What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault, or sexual abuse, represents a physical attack by the abuser that is accompanied by sexual violence when a woman is forced to have sexual intercourse with her abuser or take part in unwanted sexual activity.

How common is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault continues to represent the most rapidly growing violent crime in Nigeria, claiming a victim every 2 minutes. A lot of women are victims of rape, attempted rapes, and sexual assaults.

Are there any patterns about which women get raped or abused?

Young, unmarried, separated or divorced women are the most frequent victims of rape and attempted rape. What is domestic violence (intimate partner violence)? Domestic violence, sometimes referred to as intimate partner violence, encompasses all acts of violence against women within the context of family or intimate relationships. It is an issue of increasing concern because it has a negative effect on all family members, especially children. Domestic violence is not confined to any one socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, racial, or age group. It is the leading cause of injury to women in the Nigeria, where they are more likely to be assaulted, injured, raped or killed by a male partner than by any other type of assailant. Accurate information on the extent of domestic violence is difficult to obtain because of extensive under reporting. However, it is estimated that as many as ten million instances of domestic abuse against women occur annually in the Nigeria. About one-fourth of all hospital emergency room visits by women result from domestic assaults.

What counts as domestic violence or abuse?

Domestic violence may be any one or combination of the following.
  • Physical abuse is usually recurrent and escalates in both frequency and severity. Although most assaults on women do not result in death, they do result in physical injury and severe emotional distress. Physical injuries are the most tangible manifestations of domestic violence, yet they are frequently not reported by women and go unrecognized by the professionals who are mandated to intervene.

  • Psychological abuse of women is underestimated, trivialized, and at times difficult to define. Psychological abuse has been reported by abused women to be as damaging as physical battering because of its impact on the self-image of the victim. It often precedes or accompanies physical abuse, but it may occur by itself.

  • Sexual assault consists of a range of behaviours that may include pressured sex when the victim does not desire sex, coerced sex by manipulation or threat, physically forced sex, or sexual assault accompanied by violence. Victims may be forced or coerced to perform a type of sex they do not desire, or at a time they do not want it. For some battered victims this sexual violation is profound and difficult to discuss.

  • Emotional abuse represents a method of control that may consist of verbal attacks and humiliations, including repeated verbal attacks against the victim's worth as an individual or role as a parent, family member, co-worker, friend, or community member. The verbal attacks often emphasize the victim's vulnerabilities.

  • Isolation occurs when perpetrators try to control victims' time, activities, and contact with others. Perpetrators may accomplish this through interfering with supportive relationships, creating barriers to normal activities, such as taking away the car keys or locking the victim in the home, and lying or distorting what is real to gain psychological control. Economic abuse is when perpetrators control access to the all of the victims' resources, such as time, transportation, food, clothing, shelter, insurance, and money. He may interfere with her ability to become self-sufficient, and insist that he control all of the finances. When the victim leaves the violent relationship, the perpetrator may use economics as a way to maintain control or force her to return.

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