Home Print this page Email this page Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size
Users Online: 195
Home | About us | Editorial board | Search | Ahead of print | Current issue | Archives | Submit article | Instructions | Subscribe | Contacts | Advertise | Login 

Table of Contents
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 37-41

Men's perspectives on intimate partner abuse in an urban community in North-Western Nigeria

Department of Community Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication18-Sep-2014

Correspondence Address:
Muhammed S Ibrahim
Department of Community Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0331-3131.141028

Rights and Permissions

Background: Intimate partner abuse (IPA) has many negative consequences on the health of women and their children, and on the economic and social development of communities.
Aim: This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of IPA among men in an urban community of North-Western, Nigeria, their reasons for engaging in it, and the complications experienced by their partners.
Materials and Methods: The study was conducted in Samaru, Sabon Gari Local Government Area of Kaduna State. This was a cross-sectional study in which 397 married men were interviewed using a structured interviewer-administered questionnaire containing both open- and close-ended questions. A man was considered to have engaged in IPA if he had engaged in at least one form of physical, sexual, emotional and/or economic abuse in the last 12 months.
Results: Mean age of the respondents was 30.3 ± 27.5 years, and they were mostly Hausa-Fulani 183 (46.1%), and having tertiary education 238 (59.2%). Among all respondents, 186 (46.9%) had engaged in IPA in the last 12 months, the most common type being physical abuse 184 (46.3%). Of all IPAs, 78 (41.9%) occurred, while the partner was pregnant. Some common reasons for engaging in IPA include wife's nagging and impatience, husband's heavy drinking, and negligence of domestic duty by wife. Major complications of IPA experienced by their wives were physical injury and miscarriage.
Conclusion: Prevalence of IPA amongst the respondents is very high, with almost half occurring during pregnancy. It is recommended that excessive alcohol consumption and gender roles should be discouraged in the community. In addition, screening of antenatal clinic attendees for IPA should be instituted in such communities.

Keywords: Intimate partner abuse, men, Nigeria, North

How to cite this article:
Ibrahim MS, Bashir SS, Umar AA, Gobir AA, Idris SH. Men's perspectives on intimate partner abuse in an urban community in North-Western Nigeria. Ann Nigerian Med 2014;8:37-41

How to cite this URL:
Ibrahim MS, Bashir SS, Umar AA, Gobir AA, Idris SH. Men's perspectives on intimate partner abuse in an urban community in North-Western Nigeria. Ann Nigerian Med [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Apr 18];8:37-41. Available from: https://www.anmjournal.com/text.asp?2014/8/1/37/141028

   Introduction Top

Intimate partner abuse (IPA) refers to a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors, including physical, sexual and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion that adults or adolescents use against their intimate partners. [1] According to reports, the aim of this behavior is usually to maintain power and control over the other partner. [2] Studies have shown IPA to have many negative consequences on the health of women (and even on their under-five children), and on the economic and social development of communities. For example, complications such as physical injury, unwanted pregnancy, depression, fear and anxiety, and suicide ideation, have been reported. [3],[4],[5],[6] In some circumstances, some of these complications were severe enough to cause hospital admission, and even mortality. [4],[7]

Intimate partner abuse occurs in all cultures and nations. Studies done among women in Nigeria have reported high prevalence of IPA. For example, separate hospital-based studies among pregnant women have reported prevalence of 13.6% in a South-Eastern [3] and 28% in a North-Western [8] community. Among other women, it was 29% in Lagos, [9] 37.4% in Abuja, [10] and 20% in a migrant South-Western community. [11] However, studies that included men, either alone or along with women, have observed much higher prevalence; 64.2% in the South-East, [5] and 83.4% in a South-South community where alcohol consumption was reported to be common. [12] Among the studies found to have been done in Nigeria, only two included economic abuse in their assessment of IPA. [3],[13] Hinting that the prevalence of IPA in their study communities could have been under-estimated.

Studies have also reported a culture of silence among women affected by IPA, [10],[13],[14],[15] and some women have even been reported to justify IPA in some situations. [11] Perhaps for this reason, women tend to understate the IPA that they experience when compared with the men's report of the same situation. [14] This raises the possibility that the prevalence of IPA could have been under-estimated in studies done among women. It is, therefore, possible that studies on IPA against women would be more accurate if the information is obtained from their partners.

Despite reports of the occurrence of IPA at every level of all societies, there is scanty literature on IPA among men, mostly not from Northern Nigeria. [5],[12],[14] Understanding the practice of IPA among men in Northern Nigeria is important. This is because patriarchy which prevails here invests men with the power to influence what women do or fail to do. For this reason, this study was conducted among the married men in Samaru community of Zaria metropolis to determine the prevalence of IPA among them, their reasons for engaging in it, and the various consequences of IPA experienced by their partners.

   Materials and Methods Top

The study was conducted in Samaru, an urban community in Sabon Gari Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Samaru is located 13 km from the ancient city of Zaria, and directly opposite the main campus of the Ahmadu Bello University, and separated from it by a trunk A road that links Zaria to Sokoto. It is a cosmopolitan community with virtually all the ethnic groups in Nigeria. It has a population of 45,897 according to the 1991 census. Majority of the population are either employees and students of Ahmadu Bello University or artisans and petty traders whose businesses depend largely on the Ahmadu Bello University community.

This was a cross-sectional study conducted among married men that had been permanently resident in the community for at least 12 months before that survey. A minimum sample size of 424 was estimated for the study using the formula for a descriptive study and anticipated nonresponse of 20%; [16] and 28% as the prevalence of IPA that was reported in a previous study. [15]

The men were selected through a multistage sampling technique. In the first stage, five Unguwa were selected from a list of all the nine Unguwa in Samaru (Unguwa means a neighborhood with people living within it mostly having similar characteristics). The second stage involved selection of the first street to be visited in each of these five Unguwa. For each selected Unguwa, a list of all the streets/paths in it was made and, through balloting, one street was selected as the first to be visited. In the third stage, a list of all the houses in the first street/path was made, and balloting was used to select the first house to be visited. In the selected house, the eligible household was identified and visited. Where a house contained more than one eligible household, one household was selected for an interview using balloting. Furthermore, where there was more than one eligible married man in a selected household, one was selected by balloting, and interviewed. On completion of the interview in one house (or where there was no eligible married man in the house), the interviewer exited that house and moved to a house whose entrance was next to and to the right of the one that was exited. On reaching the end of the street/path, the street/path to the right and the first house to the right was taken next. This process continued until 85 married men were approached for interview in each Unguwa (except Unguwa aladu with 84), making a total of 424 men. Three hundred and ninety-seven interviews were successfully completed.

Data collection was done in English or Hausa (as preferred by the respondent) over 6 days, and by a team of five community health officers. It was done using a structured interviewer-administered questionnaire that contained open- and close-ended questions, mostly adopted from the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 2008. [17] The questionnaire had four sections covering respectively (a) sociodemographic characteristics of respondents, (b) the practice of IPA (c) reasons for engaging in IPA, and (d) complication(s) experienced by wife. The questions in sections A and B were close-ended, while the rest were open-ended. It was pretested in Gyallesu community (about 12 km away from study community), among 17 married men who met the criteria for inclusion in the study. Relevant adjustments were made to the questionnaire based on the observations during the pretest.

The answers to open-ended questions were first grouped into discrete categories that did not overlap, and all data were entered into SPSS Statistics 17.0. (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA) Frequencies and percentages were then generated for each category. Microsoft Office Excel 2013 was used to construct the bar chart of reasons for engaging in IPA. A man was considered to have engaged in IPA if he had engaged in at least one form of physical, sexual, emotional or economic abuse in the last 12 months.

   Results Top

A total of 397 out of 424 married men were successfully interviewed, giving a response rate of 93.6%. The respondents were mostly 20-29 years old (35.5%), with a mean age of 30.3 ± 27.5 years. They were mostly Hausa-Fulani 183 (46.1%), unemployed 154 (38.8%), and having tertiary education 238 (59.2%) [Table 1].
Table 1: Sociodemographic characteristics of the men interviewed (n = 397)

Click here to view

Among the respondents, 186 (46.9%) had engaged in at least one form of IPA in the past 12 months. Seventy-eight (41.9%) of these men admitted to engaging in IPA, while their wife was pregnant. The most common type of IPA was physical 184 (46.3%), while the least common was economic 87 (21.9%). Other forms were sexual 134 (33.8%) and emotional 156 (39.3%).

Most of the IPA first occurred within 2 years of marriage, and after the wife had more than one child [Table 2].
Table 2: The 1st time that the men engaged in IPA in relation to length of marriage and number of children (n = 186)

Click here to view

When asked about the reason why they engaged in IPA, the commonest reason they mentioned were nagging and impatience by the woman, heavy drinking by husband, woman having low or no income, influence of another woman (co-wife or another woman that the husband was having extra-marital relationship with), and negligence of domestic duty [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Reasons given by the men for engaging in intimate partner abuse (n = 186). *A combination of those who suspected and those who confi rmed. Note: There were multiple responses

Click here to view

The men were also asked to list all the negative effects that IPA has had on their partner. The most common effect of IPA mentioned by the respondents were physical injury 89 (47.8%), while the least common were unwanted pregnancy 50 (26.9%), followed by sexual transmitted infections 48 (25.8%) [Table 3].
Table 3: Complications of IPA experienced by respondent's spouse (n = 186)

Click here to view

   Discussion Top

The practice of IPA among the men in this study population was unacceptably common, being only lower than the ones recorded among men in a south-south community and among those in a South-East community, both in Nigeria. [12] Although this is less than the almost two-thirds that was reported among men in South-Eastern Nigeria. [5] Interestingly, other studies done among women in all parts of the country have reported lower prevalence of IPA. [3],[9],[11],[15] This difference could be explained by the fact that women tend to under-report their experience of IPA than the men report their practice of it, [14] probably because of their more supportive attitude toward it. [10],[11],[14],[15]

The most common type of IPA observed in this study was physical abuse, which is consistent with a previous hospital-based study done in Zaria. [15] While the previous studies done among men in Nigeria did not report the prevalence of the various forms of IPA, the ones done among women have reported the most common form to be emotional abuse, [6],[9],[10] and the one among women and men together reported economic abuse to be the most common form. [13] The rate of physical abuse in this study population, is only lower than that from a rural community in South-South of Nigeria, where the researchers also noted a high rate of alcohol consumption (about 93.4% of adults in the community consumed alcohol). [12] The high rate of physical abuse observed in this study is of public health concern because physical abuse is not only detrimental to the health of women involved, but also to that of their under-five children. [7]

Intimate partner abuse occurring during pregnancy has been reported to cause obstetric complications like abortion and miscarriage. [4] In this study, almost half of the men admitted to engaging in IPA, while their wife was pregnant. Although, this is less than the 72% found in Uganda, [18] it still remains higher than what was reported in previous studies done in Nigeria. [5],[13]

Among previous studies, there has been variation in the occurrence of IPA in relation to the length of marriage. For example, while one study did not find a significant association between the time that IPA started and the length of marriage, [8] another study found the length of marriage to be a significant determinant. [19] In this study, only a slight difference was observed between the proportion that started IPA less than 2 years after marriage and those who did so two or more years after. In relation to the "parity" of the couple, this study observed that the majority of the men started IPA after the first child and this proportion increased with parity. Although, this finding is in contrast with the one from Uganda, [18] it is similar to the findings of previous studies done in Nigeria. [19],[20]

Most of the men in this study reported that they engaged in IPA because of nagging by their wives, their (men's) excessive alcohol consumption, and the fact that their wife contributed little or no nothing to the family income. Previous studies in Nigeria have reported association between these three factors and the occurrence of IPA among couples. [5],[12],[14] Other reasons for IPA given by the men in this study also conform with the report of other studies done in Nigeria. [3],[5],[6],[19] It is, however, interesting to note that despite the report of wife's poor economic status being among the most common reasons for IPA, economic abuse was the least form of IPA that the men in this study admitted to have engaged in. The reason for this contradiction is not clear.

The various complications of IPA observed in this study had been reported in previous studies. They include unwanted pregnancy, depression, fear and anxiety, and physical injuries. [3],[5],[6],[21],[22],[23] The fact that physical injury and miscarriage were the most common complications in this study can be explained by the fact that physical abuse was the most common form of IPA that the men engaged in.

Not unusually, this study has a few limitations. First, the data collected were based on self-report by the men, and not independently verified through their wives. Therefore, the possibility of recall bias or willful misstatement exists and hence that some of the data collected may not be the exact reflection of the situation of the men. The researchers minimized this possibility through the use of experienced and trained interviewers whom the men were more likely to freely discuss private issues with, because they were not members of the study community. In addition, this study did not assess the relative intensity, frequency, or duration of the various forms of IPA; a factor that could have influenced the types of complications reported here. Nevertheless, the strength of this study lies in the fact that it adds to the limited literature on studies of IPA among men (the usual perpetrators), especially in Nigeria where almost all studies on IPA were done among women (the usual victims).

   Conclusion Top

This study found an unacceptably high prevalence of IPA among the study population, with a notable proportion occurring during pregnancy. This can be reduced by discouraging excessive alcohol consumption which was unexpectedly common among the men studied. Traditional gender roles, such as the husband alone earning a living and seen as the owner of the wife, and domestic duty being viewed as the responsibility of the wife only, must also be discouraged. This would reduce the proportion of IPA that occur because of wife's lack of contribution to household income or negligence of domestic duty. It would also reduce the occurrence of IPA due to her refusal to have sex with husband, and even going out without the husband's permission. Teaching couples in this community the skills for positive conflict resolution could help to reduce the extent of violent conflict resolution occurring due to nagging. In addition, introducing the routine screening of antenatal care attendees for IPA could help in early identification of women at risk of complications, thereby improving pregnancy outcome, an intervention which most of the women in a similar community were found to have accepted. [8] Finally, it is not clear why the prevalence of economic abuse was relatively low, despite the high proportion of the men admitting having abused their wife because of her poor economic status. Thus, future studies on IPA in such communities should include qualitative methods, to explore the contextual reasons that could explain such paradox.

   References Top

1.Garcia-Moreno C, Jansen HA, Ellsberg M, Heise L, Watts CH. WHO Multi-Country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence Against Women. Geneva: WHO; 2005.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.World Health Organisation. Violence Against Women: A Priority Health Issue. Geneva: World Health Organisation; 1997.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Umeora OU, Dimejesi BI, Ejikeme BN, Egwuatu VE. Pattern and determinants of domestic violence among prenatal clinic attendees in a referral centre, South-East Nigeria. J Obstet Gynaecol 2008;28:769-74.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Okenwa L, Lawoko S, Jansson B. Contraception, reproductive health and pregnancy outcomes among women exposed to intimate partner violence in Nigeria. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care 2011;16:18-25.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Obi SN, Ozumba BC. Factors associated with domestic violence in South-East Nigeria. J Obstet Gynaecol 2007;27:75-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Fatusi AO, Alatise OI. Intimate partners' violence in Ile-Ife, Nigeria: Women's experiences and men's perspectives. Gender Behav 2006;4:764-81.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Garoma S, Fantahun M, Worku A. Maternal intimate partner violence victimization and under-five children mortality in Western Ethiopia: A case-control study. J Trop Pediatr 2012;58:467-74.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.John IA, Lawoko S, Oluwatosin A. Acceptance of screening for intimate partner violence, actual screening and satisfaction with care amongst female clients visiting a health facility in Kano, Nigeria. Afr J Prm Health Care Fam Med 2011;3:1-6.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Leah E. Okenwa LE, Lawoko S, Jansson B. Exposure to intimate partner violence amongst women of reproductive age in Lagos, Nigeria: Prevalence and predictors. J Fam Violence 2009;24:517-30.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Efetie ER, Salami HA. Domestic violence on pregnant women in Abuja, Nigeria. J Obstet Gynaecol 2007;27:379-82.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Owoaje ET, Olaolorun FM. Intimate partner violence among women in a migrant community in Southwest Nigeria. Int Q Community Health Educ 2005;25:337-49.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Brisibe S, Ordinioha B, Dienye PO. Intersection between alcohol abuse and intimate partner's violence in a rural Ijaw community in Bayelsa State, South-South Nigeria. J Interpers Violence 2012;27:513-22.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Ezechi OC, Kalu BK, Ezechi LO, Nwokoro CA, Ndububa VI, Okeke GC. Prevalence and pattern of domestic violence against pregnant Nigerian women. J Obstet Gynaecol 2004;24:652-6.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Fawole OI, Aderonmu AL, Fawole AO. Intimate partner abuse: Wife beating among civil servants in Ibadan, Nigeria. Afr J Reprod Health 2005;9:54-64.  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Ameh N, Abdul A. Prevalence of domestic violence amongst pregnant women in Zaria, Nigeria. Ann Afr Med 2004;3:4-6.  Back to cited text no. 15
16.Naing L, Winn T, Rusli BN. Practical issues in calculating the sample size for prevalence studies. Arch Orofac Sci 2006;1:9-14.  Back to cited text no. 16
17.National Population Commission and ICF Macro. Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 2008. Abuja, Nigeria: National Population Commission; 2009. p. 126-237.  Back to cited text no. 17
18.Speizer IS. Intimate partner violence attitudes and experience among women and men in Uganda. J Interpers Violence 2010;25:1224-41.  Back to cited text no. 18
19.Okereke GO. Incidence of physical spouse abuse in Nigeria: A pilot study. J Title Inst Afr Stud Res Rev 2002;18:39-51.  Back to cited text no. 19
20.Mapayi B, Roger M, Fatusi A, Afolabi O. Socio-demographic factors associated with intimate partner violence in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. African Journals Online 2011;9:3466-78.  Back to cited text no. 20
21.Antai D. Traumatic physical health consequences of intimate partner violence against women: What is the role of community-level factors? BMC Womens Health 2011;11:56.  Back to cited text no. 21
22.Pallitto CC, Campbell JC, O'Campo P. Is intimate partner violence associated with unintended pregnancy? A review of the literature. Trauma Violence Abuse 2005;6:217-35.  Back to cited text no. 22
23.McFarlane J. Pregnancy following partner rape: What we know and what we need to know. Trauma Violence Abuse 2007;8:127-34.  Back to cited text no. 23


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]

This article has been cited by
1 Experience of intimate partner violence among female health workers in South East Nigeria
Chinyere Mirian Aguocha,Chukwuma B Duru,Robinson C Onoh,Emmanuel Omamurhomu Olose,Monday Nwite Igwe,Kennedy Uzoma Amadi,Julia Nonyerem Ogwunga
Mental Health, Religion & Culture. 2018; : 1
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Psychometric properties of beliefs about relationship violence against women and gender stereotypes scale
Sunday B. Fakunmoju,Funmi O. Bammeke,Felicia A. D. Oyekanmi,Segun Temilola,Bukola George
Journal of Psychology in Africa. 2016; 26(3): 246
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
    Materials and Me...
    Article Figures
    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded279    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 2    

Recommend this journal