A recent Public Opinion poll conducted by NOIPolls Limited in partnership with Project Alert on domestic violence has revealed an increasing prevalence of domestic violence across Nigeria in recent times as reported by about 8 in 10 (78 percent) respondents.
The poll showed that domestic violence has been heightened by the economic hardship in Nigeria.
The poll measured the opinion of Nigerians on the increasing prevalence of domestic violence in Nigeria and the results showed that 78 percent of Nigerians nationwide stated that there is an increasing prevalence of domestic violence in Nigeria, and this view was evenly shared across gender, geo-political zones and age-groups.
Further results from the poll revealed that despite its prohibition by Section 34 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, which guarantees the rights of all against torture and other cold-hearted or degrading treatment; the largest proportion of the respondents (97 percent) who believe there is an increasing prevalence of domestic violence in Nigeria stated that domestic violence of men against women is highly/somewhat prevalent in the Nigerian society and this is the same across all geo-political zones.
Other segments of the respondents believe that men are also at the receiving end of domestic violence in Nigerian homes, as 47 percent stated that domestic violence of women against men is also prevalent.
The North-East geopolitical zone (79 percent) make up the highest proportion of respondents with this perception, although, 53 percent have a contrary opinion stating that domestic violence of women against men is non prevalent or non-existent in the Nigerian society.
Meanwhile, 79 percent also mentioned domestic violence against children is highly prevalent, and this is the same across all geopolitical zones.
The prevalence according to the study is highest in the South-West geo-political zone (86 percent) and lowest in the South-South zone (70 percent).
More findings revealed that 54 percent of Nigerians have suffered a form of domestic violence or know someone that has experienced domestic violence in their homes with majority of the victims being women as stated by 75 percent of respondents, although ‘men’ (16 percent) and ‘children’ (9 percent) are also known to be victims of domestic violence.
Moreover findings from a similar poll conducted by NOIPolls in 2012 which revealed that 4 percent of the respondents were victims and 29 percent indicated they know victims of domestic violence, potrays an increase in the occurrence of domestic violence in Nigeria when these figures are compared to recent figures.
An evaluation of the causes of domestic violence in Nigeria revealed that Nigerians perceive ‘economic hardship’ (42 percent), ‘misunderstanding between couples’ (21 percent) and ‘impatience’ (9 percent) as the main causes of domestic violence in Nigerian homes.
Furthermore, the poll revealed that victims of domestic violence do not take any action about their cases, implying that most domestic violence cases go unreported.
These victims do not take any action mainly ‘to avoid stigmatization’ (34 percent), while in other cases it could be as a result of ignorance and illiteracy of victims (21 percent), emotional attachment to their spouses and partners (18 percent) and fear of threat or insecurity (17 percent).
While several individuals, civil society organisations and other relevant stakeholders have risen to fight against the prevalance of this evil in the Nigerian society, Nigerians have suggested that the fostering of mutual understanding in marriages and relationships as well as proper enlightenment on marriage amongst other suggestions will play critical roles in reducing the prevalence of domestic violence in Nigeria.