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Physical, spousal violence against women increases in NigeriaㄧReport

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AS today marks the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, women-targeted violence is said to have increased with more than 30 per cent of them having already experienced abuse. 

The United Nations has set aside November 25 for putting efforts to prevent and end violence against women at the global, regional and national levels.

UN defined Violence Against Women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

According to the recent National Demographic and Health Survey for 2018, the persistent of physical abuse against the country’s women rose up in 2018 with a 31 per cent of females between 15 and 49 years physical abused. 

This was against the estimated 28 per cent of women that experienced physical violence in both 2008 and 2013. 

With 31 per cent of women that had experienced physical violence as of 2018 in Nigeria, it means one in three females age between 15 and 49 years have been physically abused.

Top 10 States with high level of physical violence against women
Infographics credit: Rebecca Akinremi

To get information on the physical violence, the NDHS indicated that women were surveyed by asking if anyone had hit, slapped, kicked, or done something else to hurt them physically. 

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The report also recorded spousal violence to be higher in 2018 than in 2013. It noted that 36 per cent of ever-married women have experienced spousal physical, sexual or emotional violence in 2018, contrary to 25 per cent in 2013. 

The 2018 NDHS that also documented the help-seeking behaviour of the women after being abused showed 55 per cent of them did not seek help to stop the violence. This indicates that more than half of Nigerian women who have experienced physical or sexual violence have never sought help. The help-seeking behaviour had thus grown worse because forty-five per cent of the women had not sought help in 2013.

The majority of the 32 per cent of females that reported their experience did to their families, the report added.

At the regional level, Southsouth has the highest rate of women who have experienced physical violence since age 15 with 46 per cent of women affected. The region is followed by Northcentral and Northeast with 43.3  and 38.3 per cents respectively.

Taraba state leads the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory with the highest prevalence of violence against women. 67 per cent of the Taraba women have experienced violence, followed by Edo state with 64 per cent of the women aged 15-49 years already abused.

Explaining some predominant patterns of the violence against Nigerian women, the NDHS noted that women who were employed but did not earn cash experienced physical violence than those who were employed for cash or women who were not employed. It stated that employment status, level of education and wealth status are some factors that determine the risk of violence against women.

Thus, as today marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the UN Women has kicked off 16 days of activism against gender-based violence to urge actions in ending the scourge that impacts one in three women worldwide, including Nigeria. The campaign will end on December 10, which falls on Human Rights  Day.

According to a World Health Organisation research that detailed impacts of violence on women’s physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health, women who experience physical or sexual abuse are twice as likely to have an abortion, and the experience nearly doubles their likelihood of falling into depression.

In some regions, they are 1.5 times more likely to acquire HIV, and evidence exists that sexually assaulted women are 2.3 times more likely to have alcohol disorders.

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