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Comparison of domestic violence against women in urban versus rural areas of southeast Nigeria

Authors Ajah L, Iyoke CA, Nkwo PO, Nwakoby B, Ezeonu P

Received 7 July 2014

Accepted for publication 13 August 2014

Published 8 October 2014 Volume 2014:6 Pages 865—872


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer

Leonard Ogbonna Ajah,1,2 Chukwuemeka Anthony Iyoke,1 Peter Onubiwe Nkwo,1 Boniface Nwakoby,3 Paul Ezeonu2

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria; 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria; 3Department of Community Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu, Nigeria

Background: The perception and prevalence of domestic violence (DV) in rural areas is poorly understood; the result is that most efforts at eradicating this harmful practice are concentrated in urban areas. The objective of the study was to compare the burden and perception of DV among women living in rural and urban Igbo communities of southeast Nigeria.
Methods: This was a comparative, cross-sectional study of women residing in rural and urban communities in Enugu, Nigeria, who had gathered for an annual religious meeting from August 1–7, 2011. Data analysis involved descriptive and inferential statistics and was conducted with the Statistical Package for Social Sciences, software version 17.0, at a 95% level of confidence.
Results: A total of 836 women who met the eligibility criteria participated in the survey. Of these, 376 were from Okpanku, a rural community, while 460 were from Ogui Nike, an urban community. The prevalence of DV among rural women was significantly higher than that among urban women (97% versus 81%, P<0.001). In particular, the prevalence of physical violence was significantly higher among rural women than among urban women (37.2% versus 23.5%; P=0.05). In contrast, rural and urban women did not differ significantly in the proportions that had experienced psychological or sexual violence. The proportion of women who believed that DV was excusable was significantly higher among rural dwellers than among urban dwellers (58.5% versus 29.6%; P=0.03).
Conclusion: The burden of DV against women may be higher in rural communities than in urban communities in southeast Nigeria. More rural women perceived DV as excusable; this finding suggests that factors that sustain DV could be strong in rural areas. A comprehensive program to curb DV in this area may need to significantly involve the rural areas.

Keywords: prevalence, perception, domestic violence, rural, urban

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