DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

We live in a country where rape victims get the blame because the society thinks a woman’s dressing is what attracts rapists while men cannot report rape because men cannot be raped according to the definition of rape in the Nigerian constitution. Child marriage is in fact appropriated in the Northern part of Nigeria, how much more domestic violence? The police will probably tell you not to bring family issues to their station.

Not a lot of people really do understand what Domestic violence is. It is a common belief among Nigerians that domestic violence is strictly sexual and physical abuse but it is not. Domestic violence can take any form such as physical, sexual, emotional and mental.  A lot of people already know what physical and sexual abuse is, so let’s skip to mental and emotional abuse.

Emotional and mental abuse is also known as psychological abuse. People get violated emotionally and physically without even knowing they are being violated because physical abuse is the only form of domestic violence a lot of people know about. Psychological abuse is a form of abuse, characterized by a person subjecting, or exposing, another person to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. It includes any act of intimidation, verbal assault, confinement, isolation or any other act that may diminish one’s sense of self identity,worth and dignity. Emotional and mental abuse do not only happen in marriages but also in parent-children relationships, friendships and so on. The common indicators of psychologically abusive relationships or partners include humiliating, ignoring, excluding, cheating, hypercriticism, lack of communication, seclusion, reduced affection, not showing compassion, never taking blames, having extramarital affairs and many more. Most times, emotional abusers never take the blame or apologize to their partners, they also always tend to control their partners finances and whereabouts. Unlike physical and sexual abuse which mostly happens to women, psychological abuse is inclined to both men and women and can cause as much trauma as physical abuse can. It may even cause the victim to be suicidal.

One can easily ask why victims of domestic violence don’t just leave their partners, but the truth is, women who experience domestic violence are not always safe from their husbands even after they leave the marriage. I saw a story about a woman who left her abusive husband but was later shot dead by the same man she left. 75% of the total domestic homicides get killed as they attempt to leave the relationship or after leaving the relationship [1]. So leaving the relationship is not as easy as it seems. While most of those who suffer psychological abuse do not even know they are being abused because they have been brainwashed by their abusers that they are the problem. Therefore, most of the people suffering from domestic violence might not be able to help themselves until other people intervene.

Firstly, the way the society addresses domestic violence needs to be checked. When a woman gets abused physically, she reports to her close relatives and instead of helping her seek help, they tell her it’s her fault for making him angry and then advises her on how to avoid her husband hitting her. Even when the so called advice doesn’t work, she is told to stay in the marriage for the sake of her children if she needs any. The plot twist at the end of the day is that she might not live long enough to take care of those children she loves so much due to domestic homicide caused by her partner. Nobody deserves to condone domestic violence, people shouldn’t be encouraged to stay in abusive marriage because at the end of the day, the reason for staying is not always worth it. No child would grow up watching one of his/her parent being continuously abused by the other parent and not be affected mentally or emotionally. Some women even stay in marriages like that because their religion forbids divorce, but please, when you have to choose between two bad, choose the lesser bad. In cases when the woman is sexually violated by her husband, the husband gets justified because sex is the husband’s right since he paid her bride price, he automatically owns her body. Domestic sexual violation is not even a thing in Nigeria because a man can’t rape his wife according to the law probably because the man owns the woman once he pays her bride price.

The Nigerian police force is not exactly active with issues of domestic violence and therefore is not a safe enforcement for victims of domestic violence. There should be committees, law enforcement agencies and non-governmental organizations set up to fight domestic violence. If there are already, there should be more awareness about them because not a lot of people know about them. Our constitution itself will also have to do better because according to section 55 (1)(d) of the penal code of Northern Nigeria, an assault of a man on a woman is not offensive if they are married. This outrightly supports domestic violence which is completely uncivilized. Also is the issue of marital rape. A woman owns her body whether or not she’s married, she still has the right to decide whether or not she wants to have sex with her husband. This is the 21st century, A WOMAN CAN BE RAPED BY HER HUSBAND and A MAN CAN BE A VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. Let us take it upon ourselves to fight against domestic violence against both men and women, speak for the victims if they cannot speak for themselves. It is our job to safeguard the society we live.

But it’s only my opinion, you can share yours by commenting in the comment box below. Thank you for reading, please share, comment and follow my blog.

[1] http://googleweblight.com/i?u=http://www.domesticabuseshelter.org/infodomesticviolence.htm&grqid=qlPDFWBw&hl=en-NG 

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