Drinking, Violence Against Women and the Reproduction of Masculinity in Oron, Nigeria
Violence against women is recognized as a violation of human rights and a threat to the achievement of gender equality and development globally. Following suggested link between alcohol use and violence in previous studies, this study investigates the role of alcohol use and violence in the reproduction of masculinity. Qualitative data from in-depth individual and group interviews with 413 men in 6 villages in Oron, Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria was used. The data reveals that men use violence in various ways towards their spouses to curb attempts to spurn traditional gender roles. Underlying most of the incidences of male violence is heavy use of alcohol, which is a potent cultural symbol of masculinity. Heavy drinking is common in these communities and its role in the incidence of violence against women is established by the accounts of participants. The rationalization of male violence with reference to the use of alcohol makes it clear that both practices are mutually implicated in the reproduction of local images of masculinity. Policy on alcohol problems and gender-based violence needs to recognize the metonymic significance of drinking and violence in the definition of manhood.
Key Words: Alcohol; Masculinity; Violence against Women; Nigeria