Patriarchy, Cultural Prejudices and Spousal Violence in the Ancient City of Benin of Southern Nigeria
KeywordsPatriarchy; Cultural practices; Spousal Violence; Gender; Benin; Edo State; Nigeria
Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
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AbstractThis paper examines the persistence of patriarchy and traditional cultural practices which have adverse effects on women’s rights and health as well as the growing incidence of spousal violence in Benin City, arising from obvious internal and external factors of social changes. Extant literature has documented shifts in family roles and general social transformations in many first world nations as a result of modernization. Efforts to capture such changes within the African space is very minimal as of now. This paper attempts to explore the Benin society of Southern Nigeria, against the backdrop of the cascading effects of human trafficking and international migration that has largely impacted on the contemporary social structure of the ancient West African city. It addresses the nature of patriarchy in relation to Benin society, discusses some of the customs and traditions that have put women in positions of inferiority. This paper concludes that patriarchy, and other cultural prejudices have the potentialities of further deepening the incidences of spousal abuse and family disorganization if efforts are not made to abolish all harmful cultural practices and enforce the legal provisions which protect women’s rights and general well-being.