The spate of domestic violence reported (as thousands would go unreported) since the beginning of the year has been alarming! There has been a prevalence of child and spousal abuse and violence
resulting in some being badly maimed while others are outrightly fatal. Everyday we wake up to terrifying headlines that leaves you not only thunderstruck but completely distraught and agitated. Headlines such as these to mention a few screams at us everyday:
• Six months pregnant woman brutally battered by husband.
• Man Stabbed to Death by HisWife Just After Their Wedding
• Husband Baths His Wife with Acid
• Barren Woman Attacked and Bathed Her Husband With Acid
• Woman Killed and Dumped Her 4-Year-Old Daughter Inside Well
• Woman Battered and Inflicted with A Deep Cut by Her Husband In
• Man Who Beat WifeWith Bat Jailed as New Evidence Comes to
• Man Beats Wife to Death for Ignoring His Phone Callls
• Woman Arrested for Beating Herr Huband Because He Farts While
• Man Kidnaps Former Girlfriend, Tortures, Breaks Her Bones
These are a few actual News Headlines culled from various sources of true-life cases in 2016 alone! Clearly, domestic abuse and violence is on the rise.
Child abuse, sexual and domestic violence are among the most
destructive experiences afflicting women and children. The wide
prevalence of such violence takes an enormous toll on the lives of
individual victims as well as the larger society, through innumerable
behavioral, health, psychological, and economic consequences.
Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic
proportions. At least one out of every three women around the
world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in
her lifetime with the abuser usually someone known to her
Abuse and violence against women in our society is deeply embedded in culture and tradition because of our patriarchal structure which stipulates that the husband is the HEAD and “owns” the woman and he could do with her whatsoever he deems fit. The
woman on the other hand is suppose to be submissive to the man and accepts whatever is meted out to her in the marriage- abuse inclusive!
Amnesty International (AI) has identified this patriarchal system as a major factor for violation of women’s right. Hence, domestic violence in many states of Nigeria is not illegal and victims are not
entitled to legal support. As a matter of fact, for fear of being labeled and stigmatized, many women have chosen to stay in a violent marriage and some end up losing their lives and leaving their children to suffer. Clearly this is not an issue to be treated with kid’s gloves. Though it has become such a run-of-the- mill occurrence that has been overlooked, we need to give it the necessary attention it
Family and friends would not want to interfere so that they are not seen as trying to meddle in “somebody’s marriage”. As a matter of fact there is a popular believe in our society that “You don’t intervene in the fight between husband and wife because when they settle you will become the enemy”. 90% of Nigerian hold fast to this saying and as a result they have unwittingly aided and abetted
domestic violence and perhaps, the death of many!
A woman said she went to the police on different occasions for help with her scars and bruises still looking fresh and without any pity they will told her that should go home, that the police station is not for domestic issues. When she was hesitant to leave and she continue to plead that they should please do something about her
situation…they retorted, “no wonder them dey beat you…you are stubborn. I say go and you still dey here!” That is a policeman that should protect her from harm as a citizen of this nation! It is for this reason Amnesty International in its report; ‘Nigeria: Unheard voices
– violence against women in the family’, blames the Nigerian government for the unprecedented number of domestic violence cases, adding that government was not doing anything to stem the tide of violence and was even condoning it in some cases.
Country Reports 2013 states that some federal laws allow gender-
based violence, such as permitting husbands to “use physical means to chastise their wives, as long as it does not result in ‘grievous harm,’ which is defined as loss of sight, hearing, speech, facial
disfigurement or life-threatening injuries” Under Section 55 of the Penal Code (applicable in northern Nigeria), men may engage in wife battery as long as it does not result in “excessive bodily injury.”. The question is, who determines what is excessive?
As a result of the fact that Physical Abuse or Violence against women in the home is generally regarded as a family or private affair in Nigeria and shielded from public scrutiny, many battered women will
never come out to say what they are going through in their homes. This act of suffering in silence has now resulted in many women trying to take their destinies in their hands and fight back. And trust me, when a woman decides to fight back, it is always fatal. This is the reason why we now have men being killed or bath in acid by their wives.
Now that Domestic Violence has taken the survival of the fittest, where do we go from here? Will the authorities now take this as seriously as it is done in the Western World or will they just sit and watch its citizens die everyday of abuse in the home? What can we as individuals do so stop this trend? It is someone else todait could be your daughter or sister tomorrow. Are you a victim? What help is available to you? It is abundantly apparent that the society at large has contributed to its prevalence and we all have a role and responsibility to curb it.
Source: The Nigerian Voice (opinions)