The Reality Of Domestic Violence In Nigeria
I am in charge and control my turf
Wielding my power like a king on tour
With a growl and a temper
With fists, words and scepter
Who dares to oppose or condemn?
My reign is terror and aptly confirmed
I am an epidemic and come sublime
Domestic Violence is who I am
Domestic violence is an act of intimidation, physical, verbal or emotional abuse that has become an epidemic. Domestic violence is not new to the Nigerian society. Often, we have woken up to read of murder and violence. Domestic violence happens across all sectors of society. It cuts across the educated and the illiterate, the religious and the freethinkers, classes of career women and stay-at-home wives, the married and the single as well as all ages.
In local communities, domestic violence is mostly perceived as what is due to women who nag, disobey or want to take over the seat of authority from the man, who is always revered as the head of the house. It is also known as a “therapy through which a man can conveniently vent his anger or frustration on a ‘lesser being’ who is his wife or children”. Many women now believe that physical abuse is most times justified.
In this setting, most women bear the pain and grieve in silence believing that one day the man will have a change of heart and amend his ways. The stigma and the shame it will elicit also contributes to the silence.
Women, whether married or single, condone various degrees of abuse for reasons such as no source of income, the fear of losing custody of the children, exposure to information, low self-esteem, stigmatization and many more. More often than not, the woman is prevailed upon to be forgiving regardless of the ordeal she undergoes daily or the scars she has tattooed all over her body. Most heart-wrenching is that fact that sometimes the physical trauma, the psychological torture and the emotional disenchantment transforms a once beautiful and loving woman into a recluse. To this end, many have died and many more are held in severe bondage they cannot easily escape from.
Women for Women International – Nigeria has brought awareness to women in local communities on their rights and avenues to seek redress in cases of abuses. We have exposed many women to information about the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act of 2015, their human rights, and printed manuals for better understanding. Community leaders and influential men of the communities are being co-opted daily to spearhead the fight to stop the violence and protect vulnerable women and children. Above all, social media has been effectively used to tackle this menace in our society.
The percentage of triumphs may not be hugely significant now, but we believe that concerted and collective efforts of all stakeholders will contribute enormously to reducing this epidemic in our country.