The Sokoto State Hisbah Commission says it recorded 30,160 cases of domestic violence from January 2017 to April 2018.
The commander of the commission, Adamu Kwasarawa, disclosed this while responding to a survey on the new face of domestic violence by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Sokoto.
Mr Kwasarawa said the commission had settled 48,000 cases of domestic violence in 2017, and received 2,160 new cases from January to April, this year.
The commander attributed the rising cases of domestic violence in the state to ignorance and inadequate care among couples.
He explained that investigation being conducted by the commission over domestic disputes revealed that ignorance of matrimonial responsibilities and poor meeting up of such responsibilities were the major causes of such violence.
According to him, in recognition of the Islamic environment in the state, most cases are emanating from polygamous families that the husband favours one wife over the other.
He explained that disputes from monogamous homes were very minimal except due to poor care by husbands and women’s exposure to consumption of intoxicating substances.
He cited the example of two cases where wives used their teeth to cut off their husband’s pennies during oral sex, noting that the women acted under the influence of drugs.
Mr Kwasarawa said investigation revealed that one of the husband’s bought the substance and took it together with his wife to make them go high.
The commander said another case involved a newly wedded couple that was on drugs where the woman used razor blade and eventually stabbed the husband.
According to him, the commission records about 25 cases of matrimonial disputes daily in its 106 offices with 10,260 workers across the 23 local government areas of the state.
He noted that most couples have no sound knowledge of marriage responsibilities. He said knowing physical and psychological nature of humans that differs between man and woman which assist on tolerating each other’s mistakes.
Mr Kwasarawa said commission had embarked on aggressive public awareness and interactive sessions at Mosques and other social gatherings to curb the ugly situation.
He called on parents to always screen marriage partners and stop high expectations as well as marriage expenditure which is also contributing to disputes when a party doesn’t live upto expectation.
The Public Relations Officer of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Sokoto State Command, Hamza Illela, said the organisation also handles such domestic cases on daily basis, adding that a unit has been created to address such issues.
Mr Illela said high statistics of domestic violence were being resolved without going to courts as most were maltreatment of women by some husbands due to the nature of community settings.
The spokesperson for Sokoto State Police Command, Cordelia Nwawe, also acknowledged treating criminal aspects of domestic violence by charging the suspects to court.
Ms Nwawe said the command had cautioned police outstations on concealing cases of rape, abuse and other maltreatment or assault.
She said most cases of domestic violence were received from rural areas but could not attribute any reason for that.
A community leader, Hashiru Yusuf, recommended an effective response to domestic violence through multi-sectoral approach by addressing the immediate practical needs of women experiencing abuse or violence, and provide long-term follow-up and assistance.
Mr Yusuf said these strategies would address changes in cultural norms, attitudes and legal provisions that promote the acceptance of and even encourage violence undermining women’s enjoyment of their full human rights and freedoms.
Aisha Bawa, the Convener of Women Networking and
Development Initiative, an NGO, said the health sector
has a unique potential to deal with violence against women, particularly through reproductive health services, which most women will access at some point in their lives.
Ms Bawa said: “This potential is far from being realised. Few doctors, nurses or other health personnel have the awareness and the training to identify violence as the underlying cause of women’s health problems.
“The health sector can play a vital role in preventing violence against women, helping to identify abuse early, providing victims with the necessary treatment and referring women to appropriate care centres.
“Health services must be placed where women feel safe, are treated with respect, are not stigmatised, and where they can receive quality, informed support.’’
A gynaecologist at a private hospital in Sokoto, Seyi Oyebo, also told NAN that a comprehensive health sector response to the problem was needed to particularly address the reluctance of abused women to seek help.
According to her, statistics showing that one in 10 recorded crimes were domestic abuse may be shocking to some, but for the abused women themselves, or those working with them, they simply bear out what is already known.
“While statistics are extremely valuable when trying to understand the scale of social problems such as domestic abuse, it is important to remember that they do not always give us the full picture.
“Domestic abuse is a largely invisible crime, occurring mainly behind closed doors. It is often difficult to measure it accurately and women are often reluctant or afraid to report it to the police.
“Many women whose experiences of domestic abuse are confined to psychological or coercive abuse may not even define themselves as `abused women’ since there is little education about what non-violent abuse consists of,’’ the expert said.
Ms Oyebo added that domestic abuse leads to an average of 100 women and 30 men per year being murdered.
She explained that women are always overrepresented as victims of domestic violence, suffering physical, verbal, social, financial and emotional situations.
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