Nigeria – Unheard Voices – Violence Against Women in the Family

In this report Amnesty International calls for the authorities to monitor violence against women in the home, to ban it in law and repeal laws that allow it to flourish, to end discrimination against women in the criminal justice system, and to take positive measures to challenge social prejudices against women. This report relies on Amnesty International's own research, including during visits to Lagos State in March and November 2004, and on work done with Nigerian NGOs. It discusses issues of domestic violence, martial rape, forced marriage, and ‘acid baths’, and speaks to the issue of ‘justifying’ such violence in terms of a woman’s socially unacceptable conduct – i.e. “she brought this on herself”. This report also addresses widowhood rites in the context of some customary law systems that prescribe that a widow is ‘inherited’ by a male relative of the former husband. It also points to the unfortunate reality that there are no official statistics or mechanisms in place to record the prevalence of violence against women in the family in Nigeria due to the widespread tolerance of such violence.

Amnesty International