This paper, published in the International Journal of Gender and Women’s Studies, examines the role of religious approaches in preventing sexual and gender based violence in Nigeria. It begins by clarifying certain key concepts concerning these religious approaches, as well as the forms of gender violence and sexual abuse studied. The methodology of the study is presented, with the authors utilising an inter-disciplinary method in gathering information. The paper provides a comprehensive review of the nature and extent of gender violence and sexual abuses in Nigeria, and discusses the possible strategies religion can adopt so as to contribute more substantially and effectively to the prevention of gender violence and sexual abuse in Nigeria.
The findings from the research revealed that sexual abuse and gender violence is endemic in Nigerian society, reflecting a problem that is felt across the world. Causes identified include harmful gender norms, learned abusive behaviours, and low self-esteem and economic insecurities manifesting in violence. While men can be and are victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, the number of women victims is higher. Religions are urged to utilise traditional moral values, communication, and dialogue to promote a culture of love and respect, and emphasise the universal rights and equality of being inherent in both man and woman being created in God’s image. Additionally, the paper recommends that as part of a policy mix, the government should formulate and introduce policies that would both legislate against sexual harassment and gender violence, as well as empower women to participate actively in the formulation of further policies and governance in Nigeria.