One of the most common and recognized forms of domestic violence is physical abuse. Although domestic violence is a crime according to the law in a lot of countries, cases of domestic violence are still very common. Physical domestic abuse, just like rape is a crime that is mostly committed against women, this is not to say that there no men who suffer from these crimes. For the purpose of this article, I’ll be focusing on Physical abuse against women.
A few days ago, a story about a woman who died from physical abuse was all over the media, not long after, there was surveillance footage of a basketball player hitting his fiancée repeatedly. Soon, there were various discussions concerning why some women decide to remain in abusive relationships/marriage. Of course there are various reasons for this, but most people seemed to agree on a particular reason which was ‘money’. According to a whole lot of people, the reason a lot of women find it difficult, or refuse to leave violent partners/ relationships is due to whatever material benefit they may be receiving from their partners, in terms of gifts, money etc., using the case of the basketball player and his girlfriend as a prime example. Quite a number of people are of the opinion that some women do not mind being physically abused when they are financially dependent on their partners, just the same way some females do not mind being cheated on by their partners (which is a form of emotional abuse), as long as he provides for them financially. While there were a few other reasons why people remain with violent partners, like the fear of having to raise the kids separately (in the case of marriage) and the fear of being alone, or concern about what other people will say.
Most of the discussions about the issues had to do with the victim, and the reaction of the victim who had already been abused, or the presumed selfish reason why they chose to stay, rather than focusing on the abuser, which is a similar pattern to how rape cases are viewed in our society (victimizing the victim). Of course, both the victims of rape and domestic abuse are naturally supposed to stay away from their abuser, but it should not be seen as the solution, because that only means the abuser is still free, getting ready to find another prey. It now becomes a thing to protecting yourself as a woman from abusive men, rather than having a society working together to achieve a safe environment by persecuting the abusers.
In other to address domestic violence the way it should be addressed, firstly, it is very important to understand why victims often remain in abusive relationships. There are various reasons for that, depending on the person abused, it is therefore necessary to try to understand the victim, instead of making hasty conclusions or assumptions. One of the reasons why some people stay with abusive partners, is that they often do not know they are being abused, or their abuser continuously guilt-trips them to believe that they are the problem. Physically abusive people are often usually manipulative and controlling, so breaking the spirit and self-esteem of their preys would not be such a difficult thing to do, thereby making the victims feel worthless without them (predators).
It is also noteworthy that not everyone going through domestic violence know they are being abused, just like we have a lot of people who do not know what emotional abuse is. Not everyone is enlightened about such matters, and even if they are, they are often faced with burden of ‘protecting the family name’ or for the sake of their children in the case of marriage. It is necessary to consider the fact that we live in a society that cherishes ‘successful marriage’ than even life and sanity itself. There are women who seek help concerning domestic violence from their close relatives, and are advised to try to avoid getting their husbands angry so as to avoid getting beat up, instead of helping them get professional help. We also have certain religions that do not approve of divorce under the grounds of domestic violence, instead, some religious leaders will rather advice victims to continue praying for their partners and hoping they’ll change.
Another very important reason why we still have victims of abuse is security. According to Domestic violence statistics, 75% of victims are killed by their abusive partners as they leave or attempt to leave the relationship. This shows clearly that ‘leaving the relationship’ is not the solution to domestic violence, as a huge number of the women who leave still end up dead.
This is not to justify the reasons for staying in abusive relationships, but to help relate with the victims. It is impossible to help someone without trying to understand them first. At this point, it is very clear that there needs to be more focus on the offenders as well as the casualties, because asking women to leave abusive partners without rendering any form of security does not only put them in the risk of getting killed, but also leaves other women exposed to the criminal who is still roaming around freely. Before ladies can be urged to leave unhealthy relationships, there should be already made secured environment, or better still, their abusers should be arrested and out of their reach, in order to ensure their security. Readily available organizations and help care centers should be made for people suffering from physical and emotional abuse. The Nigerian police force should be urged to take cases of domestic violence seriously, not just disposing them off as family issues. Friends and family members should also help victims even when they think they do not need any help. The safety of our society is in our hands, it is important for us to work towards it.
Thank you for reading. Please if you know any domestic violence help centers, please drop their numbers below. Don’t forget to like the article, share, comment and subscribe.