SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN NIGERIA SINCE 2010: ISSUES AND PROBLEMS
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Violence against women is increasingly becoming a pandemic that needs to be eradicated and eliminated. Violence against women could come in different forms which results to physical, mental and sexual consequences. Sexual violence against women is one of the most oppressive forms of gender inequality as well as the most widespread and least recognized human right abuses in the world (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, ‘CARE’, 2010). Sexual violence occurs in both gender but is known to affect the female gender more commonly. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), sexual violence is any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts of traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim in any setting, including but not limited to home and work. In simple term sexual violence is any sexual act that is carried out without the persons consent and against someone’s will. Sexual violence, including sexual harassment, frequently occurs in institutions assumed to be ‘safe’, these includes; churches/mosques, schools, place of work, where the perpetrators are pastors/imams, colleagues and even teachers. Sexual abuse is a grievous offense that shouldn’t be taken lightly but it is still surprising that discussions on it is often avoided.
Gender based violence (GBV) is a common practice in the Sub-Saharan Africa and sexual violence prevalence is high. According to the Gender Equality Index Report, which includes data on; employment, empowerment and reproductive health, 27 out of the 30 countries in the world that exhibits unequitable gender indices are in Africa. The African cultural beliefs and traditions promotes men hierarchy in sexual relations and this has led to a certain rate of sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) in Nigeria. Few things unite Nigerians like the numerous stories of sexual abuse, intrenched in tradition, scattered across tribes and cultures, and perpetrated mostly against women. The exposure of the backwardness of a country is evident in her prevalent rape culture, backed by cultural sentiments of male supremacy and dominance. Studies from Nigeria has shown that the prevalence of sexual IPV ranges from 20% to 31%. The prevalence of sexual violence is quite difficult to estimate because of variations in how data sources defines sexual violence and most sex crimes go unreported. According to a study in Nigeria, it was reported that only 22.9% of respondents who had experienced rape reported the offense to the police. The reasons for this are not far-fetched, as most people fear the risk of not being believed, socially ostracized and being blamed, but how do we even blame someone’s pain for another person’s pleasure? We also see that most of the rape perpetrators are known to the victim, and could even be a family member. And it is known for most Nigerian home to cover it up all for the sake of ‘protecting the family’s reputation at all cost’, thereby leaving the burden for the victim alone to bear. Also, according to Amnesty International, the police forces in Nigeria are reported to have perpetrated acts of rape and other sexual abuse against women, in public locations or even when they go and file a complaint.
Nigeria is a sovereign state, located in West Africa, bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, Benin in the west. Nigeria is a multinational- states with more than 250 ethnic groups with over 500 distinct languages all identifying with a wide range of cultures. Nigeria is a Sub- Saharan country because of its last of provision to satisfy the basic human needs of most of its vast population.
In reference to the 2014 National Survey on violence Against children in Nigeria, it states that one in four women experienced sexual violence in childhood. The rising divorce rate has appeared to put children at risk at the same time that it has also made it easier for children and their mothers to escape from the most oppressive and intolerable family situations. Family structures need to be strengthened and enriched.
One major reason for the increase in sexual violence against women can be seen in most traditional practices which believe in the subordination of women and with the belief in the notion that women are ‘family property’. Culture, to a very large extent determines how certain populations and societies perceive and view sexual acts as sexual violence. Higher rates of sexual violence are expected to be more prevalent in cultures that encourages the objectification of women, thus making them inferior to men.
- OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The specific objectives are:
- To give an overview on the situation of sexual violence against women in Nigeria.
- Examine the implications of sexual violence on the victims in Nigeria.
- Ascertain if there exist any measures put in place to reduce and conquer sexual violence against women in Nigeria.
- Proffer solutions to the issue and problem of sexual violence against women in Nigeria
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following questions were raised in the study:
- What is the situation with sexual violence against women in Nigeria?
- What are the implications of sexual violence on the victims in Nigeria?
- Are there any measures established by the government to fight against the growing sexual violence against women in Nigeria?
- What are the solutions to the issue and problem of sexual violence against women in Nigeria?
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The importance of this study is it’s cause to examine the increased sexual violence against women in Nigeria. It would also help policy makers in Nigeria to know the extent to which the violence perpetrated against women is increasingly unbearable and how the society encourages it, which will help to know how to curb it. The study would also be beneficial to the future researcher because they can get some information that might be needed in their research and some of their questions might possibly be answered by this research. The social significance of this study is to create awareness in the society.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research focuses on the sexual violence situation against women in Nigeria. It also seeks to know the extent to which the issues of sexual violence in Nigeria has been perpetrated and the efforts put into fight against sexual violence against women.