Domestic violence has become a prominent issue in marriages and other social relationships, especially in Nigeria, with a deep cultural belief that it is socially acceptable to discipline one’s spouse. It is instructive to note that these take many forms including physical, sexual, emotional, and mental. Sadly, cases of domestic violence are on the high and show no sign of abating any time soon.
Other common forms of violence against women include rape, acid attacks, molestation, wife-beating, and corporal punishment. Though domestic violence is traditionally committed against women, society has long taken a different turn with the male gender at some point at the receiving end too.
There are several cases to prove that both genders get to lashing out point. Experts give reasons for such conduct as prodded by fits drunkenness, financial issues and rejection of sexual advances from partners. Relationship inequality is also a strong indicator of physical violence. At some times, the man may be earning less than the wife or vice versa. But in our considered opinion, there ought to be no excuse to reasonably justify domestic violence towards one’s spouse.
This newspaper is of the view that abuse, whenever it rears its ugly head, should be addressed irrespective of gender because violence to one, is injustice to all. Violence against men is one topic that is rare and largely unspoken, especially in any typical Nigerian cultural milieu. Ordinarily, any mention of domestic violence, the man is seen as the hunter and the woman the hunted, even though it’s true in most cases, that the issue of violence against men is rampant but not appreciated because it is largely emotional.
In most cases they have to do with verbal abuse, sexual, or psychological torture and usually occurs in various forms ranging from threats, emotional abuse, oppression amongst others. This affects the well-being of most men. Curiously, it hardly attracts the kind of attention it deserves because even the men perceive it as infra- dig to suggest that they cannot manage their homes or take effective control of their own domestic affairs. But the topic somehow is gaining increasingly disturbing. Men tend not to report abuse due to embarrassment and the perception that is evidence of a lack of masculinity and the social stigma that goes with it.
In our opinion, the only way to address the torture men go through in the hands of their spouses is for them to ignore the macho tendencies and accept that they need help. The male sufferer of domestic violence and or abuse should speak out since it is an open secret that they suffer the same plights as some women. These issues cause major mental health challenges to one such as depression, anxiety, lack of self-esteem, and so on. We are persuaded to argue that abuse should be addressed across the board irrespective of gender.
Security agencies and all aspects of Nigeria’s criminal justice system should be taught how to handle domestic violence cases, especially complaints from men, with some form of neutrality and openness. Public ridicule and harsh criticisms are factors withholding men from speaking out their pains. And the fear of reporting to the wrong authorities so that the table will not be turned must be conquered. If the man continues to keep quiet and suffer in silence, he is likely to end up been labeled as an aggressor even when he is the aggrieved.
Many people do not understand that domestic violence is a human rights issue that restricts one’s rights to liberty and freedom of expression. As a newspaper, we stand against domestic violence on both sides. Violence against men and women is a crime but laws vary between jurisdictions. We insist that no one deserves violence. Even worse, domestic or family violence is a crime and against the law regardless of who is involved.
We recall sad incidences of domestic violence that leads to the death of the man. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly common place. The few reported cases, make news as was the case of Maryam Sanda, who was on January 27, found guilty of stabbing her husband, Bilyamin Bello, a real estate developer to death at their Abuja residence in 2017. Also, the case of Hadiza Musa who attacked her 50-year-old husband with a wooden pestle in Jigawa. The case of a female lawyer, Udeme Otike-Odibi, who allegedly confessed to killing her lawyer husband, Symphorosa Otike-Odibi, and cutting his manhood.
It is time, in our view, for society to stand up firmly against any sort of domestic violence. It is bad enough when a man maltreats his spouse. It is worse when the woman, even in justified fury, kills her husband. The point must be stressed that domestic violence is an ill wind that blows no one any good.