More than two thirds of Nigerian women are believed to experience physical, sexual, and psychological abuse at the hands of their husbands (Wolverhampton). Violence against women takes different forms including domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault, kidnapping, human trafficking, selective abortion, abandonment, female genital mutilation or killing act (Ikediugwu). This violence is associated with the patriarchal system that is in place. When a woman marries a man they are essentially surrendering to their husband. Unfortunately the system in place has led women to believe that a man is justified for beating his wife. 66.4%-50.4% of women expressed consent for wife beating (Oyediran). This abuse against women that is so common upon the Nigerian people is concerning for the health of women.
Reframing violence against women and trauma as health issues challenges our understanding of health, illness, and medicine. In the United States we believe in and use the biomedical model. This model focuses on healing the individual human being and not on healing an entire population as a whole. It also focuses on the chemical knowledge on the human body (lecture1.7). Unfortunately when someone is being physically, sexually, or psychologically abused there is not always chemical evidence. These incidences do indeed lead to long-term problems in the health of women. Some of the weaknesses of the biomedical model are conditions with multiple factors, chronic long-term conditions, and attention to environmental, political, economic, and social factors of health and disease (lecture 1.7). When looking at a patient in America we tend to do a lot of testing through science such as blood work, MRIs, CT scans, etc. If nothing appears to be wrong with the scientific test we deem the patient healthy and off they go. But, this is so wrong. Patients, specifically women patients who are being abused, need to be assessed using more than just science itself. This is a great example of the weakness of biomedicine. Abuse leads to health conditions that have multiple factors that can be chronic and long-term. Environmental, political, economic, and social factors must be assessed. Violence against women in Nigeria has much to do with the social factors that the doctors in the United States many times overlook. The reframing of violence against women in Nigeria would put abuse in a much different perspective in their patriarchal society. Not only would women rethink their justifications of violence but men would also have more of an understanding of the harm they are causing to women’s health.
Intergenerational trauma also challenges the biochemical, mechanical models of health. The trauma experienced by women who are abused may dispose individuals to further stressors and increase the response to these stressors (Link 4.1). For example, if the first generation has an adverse childhood experience it will eventually lead to poor parenting and the second generation will also experience an adverse childhood experience, turning into a vicious cycle. This vicious cycle that is created affects the health of not just one individual, but also many who are also apart of the individual’s life. Unfortunately biomedicine only takes into account one person and intergenerational trauma affects many people. Intergenerational trauma also has long-term affects that take a long time to heal in most cases. Without proper treatment we are setting up patients who experience intergenerational trauma for failure. These patients will continue to pass down this trauma from generation to generation if we do not make a change to our system in place. We must start taking social factors into account when diagnosing patients. This will make a difference in the lives of people experiencing trauma and abuse not just in America, but also all over the world. We are a leading example for other countries to follow and we can put a stop to intergenerational trauma if we adjust our system and fix our weaknesses that don’t take many factors of health into account. We must recognize our flaws and make a change to help women all around the world, not just in the United States and Nigeria.
Oyediran, Kolawole. “Perceptions of Nigerian Women on Domestic Violence: Evidence from 2003 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey.” JSTOR. August 2005. Accessed July 29, 2016. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3583461?Search=yes&resultItemClick=true&searchText=violate&searchText=and&searchText=batter&searchUri=/action/doBasicSearch?Query=violate+and+batter&prq=%28batter+wives%29+AND+jid%3A%28j100903%29&group=none&fc=off&wc=off&hp=25&so=rel&seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents.
Wolverhampton. “Nigeria.” The Haven Refuge. Accessed July 29, 2016. http://www.havenrefuge.org.uk/about-us/International-Work/nigeria.
Ikediugwu, Nkechi. “GENDER DIMENSION TO MANAGING AND PLANNING PEACE CULTURE AND PEACE EDUCATION IN NIGERIA.” NIGERIAN ASSOCIATION FOR EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND PLANNING, October 15, 2014. Accessed July 29, 2016. file:///Users/Taylor/Downloads/GENDER_DIMENSION_TO_MANAGING_AND_PLANNIN.pdf.