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Examining the contestation between domestic violence legislation and the socio-cultural norms of the Oyo community in Nigeria.

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Domestic violence is a pervasive issue that occurs globally in various cultures and traditions regardless of victims’ social, economic, religious, ethnic or racial background. Women are being beaten, sexually coerced and abused. And the existence of strong patriarchal values, encourages males to become sexually, physically and psychologically abusive toward their female partners. In Nigeria, domestic violence affects women in all communities, of every ethnic, classes, religious and socioeconomic groups, living in both rural and urban areas. However, this study found that the prevalence of domestic violence is mostly pervasive in the Oyo community because it is a male-centered community, with diverse traditional and cultural beliefs and practices, as well as a rigid customary legal framework that supports male domination and discrimination against women in the form of male-child preference syndrome, levirate marriage, primogeniture, and widowhood rites, which have become the norm in their daily activities. Despite Nigeria is party to several international as well as domestic human treaties which aimed at addressing and protecting the rights of women and girls, to be free from domestic violence. In addition, the Oyo State House of Assembly enacted the provision of laws that prohibit and protect against gender-based violence and other related matters in public and private life in 2013 and 2016, of which protection of women from domestic violence and harmful traditional practices received a mention. The study revealed how Oyo community’s socio-cultural norms affect the implementation of legislation on domestic violence in the community, by examining how the numerous traditional and socio-cultural beliefs and practices of the Oyo community towards domestic violence is a hindrance to the implementation of the legislation on domestic violence in the community to curb domestic acts of violence. Nego-feminism and Legal feminism theories were employed as the theoretical lenses that guided the study. Nego-feminism was used to know how to utilize the culture of negotiation for the deconstruction of patriarchy in the Oyo community for the benefit of women. While the legal feminism theory was used to explain the issue of gender inequality, by critiquing and changing laws on behalf of, and from the perspective of women towards challenging gender subordination and condemning other patterns of injustice, specifically patriarchy, for the liberation of women. The study adopted qualitative content data analysis method. This was achieved through the review of YouTube videos of interview sessions with an Ifa priest and priestess on the mythology contained in Odu Ifa (literary corpus). The study also assessed legislature documents.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.