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PROJECT TOPIC: ECONOMIC AND SEXUAL CHALLENGES OF WIDOWHOOD AS EXPRESSED BY YOUNG WIDOWS IN ILORIN METROPOLIS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

            When a man and a woman are joined together in marriage, they are referred to as couple or husband and wife. The new home formed is expected to be a life long union, where the couple reason together and work together to meet the physiological, sociological, economical and spiritual needs of their family. Death, like a devastating fire, destabilized this union. Aziken (2012) explained that the death of a spouse is the most emotionally devastating experiences that an individual can undergo. Thus, it is accompanied by grief, Briggs (2005) stated that death breaks the social ties between spouses and makes the survivor feel incomplete like “a fraction of a whole” thereby making him or her a single parents to handle the needs of the family alone. If the survivor is a woman, she is faced with, role conflict or inability to discipline the children, denial of sexual relationship, severe grief and persisting distress.

            According to Bennett, Smith and Hughes (2005), widowhood is extremely stressful, it is capable of destabilizing the person involved and yet, it is a common occurrence among middle aged women. Widowhood refers to a condition in which an individual looses his/her spouse. Loss of spouse is one of the most negative life events, next only to the loss of a child (Bennett, et al, 2005). Widowhood is defined as the status of an individual who was legally married to someone who subsequently died. Widowhood as a practice is not associated with a specific race or nation; it is a general phenomenon applicable to a woman or man whose spouse has died, especially when he/she has not re-married (Bennett, et al, 2005).

            A widow is a woman who has lost her husband through death and usually she feels an ominous ring of finality and heartrending grief which is almost incomparable in any other type (Uche, 2015). A widow is described as a woman who survives her husband and have not remarried (Oniye, 2007; Dodo, 2010).  Automatically, the death of a spouse will result in loss of income and property that the deceased spouse received or owned, unless provisions for their continuation and inheritance is made explicit in income programme rules, laws of inheritance, or through the deceased spouse's will (Adebowale, 2015). Cultural practice has worsened the situation for the widows unlike the widowers who are pitied and freed while the widows face opposition. Widows on the other hand are exposed to indiscriminate abuses in all aspects of their lives, and they bear the scars of their stigmatization in a


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