The issue of domestic violence can never be over flogged or over emphasized because it’s a social problem all over the world that takes place every day, hour, minute and second. Also, in any abusive relationship, even when those involve fail to recognise or see them, there are always Signs your partner is violent even before you got committed in it.
As I write this piece in the quiet and serene comfort of my home, I know somewhere in the world someone is being abused physically, emotionally or psychologically by the partner.
Intimate Abuse also known as Domestic Violence or Spousal Abuse, is the control of one partner by another. It is any pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship used by one (be it by a woman or a man) to gain control or maintain power over the other.
It can manifest in many forms such as physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions and threats of actions. Either some of us are experiencing it directly or we know one or two people who suffer from it.
As a social problem, it’s a two way phenomenon because it affects both the women and in few cases the men, even though in the cases of men, it’s hardly heard of as most people believe it’s only the women that are victims.
Yes, most of the victims of Domestic Violence are women and only a small percentage of men have been recorded as victims.
Even though I grew up in a fairly organized and moderately developed environment with neighbours who were also well educated and enlightened, I witnessed some of these academically exposed and enlightened people assaulting their spouses one way or the other at the slightest provocation. Once my childhood friend didn’t come to school after his parents got involved in a fight one early morning that saw the mother spending days in the hospital recovering from the injuries she sustained from the assault.
Also, a man who occupied a flat with his young family in the same government’s block of flats my family used to reside, was a well-known culprit when it comes to physically assaulting his spouse at the slightest opportunity. How that woman still survives today remains a miracle.
This particular man sent chill down to my spine just sighting him walking towards me. I hated greeting him. Moreover, even other married neighbours wondered his particular kind of breed. His kids who were younger than I were not left out from this abuse and I used to wonder if he actually loved them or was their real father. This was during my elementary and early High School years.
One thing that really got me thinking each time the man assaulted the wife was the fact that she always returned to the home after days of healing on the ground that she couldn’t leave the marriage because of the kids it had already produced.
Sometimes I wondered if the women enjoyed it because I saw no reason why I’d get physically assaulted by someone and still come back to live with the same person under the same roof, so unthinkable!
The Nigerian media reported a case in 2015 of a female medical doctor who died from injuries she sustained to her head during a physical altercation with her husband who is equally a medical doctor and both worked in the same government’s hospital here in Lagos. Colleagues in the hospital who knew her trauma in her marriage said she had been “managing the situation for years, secretly”.
Also, reports had it that she didn’t want anyone to interfere in her abusive marriage which led to her death.
Truth is, death is a painful way to end it all because the dead will never have the opportunity to narrate what happened.
There was the case of another lady sometime in October of 2015 whose husband pushed her down from the staircase of their home leading to her death even before she was taken to the hospital.
A male friend to the late wife tried talking her into leaving her abusive marriage, but he was branded as the evil one who wanted to ”crash the marriage’’. Each time she went to her parents after any altercation with her husband, the parents would tell her to go back and solve whatever the problem was with her spouse. Now, I wonder what would be going through the minds of her parents each time they think about it.
Nobody wishes to get involved with an abusive partner or get involved in an abusive relationship. But then again in my few years on earth, I’ve also seen many women and young ladies after escaping an abusive relationship and swearing to high heavens never to get involved in such relationship ever, find themselves becoming victims of abuse once again in their next relationship.
Most African societies including my country Nigeria, are yet to develop to that level where intimate or spousal abuse cases are treated as very serious crimes under the law.
Before now, in Nigeria, women who were victims of domestic violence (DV), lived with it and never reported it to the authorities. They would prefer to ‘’manage the situation and stay in their marriages’’ than making it public. The authorities on the other hand viewed it as a ‘’family affair’’ which should be settled by parties involved except it led to the deaths of the victims then a murder case would be initiated.
Though with the recent awareness, programs and campaigns embarked upon by some of the civil society organizations and with laws being made to protect victims of domestic violence (which are usually women and kids), so many cases are still swept under the carpet because we still lack the enforcement mechanism.
While It’s a thing worthy of commendation that some women who are victims of domestic violence have decided to make their voices known by throwing away the old and archaic traditional method of keeping mute, so many are still suffering in silence.
I was more than happy with the way some civil society organizations came in their numbers about a month ago to take up the case in defending the woman whose banker husband assaulted her and broke her two legs with a metal rod. The bank on the other hand quickly terminated his appointment with them and a court proceedings began.
While we await for the outcome of this trial, we hope the woman gets justice.
With the rise of the internet and activities of bloggers, I have also read some few cases of these abuses on some blogs about women who have come out to seek for help through agencies that specialize in fighting for such victims of abuse.
I will call this a welcome development on the part of these bold and courageous women compared to the situation of some few years back where these victims would decide to “manage the situation and die in silence”. Whenever I read this anywhere, I know within me that it’s only less than 5% of women who speak out and ask for help, but then it’s a welcome development in curbing this issue.
Also, there having been cases where the men were also victims. Example is the female lawyer who murdered her husband in the first quarter of 2016 in Oyo State, Western Nigeria.
CAUSES OF INTIMATE ABUSE- THE NIGERIAN SCENARIO.
- For me as a social writer, I am of the belief and will always say that, Intimate Abuse is a result of “BAD PARENTING”. Most violent men grew up watching their fathers abused their mothers emotionally, physically or psychologically, and in most cases, the three combined.
- They also saw their mothers forgave their fathers and make up excuses for their fathers beastly acts. Now, a child who sees all these in his formative years may start acting and he begins with physically assaulting the younger kids which of course with the weaker sex (the young girl child) around and in most cases, he begins with his younger sisters and other little girls in the neighborhood.
- Even when he is reported to his parents, they defend him by telling the female child that “don’t mind him, that’s how boys do”. Instead of curtailing him at that little age never to lay his fingers not just on any girl but even on others.
- The boy who wasn’t curtailed, grows up to be a man with the notion that you discipline a woman by physically manhandling her. And from how he saw his mother forgiving his father as a young boy, there is this notion and impression in him that she will never divorce him. Rather, she may apologize (even when the man is wrong) for the sake of ‘’peace’’ in the house and will never report him to the authorities- Purely African mentality!
- Finally, when some women are abused by their husbands, and they confide in their parents, mostly their mothers, nothing concrete is done to curtail the man, rather they are advised by their mothers” not to do things to upset him, Some will advise that the wife should pray for the husband, and that with time he will overcome the habit, that he is the man and the head of the house, so you have to obey him. If you leave your husband, no man will marry a divorcee”. Sadly to say, most mothers are like this.
ABUSIVE INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP: SIGNS YOUR PARTNER IS VIOLENT
Though most victims of domestic violence or spousal abuse would want to shield away from this truth that there were (are) always signs to indicate that their partners were/are violent. But they always turn a blind eye or deaf ears to that even when concerned family members, friends and colleagues try to bring to their notice of the dangers ahead even before committing into the relationship.
The possible signs you could be in relationship with a violent partner are:
- When your partner has no regard for your family or what they think
- Calls you names, insults you or puts you down.
- Has mood swings most of the times
- Prevents or discourages you from doing what you like.
- Prevents and discourages you from seeing your family members and friends.
- Acts jealousy and tries to control how you go out, spend your money, what dress to put on, who you talk to and in most cases forces you to put the phone on speaker when you receive or make a call around him.
- Extremely possessive and constantly accuses you of unfaithful.
- Gets angry when taking alcohol or using drugs
- Blames you for his/her violent actions and behavior and says you deserve it.
- The cruelty he/she exhibits extends to kids and even animals.
- Stalking the victim and monitoring every move their victims make, using the internet and/or other devices such as GPS tracking.
THE WAY FORWARD: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CIRCLE THAT NEEDS TO BE BROKEN
The society beginning from the parents have a role to play in raising their kids especially the male children. It starts by condemning their sons when they engage in physical altercations with age mates and playmates.
Fathers need to stop hitting their wives so their boys won’t see them and think, feel or embrace it as a normal thing and grow up into it.
The police need to do their jobs and uphold the law. Battery and assault are crimes under the law in any sane environment and they shouldn’t be swept under the rug because they are in a domestic setting.
Spousal battery is not a family affair but a societal disease that must be curbed by the authorities and not family members.
Even though it does not justify the actions of people (mostly the men) involved in this beastly act, I still believe that in some cases where domestic violence is involved, some women are to be blamed, reason being that most of them during courtships saw the traces in their then fiancés cum husbands, but ignored on the premise that when they settle down as couple, marriage will make them responsible.
Except by divine intervention, marriage hardly changes someone’s characters. A dog will always go back to its vomit
MY HONEST OPINION ON THIS
- I still don’t know what I find more appalling, the wife beater, or the wife who takes up excuses for him, the parents who condole such habits even when their daughters are involved and are at the receiving end, or the police who refuse to arrest a violent man.
Finally, that being said, yes, marriage is for better or for worse, but definitely not a do or die affair. No individual (especially women) deserves to be beaten blue black, emotionally or psychologically get assaulted in any form.
Any experience or addition? Kindly air your thoughts in the comment section.