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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND HUMAN RIGHTS, A CASE STUDY OF SPOUSE BATTERING

ABSTRACT

The main objective of the study was to assess domestic violence against human rights. The survey research method was used for this study. The major instrument used for this study is the questionnaire. The population consists of a total of 300 populations, which is the proportion level of distribution. 250 questionnaires were distributed, and 200 were returned for the purpose of the research work. Out of the population, 200 persons were selected using the simple random sampling (srs) technique. Partners should not be aggressive to each other as this will lead to domestic violence. From the data analysed in this study poor family relationship leads to denial of opportunities, properties, wealth and good health. The study recommend that the Benue State Government should set up guidance and counseling centres on family matters where Religious Leaders, elders in the communities and guidance and counseling experts will educate and counsel partners to live peacefully and arrived of collective decision to improve family relationship.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1          Background of the Study

Domestic violence has gained an increasing concern in the  society today and also is a controversial issue owing to the fact that it does not only involve the action against women alone, but also against men. It has been a norm in the society today and we have lived with it not having the feeling that it is wrong anymore (Godwin 2005).  Domestic violence is a product of long lasting unequal power relationship between a man and a woman that have resulted to the control over and discrimination against the women by the men or vise versa and to the hindrance of the complete advancement by women.

Violence against women continues to be global epidemic that kills, tortures and maims physically, psychologically, sexually and emotionally. It is among the increasing and fierce violation of human rights that hinders women of security, equality, personal dignity, self-worth and right to enjoy fundamental freedom. Domestic violence against women exists in many countries in the world, throughout the boundaries of culture, class, education, income, ethnicity and age (Un Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and General Assembly Resolution 1993).

The visibility of female violence against men has also seen an upsurge in the recent past both in Nigeria and the world over. For a long time, female violence against men was ignored and unacknowledged as a violation of men’s fundamental rights. In fact, female violence against men was not even captured in the mainstream definition of “domestic violence‟. The definition was only putting women and children in the “victims” category and men only as perpetrators (WILDAF, 2005). The reason why this was the case is because men constructed violence orchestrated by women as an assault to their masculinity identities which fundamentally affected reporting of such incidences when they occurred (Carney et al, 2006). However, this situation is changing mainly due to increased sensitization of the vice by some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), increased media representation through especially the „new media‟ and an increased number of male victims seeking solutions (Josolyne, 2011).

Women Aid Collective (WACOL 2004) pointed that domestic violence can be likened to anything that provokes an action taken against someone, which is capable of robbing the individual his or her fundamental human rights. (Women Aid Collective 2004) also pointed that domestic violence is a kind bullying whereby an individual is dealt with physical or mal handled, hence resulting to injury on the individual just because the attacker cannot control the situation when it goes wild.

Kantor in Yogo (2008), pointed out that domestic violence is a serious global topic that is always associated with women’s segregation from supportive ties to kin. It is a very vital component of gender-based violence that has been defined as those actions and activities that can result to emotional, physical and psychological damage to a person as a result of a mere misunderstanding (Ityavyar in Okeph, 2005). As an existing issue, violence against women however, relates to a large spectrum of issues bothering the existence of the female gender in relation to the family. The female counterparts suffer in there marital homes because God himself constituted marriage in the Garden of Eden and further subjected women to be a help mate. So consequently, our social system places women in an unfortunate position (Okpeh, 1999).

The Study of Secretary General of United Nation (2004) further explained that early marriage has to do with marriage of a child below the age of 18 years. Young

The study of Secretary General of United Nation (2004) explained that early marriage involves the marriage of a child below the age of 18 years. Young girls have not achieved full maturity and capacity to act, and lack ability to control their sexuality. When they marry and have children, their health can be adversely affected. Early marriage has inflicted dangerous and devastating effects on young girls who are compelled to tie the knot in most cases.

The convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) adopt in (1979) affirmed that the principle of fundamental rights and freedom of every human being are guided by a broad concept of human right that stretches beyond civil and political rights to the core issues of economic survival, health and education that affect the quality of daily life for most women and children. United Nation General Assembly (1993) postulated that violence and abusive behaviour continue to be a major cause of death, injury, stress and fear in various families. Domestic violence and abusive behaviour are responsible for poor family relationship, although personality conflicts and troubles within a marriage affect intimate behaviour, (Olson and Defrain 2006).

(2000) stated that, family relationship refers to unity which is strengthened by love. The members of the family all have duties and responsibilities toward one another and to the family as a whole. These duties and responsibilities vary from member to member because of their natural relationships. Such behavior can be seen in a man that stopped the wife from government employment and made her to engage in preparation and sales of local wine (burukutu) for many years. The woman could not further her education after primary school certificate.

This research will explore the forms, causes, levels of reporting and consequences of spouse battering. The main goal of this study is to generate knowledge that will bridge the gap that exists from the notion that women are the only victims of gender based violence. To provide insight into the research question other academic literature has been consulted to understand the main arguments surrounding the issue of male victims of female violence or vise versa. The literature suggests that men are equally victims of domestic violence. In order to test these views qualitative interviews were conducted with male victims of female violence and organisations that deal with issues of domestic violence. Spouse battering should be seen as a human issue not one of society or in some cases gender.

1.2          Statement of the Problem 

The rise of domestic violence is gradually becoming uncontrollable by law and the general society. There are cases of men brutalizing their spouses and men, just like women, also being victims of gender violence. Gender Based Violence against men is largely invisible, unrecognised and trivialised. If an abused man seeks help as a victim of domestic violence, the majority of society will see it as a laughable situation. Society chooses not to believe the man and this creates the feeling of guilt and shame in the male victims. The way in which society looks at gender images of men and women are passed down from generation to generation. This has had a severe negative effect on the existence of male victims of domestic violence in our society. Female victims of domestic violence are increasingly treated by society with sympathy and support, while male victims are treated with disbelief. Society’s view on domestic violence has been reinforced by the media’s coverage of the issues surrounding domestic violence, portraying females as the only victims and males as the abusers. Response by society at large is a major concern for men’s rights. Therefore, there is need to take more comprehensive steps to raise awareness of the magnitude of the problem and effect policies that can lead to its eradication and equal attention. There are numerous gaps in understanding the pervasiveness of this act of spouse battering in terms of the forms, the causes, levels of reporting and consequences of domestic violence. Thus, there is need to do more research in order to understand what the problem is.

On the other hand, it is also observed that violation of women at home has made women situation difficult to participate fully in issues concerning them in the home and in the society. As such, women have no freedom to speak for themselves because of fear of punishment from their husbands. Men think women are meant for giving birth, taking care of the children and doing only domestic works. The problem statement of the study therefore was whether domestic violence on spouse battering has a relationship with human right.

1.3 Objectives of the study

The main objective of the study was to assess domestic violence against human rights.

The specific objectives are to:

  1. To examine what forms of domestic violence are noted in spouse battering and it’s effect in Nigeria
  2. To identify how one can account for the cause of domestic violence and their relation to human rights
  3. To identify the level of incidence of spouse battering, low or high
  4. To evaluate the consequences of domestic violence and spouse battering

1.4          Research Questions

This study provided answers to the following research questions

  1. What forms of domestic violence are noted in spouse battering and it’s effect in Nigeria?
    1. How can one account for the cause of domestic violence and their relation to human rights
    2. What is the level of incidence of spouse battering, low or high
    3. What are the consequences of domestic violence and spouse battering

1.5          Significance of the study

The findings of this study will help the general public identify domestic violence. Through enlightenment they will learn to cope with such situations and be able to enjoy their relationship in the family.

The findings of this study will also enable home economists to improve the content in family life relationship through teaching of students. It will help husband and wife to sit together to discuss family issues and take decision.

The findings will educate individuals and families through teachings in the classrooms in Home Economics subjects and courses, through seminars, conferences, giving talks to religious organizations in the church and mosques, in public religion gatherings. The knowledge gained from such teaching will broaden the knowledge of men to consider women as instrument for change because when women are educated, the whole family will be educated either directly or indirectly.

The findings will make husbands to involve their wives in decision making for the progress of their families and to give women rights and privileges for a harmonious relationship since the genesis of human behaviour starts in the home.

1.8          Delimitation of the Study

The study covered different kinds of domestic violence such as spousal abuse, sexual abuse, and early marriage of young girls and deprivation of women’s rights in decision-making on family relationship.

The reason for choosing married men and women is that, they are people that have gone through violent behaviour in the home. As such they are in a better position to say much about domestic violence. It was delimited to married men and women in four Local Government Areas in Benue State.

1.9  Definition of terms

Spouse   - Opposite gender partner, living together with an individual.

Domestic  - Household issues

Violence – Forceful attack or activities that can hurt a human of damage a property.

Battering -      Hitting and beating forcefully given to an victim

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