This present study assessed the effects of controlling behavior by husband/partner control on the risk of intimate partner physical and sexual violence. Findings stress the need to adopt a multidimensional approach to interventions for IPV. Controlling behavior, physical violence and sexual violence against women by husband/partner are largely prevalent in Nigeria, with 13% of the women having reported being exposed to at least one form of physical violence, significantly less than that experienced by women in Turkey (31.3%) , older women in the United States (21.9%) , and consistent with previous cross-sectional studies in Vietnam (13%) . 63% of the women reported being exposed to at least one form of controlling behavior by their husband/partner, and 3% of the women reported being exposed to at least one form of sexual violence in their lifetime.
Controlling behavior by husband/partner was strongly associated with both physical and sexual IPV, consistent with study findings from other regions [[7, 11, 32]], and is a reflection of the increased vulnerability to abuse by women resident in societies that validate male-dominated family structure and social order and encourage men to exercise control over women. This finding is in support of the feminist theory , and is also in favor of the hypothesis that controlling behavior is associated with increased likelihood of violence, most likely acting as precursor to violence. However, other factors may be needed to adequately explain this level of violence. Of particular interest also in this study is the variation in the strength of the effects of controlling behavior between physical and sexual violent acts. Husband/partner controlling behavior was associated with three-fold and four-fold higher likelihood of physical and sexual violence, respectively, after adjusting for potential confounders.
Women's justification of traditional societal norms of wife beating by a husband/partner was a strong correlating factor for physical and sexual IPV; consistent with another other study . This is largely regarded as a consequence of societal and cultural factors that permit a man to inflict physical punishment on his wife/partner and the women's acceptance of such violent acts. This level of societal response to partner violence may influence controlling behavior abuse and consequently the likelihood of physical violence , and sexual IPV, and is in support of the feminist theory. Decision-making autonomy was associated with reduced likelihood of both physical and sexual IPV, consistent with findings from other studies , and contrary to other others . This finding provides support for the social exchange theory, and could be based on the premise that a woman's higher status within the household act as protective factors and afford her the ability to resist controls over her life or resist the denial of her rights , thereby lessening her vulnerability to abuse if the husband/ partner, as reported in another study .
This study also provides evidence of relationship inequalities (women earning more than their spouse) being a strong correlating factor for physical violence, and an even stronger correlating factor for sexual violence, consistent with another study , thereby providing support for the resource perspectives. Women who neither posses enough economic resources to leave their intimate relationship nor are less able to negotiate change are economically dependent on their husband/partner, making them subject to increased controlling behavior and higher risk of physical violence, as previously shown .
Working as agricultural self-employed/agricultural employee/household & domestic/ unskilled manual workers was a strong risk factor for physical violence among the women, consistent with other studies indicating increased risk of physical IPV for women in lower socioeconomic occupations . This may be connected with the fact that within the Nigerian social context, having to combine such physically demanding jobs with domestic responsibilities may not entitle such women the option to redistribution of their domestic responsibilities. The resulting increased tensions within the relationship due to neglected domestic duties, increases the use of controlling behavior and the women's risk of experiencing IPV; similar comments having been raised in another study . Residence in rural areas was a risk factor for physical IPV, consistent with another study , and in contrasts to findings others . This may be as a result of rural populations adapting more traditional gender roles than in urban areas, which tends to create environments in which violence in intimate relationships is considered to be more socially acceptable, as recently shown . In addition, poverty tends to be more common in rural areas than in urban or suburban areas; it greatly contributes to family and relationship stress, limits victims' ability to leave abusive intimate partner relationships and increases the vulnerability of the women to physical violence . Other characteristics of rural areas, such as geographic and social isolation, may also increase risks of violence for rural women, and decrease the opportunity for those women who experience violence to seek the resources they need.
Results of the logistic regression analysis were expressed as relative risks (RRs) because relative risks and odds ratios are essentially equivalent under certain circumstances. The rare disease assumption i.e. when the probability of an event is low, is one such circumstance. The benchmark commonly used being less than 10% [44, 45]. In this study, the lifetime prevalence of controlling behavior by their husband/male partner was high (63%), the lifetime prevalence of physical, and sexual violence were 15% and 3%, respectively.
Strengths and limitations
The large numbers of respondents, the survey being nationally-representative and enabling the generalization of the results across the country, variables in the DHS surveys being defined similarly across countries making results comparable across countries are major strengths of this study. The limitations of this study include its use of single types of abuse in isolation from the others, which does not control for co-occurrence with other types of violence and its significance for understanding the effects of abuse on victims. The cross-sectional nature of the data makes it difficult to determine causal inference; for instance, it was not possible to determine whether women's justification of wife beating by a husband/partner was influenced by personal experiences of IPV or form traditional norms alone. Finally, the women's report of their husband/partner's use of control tactics may be subject to exaggeration. However, this is considered to be fairly accurate estimates .
This study provided evidence that in countries such as Nigeria in which intimate partner violence is widely accepted in response to women's transgression of traditional gender norms, power within intimate relationships is multidimensional, relative, dependent on the social and cultural contexts, and involves some level of inequity in the distribution of resources. This author believes like others , that increasing women's economic resources empower them to bargain for a better situation for them or to leave, therefore, reducing their risk of IPV. Examples of economic interventions, such as microcredit programmer, economic livelihoods, and conditional cash transfers (CCTs), have the potential to enhance decision-making abilities and even reduce IPV , through empowerment, as well as address the structural pathways resulting from women's experience of poverty. Another important step toward eliminating this practice is for societies to create social environments that are intolerant towards IPV that would both make it more difficult for perpetrators to persist in their violent behavior and make it less difficult for women to report acts of intimate partner violence .