A feminist-intersectional analysis of sexual violence experienced by Nigerian women who are living in England

View author details View Less
  • 1 University of Central Lancashire, , UK
  • | 2 Manchester Metropolitan University, , UK
Restricted access
Get eTOC alerts
Rights and permissions Cite this article

There is a growing body of work on violence against women of black and minority ethnic (BME) origin who live in the UK. This study adds to this body of work by exploring the nature of sexual violence experienced by Nigerian women both in Nigeria and England. It draws upon in-depth narrative interviews conducted with 12 women of Nigerian origin who had experienced sexual violence. Women’s accounts were analysed thematically. The women described experiencing different, sometimes multiple forms of sexual violence over the life course including, sexual abuse and female genital mutilation (FGM) in childhood, sexual assaults, rape, sex trafficking and sexual violence from an intimate partner. Drawing upon a feminist-intersectional theoretical framework this article illuminates how: (1) the intersection of age, gender, poverty, cultural socialisation and religious practice could provide the conditions for the perpetration of child sexual abuse, (2) patriarchal ideologies relating to gendered roles and expectations support men’s notion of uncontested sexual access to women, (3) men’s need to exercise power and control could contribute to women’s experiences of rape, and (4) the intersection of FGM and gender continue to disempower women within heterosexual relationships.

  • Adeniran, A., Fawole, A., Balogun, O., Ijaiya, M., Adesina, K. and Adeniran, P. (2015) Female genital mutilation/cutting: knowledge, practice and experiences of secondary schoolteachers in North Central Nigeria, South African Journal Of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 21(2): 3943. doi: 10.7196/sajog.1047

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ahmed, B., Reavey, P. and Majumdar, A. (2009) Constructions of ‘culture’ in accounts of South Asian women survivors of sexual violence, Feminism and Psychology, 19(1): 728, doi: 10.1177/0959353508098617.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ajayi, C.E., Chantler, K. and Radford, L. (2021) The role of cultural beliefs, norms, and practices in Nigerian women’s experiences of sexual abuse and violence, Violence Against Women, 28(2): 46586. doi: 10.1177/10778012211000134.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Anitha, S. (2008) Neither safety nor justice: the UK government response to domestic violence against immigrant women, Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 30: 189202. doi: 10.1080/09649060802550592

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Anitha, S. (2019) Understanding economic abuse through an intersectional lens: financial abuse, control, and exploitation of women’s productive and reproductive labour, Violence Against Women, 25(3): 185477, doi: 10.1177/1077801218824050.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Antai, D. (2011) Controlling behavior, power relations within intimate relationships and intimate partner physical and sexual violence against women in Nigeria, BMC Public Health, 11, article number 511: 111, doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-11-511.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ashimolowo, O.R. and Otufale, G.A. (2012) Assessment of domestic violence among women in Ogun state, Nigeria, Greener Journal of Social Sciences, 2(3): 10214, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313331006_Assessment_of_Domestic_Violence_among_Women_in_Ogun_State_Nigeria. doi: 10.15580/GJSS.2012.3.GJSS1223

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Batsleer, J., Burman, E., Chantler, K., McIntosh, S.H., Pantling, K., Smailes, S. and Warner, S. (2002) Domestic Violence and Minoritisation: Supporting Women to Independence, Manchester: Women’s Studies Research Centre, Manchester Metropolitan University.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology, Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2): 77101, doi: 10.1191/1478088706qp063oa.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brownmiller, S. (1975) Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, London: Secker and Warburg.

  • Cancoro de Matos, M. and McFeely, C. (2019) ‘I didn’t think this service was for people like us’: improving service response to BME survivors of sexual violence, Journal of Gender-Based Violence, 3(3): 33954, doi: 10.1332/239868019X15635389990998.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chantler, K., Baker, V., MacKenzie, M., McCarry, M. and Mirza, N. (2017) Understanding Forced Marriage in Scotland, Edinburgh: Scottish Government.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cho, S., Crenshaw, K. and McCall, L. (2013) Toward a field of intersectionality studies: theory, applications, and praxis, Signs, 38(4): 785810, doi: 10.1086/669608.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Clandinin, D. and Caine, V. (2008) Narrative inquiry, in L.M. Given (ed) The Sage Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp 54245.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Collins, P.H. (2000) Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment, 2nd edn, New York: Routledge.

  • Crenshaw, K. (1989) Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: a black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, Feminist theory and antiracist politics, in K.T. Bartlett and R. Kennedy (eds) Feminist Legal Theory Readings In Law And Gender, New York: Routledge, Chapter 4.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Crenshaw, K. (1993) Beyond racism and misogyny: Black feminism and 2 Live Crew. In: M.J. Matsuda, C.R. Lawrence, R. Delgado. and K.W. Crenshaw, eds. Words that wound: Critical race theory, assaultive speech, and the First Amendment. Boulder, CO: Westview Press (pp. 111132).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Curtis, S., Gesler, W., Smith, G. and Washburn, S. (2000) Approaches to sampling and case selection in qualitative research: examples in the geography of health, Social Science and Medicine, 50(7-8): 10011014. doi: 10.1016/S0277-9536(99)00350-0

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dobash, R.E. and Dobash, R.P. (1979) Violence Against Wives: A Case Against the Patriarchy, London: Open Books.

  • European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (2014) Violence Against Women: An EU-Wide Survey, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, http://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2014/vaw-surveymain-results.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Femi-Ajao, O.I. (2018) Intimate partner violence and abuse against Nigerian women resident in England, UK: a cross-sectional qualitative study, BMC Women’s Health, 18, article number 123: 113, doi: 10.1186/s12905-018-0610-4.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Finkelhor, D. (1984) Child Sexual Abuse: New Theory and Research, New York: Free Press.

  • Fontes, L.A. (2004) Ethics in violence against women research: the sensitive, the dangerous, and the overlooked, Ethics and Behaviour, 14(2): 14174, doi: 10.1207/s15327019eb1402_4.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Frye, M. (1983) The Politics of Reality, New York: Crossing Press.

  • Gangoli, G., Bates, L. and Hester, M. (2020) What does justice mean to black and minority ethnic (BME) victims/survivors of gender-based violence?, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 46(15): 311935, doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2019.1650010.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gangoli, G., Razak, A. and McCarry, M. (2006) Forced Marriage and Domestic Violence Among South Asian Communities in the North East of England, Bristol: University of Bristol and Northern Rock Foundation.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gill, A. (2004) Voicing the silent fear: South Asian women’s experiences of domestic violence, Howard J Criminal Justice, 43(5): 46583, doi: 10.1111/j.1468–2311.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gill, A. and Harrison, K. (2019) ‘I am talking about it because I want to stop it’: child sexual abuse and sexual violence against women in British South Asian communities, British Journal of Criminology, 59(3): 51129, doi: 10.1093/bjc/azy059.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Harne, L. and Radford, J. (2008) Tackling Domestic Violence: Theories, Policies and Practice: Theories, Policies and Practice, Maidenhead: McGraw-hill Education.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hartmann, H. (1979) Capitalism, patriarchy and job segregation by sex, in Z. Eisenstein (ed) Capitalist Patriarchy and the Case for Socialist Feminism, New York: Monthly Review Press, pp 20629.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hester, M., Chantler, K. and Gangoli, G. (2007) Forced Marriage: The Risk Factors and the Effect of Raising the Minimum Age for a Sponsor, and of Leave to Enter the UK as a Spouse or Fiancé(e), Bristol: University of Bristol.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Home Office (2020) Statistics on so called ‘honour based’ abuse offences recorded by the police, 16 December, https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-on-so-called-honour-based-abuse-offences-england-and-wales-2019-to-2020/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • hooks, b. (1997) From bone black: memories of girlhood, Critical Quarterly, 39(3): 8083. doi: 10.1111/1467-8705.00110

  • Hunnicutt, G. (2009) Varieties of patriarchy and violence against women: resurrecting ‘patriarchy’ as a theoretical tool, Violence Against Women, 15(5): 55373, doi: 10.1177/1077801208331246.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jasinski, J.L. (2001) Theoretical explanations for violence against women, in C.M. Renzetti, J.L. Edleson and R.K. Bergen (eds) Sourcebook on Violence Against Women, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp 521.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kalunta-Crumpton, A. (2017) Attitudes and solutions toward intimate partner violence: immigrant Nigerian women speak, Criminology and Criminal Justice: An International Journal, 17(1): 321, doi: 10.1177/1748895816655842.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kanyeredzi, A. (2018) Race, Culture and Gender: Black Female Experiences of Violence and Abuse, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Kelly, L. (1988) Surviving Sexual Violence, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

  • Kunnuji, M.N. (2015) Experience of domestic violence and acceptance of intimate partner violence among out-of-school adolescent girls in Iwaya community, Lagos State, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 30(4): 54364. doi: 10.1177/0886260514535261

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lincoln, Y.S. and Guba, E.G. (1985) Naturalistic Inquiry, Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

  • Mama, A. (1989) Violence against black women: gender, race and state response, Feminist Review, 32: 3048, doi: 10.1057/fr.1989.18.

  • Millet, K. (2000) Sexual Politics, Urbana and Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press.

  • ONS (Office for National Statistics) (2020) Domestic abuse prevalence and trends, England and Wales: year ending March 2020, 25 November, https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/articles/domesticabuseprevalenceandtrendsenglandandwales/yearendingmarch2020.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Oyediran, K.A. and Isiugo-Abanihe, U. (2005) Perceptions of Nigerian women on domestic violence: evidence from 2003 Nigeria demographic and health survey, African Journal of Reproductive Health, 9(2): 3853, https://www.jstor.org/stable/3583461?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents. doi: 10.2307/3583461

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pokharel, B., Hegadoren, K. and Papathanassoglou, E. (2020) Factors influencing silencing of women who experience intimate partner violence: an integrative review, Aggression and Violent Behavior, 52: 19, doi: 10.1016/j.avb.2020.101422.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Riessman, C.K. (2008) Narrative methods for the human sciences. London: Sage.

  • Squire, C. (2008) Approaches to Narrative Research. ESRC National Centre for Research Methods Review Paper. NCRM 009. https://eprints.ncrm.ac.uk/id/eprint/419/1/MethodsReviewPaperNCRM-009.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thiara, R.K. and Gill, A.K. (2012) Domestic Violence, Child Contact and Post Separation Violence Issues for South Asian and African-Caribbean Women and Children: A Report of Findings, London: NSPCC.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thiara, R.K. and Roy, S. (2010) Vital Statistics: The Experiences of Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee Women and Children Facing Violence and Abuse, London: Imkaan.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thiara, R.K., Roy, S. and Ng, P. (2015) Between the Lines: Service Responses to Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Women and Girls Experiencing Sexual Violence, London: Imkaan and University of Warwick.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • World Bank Group (2019) Gender-based Violence: An Analysis of the Implications for the Nigeria For Women Project, Washington, DC: World Bank.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WHO (World Health Organisation) (2002) World Report on Violence and Health, Geneva: WHO, https://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/world_report/chapters/en/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WHO (World Health Organisation) (2020) Female genital mutilation, 3rd February, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/female-genital-mutilation.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WHO (World Health Organisation) (2021) Violence against women: key facts, 9 March, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-women.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 1 University of Central Lancashire, , UK
  • | 2 Manchester Metropolitan University, , UK

Content Metrics

May 2022 onwards Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 17 17 17
PDF Downloads 15 15 15

Altmetrics

Dimensions