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The study investigated the causes and effects of domestic violence in Ajegunle Lagos State, Nigeria. The population of the study comprised all he registered married couples in Ajegunle Lagos State from 2010-2015. 500 respondents made up 250 couples were used as sample. The instrument for data collection was a questionnaire entitled: Domestic Violence Question (DVQ) five research questions and three hypotheses guided the study. The research questions were answered using person product moment correlation while regression analysis was used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The results obtained showed that Nigerian couples are faced with different types of domestic violence which are: physical violence, psychological violence and sexual violence; age of the couples and their employment status were the socio-demographic factors that significantly correlate with domestic violence among couples and that gender and educational status did not correlate with domestic violence significantly. Based on the findings, recommendations for implementation include organization confirming marriages such as families, religious groups, hospitals, courts etc., ensuring that their clients pass through marital counselling with professional marriage counsellors among others.
1.1 Background of Study
Domestic violence, also recognized as household disturbance can be defined as brutal or threatening behaviour within the family, mostly involving the violent abuse of either a husband or a wife. It is considered as a crime, because domestic violence includes both verbal and physical abuse which is performed towards an individual. Domestic violence mostly takes place when one tries to prevail and dominate the other person, which causes an absolute bane and misery throughout the victim’s whole life. The growth of this act in our society is getting way more critical nowadays. According to Straus (1992), he stated that “research implies that between 3.3 million and 10 million children in the U.S. are vulnerable against domestic violence each year”. It brings a very huge impact towards the community, which is extremely catastrophic and disastrous. There are a few causes and effects of domestic violence which are going to be discussed and reviewed.
First and foremost, one of the factors which influenced domestic violence is that perpetrators discover violent behaviour mostly from their family members or mass media resources such as gory action movies and gruesome video games. As mentioned by Fantuzzo, Boruch and Beriama (1997), “Children exposed to domestic violence are in our schools, day-care centres, health care institutions, child welfare systems, and other agency settings”. There are sadistic families where the parents are obnoxious and cruel towards their own children, leaving a permanent trauma inside the children’s heart, leading them to become vengeful. Thus, the revengeful and merciless behaviour of a person can bring them to carry out crimes in the future, such as domestic violence Furthermore; the explicit as well as uncensored virtual contents can also affect an individual. For example, there are movies and video games which include graphical disturbance such as dismemberment of a character’s body parts through hack and slash. Hence, naive adolescents will try to mimic those actions in order to obtain the same effects as they find that these actions are the best ways for them to express their anxiety.
Subsequently, most of the abusers are psychotic. This condition is mainly caused by a dysfunctional relationship, which leads to mental ailment. The couple can be quarrelling on every single day. They stated, “Some don’t see themselves as responsible for what’s happened. They might blame the partner, alcohol or drugs, or brush it off as not being important. Some might deny that anything happened at all” (Mouzos and Makkai, 2004). Perpetrators habitually prevent to take responsibility for their awful behaviour, by blaming their cruelty on someone or something else in order to deny their actions and to show their innocence. They thought that if they pretend to be genuinely forgotten of what did they do can remove the responsibilities of their demeanour.
On the other hand, there are also consequences of domestic violence. The victims or spouses will live in fear and depression on every single day. They will be worrying of how they will be maltreated verbally, or even get beaten up whenever an argument starts. Hence, symptoms such as prolonged sadness, pathetic feelings, unreasonable crying, changes in appetite with momentous weight loss or gain can be seen from the victim. The feelings of hopelessness can also damage their minds, causing them to become irrational when it comes to decision making. Additionally, a pathetic life can also lead to suicidal thoughts and attempts. Hence, the sufferers are going to use drugs and alcohol in order to temporarily r the pain and escape from the reality. Moreover, the sufferers are going to feel ashamed, especially when they have scars and bruises on their faces as well as other body parts. “They may have unrealistic expectations from either their partner or the relationship itself, may try to isolate their partner from family, friends or other social interactions, and are often hyper-sensitive, getting easily hurt or offended” (“Domestic Violence and Domestic Abuse: An Overview”, 2004).
The breakdown of a family can also occur as an effect of household violence. The loss of confidence or low self-esteem among the family members can be clearly seen. As a result, they no longer trust and support each other. In addition, the victim will also try to leave the abuser by moving away frequently. When this happens, the children will be left alone to fight with the abusive parent, which seems to be extremely pitiful and dangerous. In order to avoid homicidal cases, the authorities such as police department and various child protection organizations will begin to involve themselves in the problem. Finally, the community is also greatly affected. Duvvury, Nata, Grown and Redner (2004) claimed that “The direct costs such as the cost of healthcare services, social and welfare services, counseling, police and criminal justice services and legal services as well as the divorce rate of married couples might increase significantly.” The rates of alcohol and drugs abuse will also increase as well. Hence, these circumstances are going to ruin the image and the economy status of our beloved country.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Domestic violence is one of the most disturbing social problems of contemporary times. Available literature and observation point to the fact that intimate partner violence seems to be on the increase in Nigeria and especially among married couples. Couples are often seen to complain of physical abuse, sexual abuse and psychological abuse. One is tempted to ask if couples in Enugu North Senatorial Zone, also experience intimate partner violence. Documented media reports provide an affirmative answer to this question. Thus, it became imperative to examine the socio-demographic correlates of intimate partner violence among couples in this area.
Given the observed inconsistencies in research findings on the correlates of domestic violence among couples, there may be need to examine possible socio-demographic factors which can influence intimate partner violence. Therefore, the problem of this study was to ascertain the Causes and Effect of Domestic Violence in Nigeria; A Case Study of Ajegunle in Lagos State, Nigeria.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of the study is to ascertain the Causes and Effect of Domestic Violence in Nigeria as well as establish the correlation between socio-demographic factors such as age, gender, educational status, employment status and domestic violence among couples in Ajegunle Lagos State, Nigeria.
Specifically, the study sought to determine;
1. The types of domestic violence exhibited by married couples in Ajegunle Lagos State.
2. The relationship between educational status and intimate partner violence among couples.
3. The relationship between age and domestic violence among couples.
4. The relationship between gender and domestic violence among couples.
5. The effects of domestic violence among couples on the home.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions guided the study;
1. What are the types of domestic violence exhibited by married couples in Ajegunle Lagos State?
2. Is there any relationship between educational status and intimate partner violence among couples?
3. Is there any relationship between age and domestic violence among couples?
4. Is there any relationship between gender and domestic violence among couples?
5. What are the effects of domestic violence among couples on the home and in Nigeria?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study have both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, the study was anchored on the social learning theory, general aggression model and general strain theory. Social learning theory posits that people can learn behaviours by observing and imitating others. In other words, behaviour is caused by personal and environmental elements. This implies that behavioural change is a product of interaction between environmental (socio) and personal (demographic) elements. And this assertion justifies the study which correlates socio-demographic factors with intimate partner violence among couples.
The general aggression model states that individuals with aggression-related concepts and knowledge structures in their neural network, individuals who are predisposed to aggressive affects such as anger, and have triggers for aggressive thoughts and feelings such as early maladaptive scripts, individuals who are impulsive and have had aversive experiences in life are likely to perpetrate intimate partner violence. This model is relevant to this study because it exposes the fact that both intrapersonal and interpersonal factors are responsible for the use of violence among couples.
General strain theory explains that certain strains or stressors increase the likelihood of violence and that couple use violence to reduce the stress being experienced or to obtain revenge against the source of the stress. This theory is relevant to this study in the sense that it reveals that certain stressors within the marital relationships can lead to intimate partner violence.
Practically, the results of this study is of immense benefit to married couples, health-care providers, policy-makers, guidance counsellors, future researchers and the Nigeria society at large.
The study will benefit married couples in that the findings of this study are expected to help address gender stereotypes that may be influencing their use of violence. The couples will derive this benefit when the study’s findings are circulated through counselling programmes, and the internet.
It will make health-care providers more aware of the scope of intimate partner violence among married men and women, to encourage an evidence-informed response to intimate partner violence. Health-care providers will derive such benefit when the findings of the study are presented to them through counselling programmes, seminars and the internet.
This study will enable policy makers and researchers to clarify issues and misconceptions regarding intimate partner violence with respect to couples’ age, gender educational status, employment status and also help them see the need for them to vigorously pursue the goal achievement of violence prevention and intervention in Nigeria.
The study is relevant to guidance counsellors in that it will help increase their understanding on how socio-demographic factors could relate to intimate partner violence. The findings of the study will also inspire guidance counsellors on the need for couple counselling which will subsequently promote married couples’ involvement in healthy marital relationships.
Finally, the research work when published will add to the existing body of knowledge in the area of the socio-demographic correlates of intimate partner violence. The findings will be disseminated through conferences and learned journals.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study was delimited to couples in Ajegunle Lagos State on the causes and effects of domestic violence. Moreover, it also focused on the socio-demographic correlates of domestic violence among couples. In the course of the study, variables such as educational status, age, employment status, and gender were considered in relation to how they affect couples’ use of violence in marital relationships.
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