Intimate partner violence

In our maternal health social audit we asked women about their experiences with intimate partner violence (IPV) during their last pregnancy. Of the women we interviewed in Bauchi, 3% told us that their spouses beat them. In Cross River, about 11% suffered intimate partner violence in their last pregnancy.

Across both states, about one third of women reported that they were afraid of their spouses. And a little more than 10% felt that they were not loved and cared for during their last pregnancy.

The study also found that 10% of men in Bauchi and 30% of men in Cross River felt that women sometimes deserve to be beaten. Moreover, almost one in 10 Bauchi men and two out of 10 Cross River men felt that it is culturally acceptable for a man to beat his wife.

Importantly, the study identified intimate partner violence as the most consistent and prominent risk factor for pregnant women. Women who had suffered physical intimate partner violence were more likely to suffer from complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

Focus group discussions on intimate partner violence

A female focus group discussion on maternal health, Bauchi, 2010

Few of the focus groups saw men as the cause of intimate partner violence; nearly all groups concluded that it could be avoided if women prayed, were obedient and patient and never refused sex. Community groups of men and women suggested community elders, family members and neighbours as mediators to offer advice to men and women on how to live peacefully with one another. Many groups in Cross River were in favour of locally administered punitive schemes, typically a fine for beating one’s wife such as a goat, or cash.

The quotes below come from focus group discussions on intimate partner violence in Cross River and Bauchi states:

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