chapter  8
Religion, culture, and family violence among the Yoruba of Nigeria
WithEnoch Olujide Gbadegesin, Elizabeth Ayoola Adeyemi-Adejolu
Pages 18

In this chapter, we shall adopt a socio-anthropological method to argue that religion and culture need to be transformed before transforming violent behavior in the family and in society. This is the case for the simple reason that religion and culture have always influenced a majority of people in the way they interpret and organize their worlds. One area where religion and culture play a crucial role is the family. Pondering the problems and perils of Nigerian families, especially the Yorùbá ethnic group, one cannot help but notice the high rate of divorce and precarious marriage foundations. Alarmingly, too, the number of single parents is on the rise in a society that once claimed to enjoy family bonding. Of a more serious concern are the high rates of domestic violence, spousal abuse, and child abuse in this same Yorùbá group in recent times. There are instances of religions sanctioning and even abetting gender-based violence (GBV), to such a degree that people aware of these abuses have advocated for a society liberated from the burden of religion. In this chapter, the authors examine the role of religion and culture in how the family is constituted. Drawing on empirical data and a literature review, we critically analyze the role that religion and culture play in either promoting or reducing domestic violence. The chapter concludes by suggesting ways GBV could be reduced or totally eradicated. We argue for a reexamination of religious and cultural values among the Yorùbá of Southwestern Nigeria.