n Gender and Behaviour - Experience of childhood violence and help-seeking behaviour of students exposed to dating violence at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife

Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1596-9231



Dating violence is a common occurrence with estimate of prevalence ranging from 28-96% (Johnson-Reids and Bimes 1999). The aim of the present study is to evaluate the prevalence of dating violence, experience of childhood violence and help seeking behaviour of university students exposed to dating violence in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. The study utilized a cross sectional survey design with a total of 400 students selected using a multistage, stratified, systematic sampling technique completed the Socio-demographic Data Schedule and the Conflict Tactic Scale. Univariate analysis was used to determine the prevalence of dating violence, exposure to childhood physical and sexual abuse and help seeking behavior and these were expressed in percentages. Association at bivariate level was assessed using chi-square. A p value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant in all cases. The age of the respondents ranged between 18 and 35 years (M=21.44, SD =2.99) with a median age of 21 years. In roughly one third (32.3%) of the cases, sexual intercourse was a part of the relationship. The prevalence of dating violence in the previous twelve months was 34%. One in three of the respondents (30.1%) had witnessed physical violence in their home of origin while about one in ten (13.3%) had history of childhood sexual abuse. One hundred and thirteen respondents (93%) did not report their experience of violence to anyone and only one respondent reported to the police. Of the respondents who experienced dating violence, more had witnessed physical violence in their homes of origin and the difference was statistically significant (x2 =6.80, df =1, p= < 0.01). Also, of those who experienced violence in their relationships, more had a history of sexual abuse in childhood (x2 =3.53, df =1, p= < 0.06). Sexual intercourse being a part of the relationship was associated with a statistically significant increase (x2 =22.29, df =1, p= < 0.001) in violence. The magnitude of dating violence found in this study is slightly higher, though comparable to those found in other countries of the world. Students in relationships where violence takes place rarely told anyone and when they did, they were likely to be friends and colleagues rather than parents or authority figures, most did not make use of the legal support systems and this may have implications for effective intervention strategies in our environment.

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