-1023-4

[3] Gender trauma in africa: Enhancing women’s links to resources.Journal of African Law, 48, no. 1, (2004): 50-61. Retrieved from https://login.iris.etsu.edu:3443/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/218165222?accountid=10771

[4] “Mental Health and Domestic Violence: ‘I Call it Symptoms of Abuse’, The British Journal of Social Work, Volume 33, Issue 2, 1
(March 2003): 210, https://doi-org.iris.etsu.edu:3443/10.1093/bjsw/33.2.209

[5] “Intimate Partner Violence as a Risk Factor for Mental Disorders: A Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Family Violence 14, no. 2 (June 1999): 99. https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,ip,url,uid,athens&db=ssf&AN=511115553&site=ehost-live

[6] “Health consequences of intimate partner violence.” The Lancet, 359 (2002), 1334. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(02)08336-8

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.

One thought on “Anger as a Response to Intimate Partner Violence in Nigeria {Part 2}

  1. Informative! We need to develop an insatiable demand for research into IPV In Nigeria. As it will shine more light on the phenomenon. The very step towards eradicating it.

    Like

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