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Increasing domestic violence in Nigeria

If there is any issue that calls for  national attention, it is that to do with the alarming increase of  domestic violence in various Nigerian homes. No day passes without screaming headlines of spouses physically assaulting each other.  Most times, these  assaults are also visited on children, wards and house helps. There is no denying that domestic violence is gradually eroding the peace in many homes and by extension that of the nation. We may ask what constitutes domestic violence. These acts include,but not limited to physical abuse;sexual abuse/exploitation including rape,incest,sexual assault;starvation;emotional,verbal and psychological abuse;economic abuse and exploitation;denial of basic education;intimidation;harassment;stalking; hazardous attack including acid bath with offensive or poisonous substances;damage to property and deprivation.It is a fact that domestic violence is an epidemic. And like any epidemic, it cannot be controlled or eradicated unless it is addressed. Social commentators posit that  the risk factors driving the epidemic of domestic violence include macho constructions of masculinity, excessive alcohol consumption and the culture that encourages it and peer pressure to conform to these destructive patterns.While women bear the physical brunt of domestic violence, the damage is much greater for children. Children who witness domestic violence in their home can, themselves, grow up to become abusers. Although most victims of domestic abuse are women, men can suffer at the hands of an abusive partner as well. Definitely, many reasons have been adduced for domestic violence. However, the enduring one is that most  domestic abusers grew up witnessing domestic abuse and violence in their own homes. They learned to view physical and emotional violence as valid ways to vent anger and cope with their own internal fears and self-perception issues. Therefore, psychology experts say that the common triggers that set off an abuser are disagreement with their intimate partner;protracted periods of unemployment;financial issues;desperation when partner threatens to leave;anger escalation;humiliation stemming from problems at work or other perceived failures;  jealousy and envy. Many experts believe psychopathology, developed by growing up in a violent and abusive household causes domestic violence to continue as a generational legacy. Witnessing abuse as the norm, or being abused, destroys the child’s ability to trust others and undermines his or her ability to control emotions. This produces hostile, dependant, and emotionally insecure people with a deeply impaired ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships.Victims of domestic violence may be trapped in domestic violent situations through isolation, power and control, cultural acceptance, lack of financial resources, fear, shame, or to protect children. As a result of abuse, victims may experience physical disabilities, chronic health problems, mental illness, limited finances, and poor ability to create healthy relationships.

It is therefore time the authorities wade into the increasing incidence of domestic violence. This can be done by dismantling  hierarchical constructions of masculinity and femininity predicated on the control of women, and eliminating the structural factors that support inequalities are likely to make a significant contribution to preventing intimate partner and sexual violence

Even though the causes of domestic abuse remain poorly understood, it’s critical that society stands strong against the crime of domestic violence and support laws and social programmes put in place to stop the cycle.

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