A Qualitative Study of Intimate Partner Violence Among Women in Nigeria

Mary O Balogun, Yetunde O John-Akinola
Journal of Interpersonal Violence 2015, 30 (14): 2410-27
Negative health outcomes caused by intimate partner violence (IPV) have been recognized as a public health problem with extensive effects on the society. Cultural and traditional beliefs that reinforce IPV in Nigeria need to be understood to guide public health approaches aimed at preventing IPV. The purpose of this study was to determine women's attitudes and societal norms that support IPV, causes and consequences of IPV, and coping strategies, and to document suggested measures to prevent it. Six focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted among 56 women aged 15 to 49 years purposively selected from rural and urban communities in Akinyele Local Government Area (LGA) of Oyo State, Nigeria. The FGDs were conducted in Yoruba language, translated to English, and analyzed using thematic approach. Findings were grouped into six major themes: triggers, societal norms, attitude, consequences, coping strategies, and preventive measures. Women reported experience of physical, psychological, and sexual violence and controlling behavior. Major causes of IPV reported by the women were having more money than partner, and building a house or having a business without partner's knowledge. Most participants reported that social norms dictate that a woman should have full regard for in-laws, and submit to and agree with all that the partner says and does. Most of the discussants in both the urban and rural areas reported that violence in any form is not justifiable or acceptable. Participants mentioned various ways through which IPV negatively impacted on women's health such as depression, hypertension, and damage to the reproductive system. They were however willing to endure suffering because of their children. Women who experienced IPV reported to close relatives but did not seek legal redress because these were unavailable. Ending IPV requires long-term commitment and strategies involving contributions from the government, community, and the family.

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