The issue of domestic violence can never be overemphasized as the media is awash with fresh wave of domestic violence and this time the focus is not on men as the perpetrators but as the victims. Women seems to have become the violator in recent cases which are publicized in Nigeria. The celebration of the International Day For The Elimination of Violence Against Women has once again necessitated the need for us to reflect on the various types of violence being meted out on victims and how we can combat it in relationships.
I think the news of those two women namely Maryam Sanda and the Zamfara woman has jolted us all to the realization that domestic violence is not limited to a specific gender.
Domestic violence also known as domestic abuse is inclusive of various shades of abuses such as emotional, financial, physical and psychological in a relationship. It includes maltreatment and violent pattern of behaviour in a relationship. For instance, when a spouse punishes his or her partner via finances or refuses to be intimate with his or her spouse, or belittle his or her spouse to the extent that the spouse loses his or her self-esteem it amounts to abuse. In cases of domestic abuse, the violator is always domineering or always wants to control the relationship. Relationships can be controlled with money, love, emotions, intimacy and commitment. The most common form of this domestic abuse which we are all familiar with, is the physical violence. Example the beating of a husband or the beating of a wife. Most of these abuses leads to death or self-destruction or lost of identity or depression.
Maryam Sanda killed her husband Billyamin Muhammed Bello on alleged suspicion of cheating. According to Inside Arewa an eye witness recounted the incident before the death. Excerpts read:
Maryam demanded a divorce with the threat of cutting off his manhood. Ibrahim Aliero, Bilyaminu’s friend (in whose instance the drama started) intervened 4 times to stop Maryam from stabbing her husband.
Ibrahim Aliero, Bilyaminu’s friend (in whose instance the drama started) intervened 4 times to stop Maryam from stabbing her husband. Ibrahim called Auta (Maryam’s uncle) and Abba (bilyaminu’s cousin) who had left the house moments before the drama started to come and intervene.
After a short calm, Maryam broke a bottle of grandnut and attempted to stab Bilyaminu, again, but this time he held both her hands and struggled to take the bottle from her, injuring himself in the process unrelenting and wild, she bit his finger.
By the way, a two-count charge has been preferred against Maryam Sanda.
Subsequently the woman in Gusau in Zamfara State attacked her husband over a disagreement and injured him by stabbing him with a bottle on his shoulders and other parts of his body. He was more fortunate than Billyamin Muhammed Bello as he survived the wounds.
However, in all of this, here are measures this generation can use to combat the spate of domestic violence.
- Once the victim notices traits of violence from the spouse, the victim should leave the relationship or if possible make the relationship a distant one with access to the abusive spouse in the presence of a chaperon.
- Occasionally sharing experiences in one’s relationship with trusted friends or confident will serve to put the relationship in check and assist in recognising when a victim is in an abusive relationship.
- Never be ashamed to speak up or report to the authorities if you are in an abusive relationship, damn what culture says as your life is more important than traditions and culture of silence.
- Don’t make up excuses for him or her, make sure you shame him or her in the public by not using foundation or brown powder to hide the scars or bruises or lies to cover up the pain or injuries. Let him or her know you are not afraid to tell the world about his or her monstrous behaviour.
Finally, it is good to know these important facts about domestic violence:
- The violators are people who were exposed to violence at a tender age and feel it is normal to beat their spouse when they have disagreements.
- Some violators were once victims of domestic violence.
- Alcohol and drugs triggers violent behaviour. ( watch out).
- Mental disorder can also be a cause of domestic violence.
- Most times the victims do not know they are in an abusive relationship.
- The victims find it difficult to leave the relationship.
- Financial issues and unemployment can also trigger the violator to become abusive.
- Uncontrolled anger, desperation and hopelessness or threat of separation from the victim also triggers the violator.
- Jealousy, envy and humiliation from the society or community also triggers the urge in the violator to control the victim.
- Domestic abuse can build up over time and may not necessarily be physical, as the violator can tear every shred of self-worth from the victim.
Once again happy International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women as we must make this campaign gender inclusive to prevent the early deaths of men as well as women.