Before now, it was typical for women to claim to be at the receiving end when it comes to issues of domestic violence, however this perception is fast changing as stunning statistics show that the trend has undergone some transmutation with increasing number of men crying foul that they pass through several rounds of beating in the hands of their wives at home. GEORGE OKOJIE writes.
He looked forlorn, dejected and sadness was written all over his face. No one needs to be a soothsayer to know that he was passing through some predicaments. As much as he tried to hide his emotions, Festus Idris said he thought he was the luckiest of men when he got married to the mother of his three children.
Recalling how he had been a victim of domestic violence Idris a Lagos resident said, ‘’But she proved me wrong not too long after that I was very wrong, I emphasise very wrong. We met in the church. She was a nice beautiful woman and well behaved too.
‘’My friends, close cousins that came around us usually said it to my face that they envied me that I was lucky to have Clara as my wife. I was not surprised because she was also from a humble background and I had a very good job with the bank. I had two good cars and gave her the Toyota Camry to go anywhere she needed to go.
‘’Sometimes I would wonder why she was so submissive and treat me like her Lord. That ideal nature in her I treasured so much and also treated her like a queen and cultivated the habit of showering gifts on her. I help her with house chores and sometimes people will call me ‘woman wrapper’. We were happily married and the children were happy and well catered for.
‘’But sometimes in 2015 we had some issues in my work place I thought would be easily resolved but I was suspended indefinitely , even at that I still ensured that my ‘’sweetheart’’ didn’t lack anything with the savings I had, while I was looking for another job. Fortunately or unfortunately while looking for job an opening came for her in a telecom firm, since she was also a graduate and we both celebrated it because the job really came at the right time since I had exhausted my savings.
‘’Contrary to what I expected, I noticed the jokes I used to crack and she would laugh and rolled on the floor were no longer funny to her. She will always put on long face, finding faults in anything I do, complaining she was over burdened with family expenditure and all that. Gradually, the situation degenerated and resulted in her using the tip of her shoes to spill on my head to spill blood anytime I raise objection to her stands.
‘’It got worse that I didn’t even had access to common toothpaste I bought in cartons for my family use when things were alright with me. At times my little children will be crying telling their mother to, ’’Stop beating daddy’’. Family members tried to intervene but she wouldn’t listen. I am not a weakling she thinks I am, what lesson will I be teaching my children fighting their mother. I have decided to file for divorce.’’ For Lukman Owolabi he said his wife having realised she is stronger than him had since turned him into a punching bag.
Owolabi a resident of Ekiti, told a Customary Court sitting in Ikole in Ekiti State that his wife had been beating him, saying “she is stronger than me. My wife beats me whenever we fight because she has power more than me.” Although the marriage had produced six children between ages six and 22 Owolabi urged the court to dissolve the union because of constant beating by Esther his wife and threat to life. As wives pummelled their husbands to submission, a retiree, Taofeek Giwa had also prayed an Idi-Ogungun Customary Court, Agodi-Ibadan, to dissolve the seven-year-old marriage with Abiodun Omotayo, on the ground that the respondent beats him at will.
Taofeek said Omotayo had turned him to a punching bag and that she constantly beats him, saying his wife always used the advantage of her huge stature to oppress and treat him as inferior to her.
He told the court that, “She beats me on any slight provocation, I dare not correct her mistake, in fact she is in the habit of tearing my cloth. “My lord, the worst she did recently was that she poisoned my meal in an attempt to kill me and I am not ready to die now. “I plead with the court to separate us to avoid untimely death so that I can take care of my children and enjoy the fruits of my labour.’’ Although Omotayo in her defence, denied all the allegations, but she told the court that the petitioner was the one who used to pursue her with machete but agreed with the divorce request, saying she was tired of living with the plaintiff because of his adulterous life. The menace which has taken a national outlook also saw Mr Kasimu Oseni telling a Lugbe Customary Court in Abuja to dissolve his 13-year-old marriage to Rebecca over regular beatings he received from her. Oseni lamented that his wife had turned him to a “punching bag’’, adding that she always beat him at the slightest provocation. “I have tried very hard to provide her needs but she enjoys violence and fight. This is not my idea of marriage. Our continued staying together would not guarantee my security and wellbeing any longer,’’ he said.
Statistics released by Lagos State Government showed that there is remarkable increase in the rate of wives beating their husbands in the state. The statistic showed that 138 of such cases had been reported in the state in the last one year. In 2016, at 55 men were beaten by their wives in Lagos, while in 2017, it rose to 138, which represents an increase of over 100 percent of women violating their husbands in the state. According to the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem there had been rising cases of women beating men in the state.
He said the Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) of the Ministry of Justice had been inundated with several cases of women also beaten in the state.
He said, “The Ministry has noted an increase in report of domestic abuse against men. To date, the DSVRT has received a total number of 138 cases in this regard.’’
He added that overall, a total number of 1771 cases of domestic violence were reported in the state in the last one year.
Kazeem also said that DSVRT had provided free medical services and psycho-social therapy for over 700 survivors of domestic/sexual violence, conducted capacity building training with 220 police officers across the State, and successfully secured the conviction of seven perpetrators. Kazeem said, “The Lagos State Government under the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has zero tolerance for issues relating to domestic violence and child abuse and will not relent until the scourge is reduced to the barest minimum. “Agencies of government, including DSVRT, Office of Public Defender and the Directorate of the Public Prosecutions, have been mandated to ensure that while perpetrators of the acts are brought to justice, victims of domestic violence are rehabilitated. “As regards provision of shelter for victims, the Ministries of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and Youth and Social Development, as well as non-governmental organisations have been playing key roles in ensuring that victims are taken to a safe environment. Amid surge of domestic violence in the state, the Coordinator of the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT), Mrs. Titilola Vivour- Adeniyi said her agency recently engaged over 100 Human Resource Professionals and Psychologists from various corporate organisations at a workshop organized by Employee Assistance Professionals Association.
According to her, the engagement was focused on the impact of Domestic Violence as it concerns work place, saying, “The participants were informed of what domestic violence is, the negative impact of domestic violence on survivors some of which include inability of victims to fully participate in the workforce, reduced productivity, frequent absenteeism, loss of job, potential harm to employees, co-workers and/or customers when violent abusers enter the workplace. This can be dangerous, as companies may be held liable if violence erupts on their premises.
Harping on the negative impact of domestic violence, she pointed out that a survey was conducted on the impact of domestic violence on the workplace where majority of results indicated victims could not concentrate as a result of the issues they faced at home, while a majority of women sampled also said they recorded a number of mistakes, felt tired at work due to sleep deprivation and generally unable to work well.
She said Booklets on Sexual harassment and Domestic Violence were also distributed, adding that participants were reminded that the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team can be reached for assistance when domestic violence occurs. On way out of domestic violence as it concerns either men or women a Marriage counsellor, Pastor Brama Bello of El-Bethel Ministries told LEADERSHIP SUNDAY that abuses, insults, neglects and abandonment have now become the order of the day for love relationships and marriage causing violence and brutality.
According to him, the problem of women assaulting and beaten up their husbands are rampant in unions where the men are no longer able to live up to their responsibilities.
He said, ‘’ When some of these men come to me for counselling complaining that they are being beaten and maltreated by their wives I wonder what would have led such a thing but by the time they narrate everything you discover that they have failed in their responsibilities as the head of their families, sometimes you discover that they are involved in infidelity and wives fight back. There have cases of wives killing their husbands through domestic violence and husbands killing their wives.
‘’In most cases so many of the men have lost their jobs and depending on their wives. Women are not wired to carry burden. In the Bible the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ They were not created to carry entire burden. At this point some women start to nag and doing all sorts of things. We tell them that in marriage it for better for worse. Two are better than one so that when one is down the other will lift him up but takes real matured mind to see this to fruition.
‘’Many young people presently who intend to get married are completely unaware of their marital responsibilities, obligations, rights and privileges. The resultant effects of these issues often taken for granted are assaults, heart-rending stories of bitter marital experiences and even death. There is need for counseling of couple before and during marriage.’’
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