Our Editorial Team write about the alarming rate of women’s battering in the society, as legal practitionals, cleric, victims and others condemn domestic violence in Nigeria. –
Battering can be described as an act of using intimidation to establish power and control over another person, and such intimidation is often expressed through beating.
In many societies, women are at the receiving end of this intimidation.
In fact, a large number of battering cases occur in developing societies where many cultures perceive women as an object to toy with.
According to the President of the Igando Customary Court, Mr Adegboyega Omilola, battering is a good ground for dissolution of a marriage under the Nigerian law.
“Battering is one of the major reasons women file for divorce. The court does not treat an allegation of battering with levity because it can lead to loss of lives.
“Sometimes, it is the women that push their husbands to the wall through their abusive words, disobedience, or lack of care.
“But some men are just too wicked that no matter what the woman does, they believe a wife is a servant and battering her is necessary,”he said.
He urged an amicable resolution of conflicts by couples, saying that broken homes have turned many children into social miscreants due to lack of parental training and care.
Omilola called for an enlightenment of men on the evil of drunkenness, smoking and drug addiction, which he said, fuel battering.
A Lagos lawyer, Afolabi Orekoya, urged government to put in place stiffer penalties against battering to reduce the menace.
“Government is not treating the matter with the seriousness it deserves.
“Nigeria see battering as a family matter to be handled internally and in such societies, women erroneously accept it as part of marriage.
“When a battered wife goes to the Police Station to report her husband, the Police will tell her to go and settle it with him, and that they cannot interfere in a couple’s internal matter.
“Everyday we are witnessing domestic violence against women; women being beaten into a state of coma. This is not right.
“A man who batters his wife has descended to the level of an animal. Violence against women is violence against humanity”.
He said any man who violated the rights of women is a criminal and must be prosecuted adding that the state would no longer tolerate such despicable act.
“We will not tolerate violence against women. We say a capital NO to women battering, assault, domestic violence and other forms of abuses.
“Women are our wives, they are our daughters and mothers, we must take care of them. When the home is okay, the local government, state and the nation will be okay,” he said.
Orekoya urged the government to adequately support agencies and non government organisations that take care of battered women.
…Victims Narrate Ordeal
A victim of domestic violence, Mercy Aigbe, a Nigerian and notable Nollywood actress, whose case was recently heard in the Court explained that her husband turned her into a punching bag.
Aigbe said that her husband always hit her head on the wall, beat her to a pulp, that most times, she coughed blood from nose and mouth.
Another victim, Joke Alagbe, said she lost three pregnancies due to regular beatings by her husband.
“I was in coma for three days and the baby was dead before it was taken out of my womb,”she lamented.
Another victim of battering, Yetunde Akintoye, said that her husband disfigured her by knocking out her teeth.
“My husband removed three of my teeth while beating me,” she said.
There was another case of a nursing mother, whose baby was just a month old, Mrs Mercy Ige, who was unconscious for six days due to husband’s battering.
Mrs Ranti Ikuomola, a psychologist, identified transfer of aggression as another cause of battering.
“Many men transfer aggression to their innocent wives, which may result from loss of jobs, query from office and other frustrating issues”, she said.
She advised women to stop dating men who show traces of violence. This, she said, will save women from being victims of battering in marriages.
“It is better not to enter the relationship, especially when the lady has seen traces of violence in the man.
“You cannot afford to keep staying with a man that beats you always. One day, he may even kill you and marry another woman,” Ikuomola said.
A pastor of the Assemblies of God Church in Lagos, Humble Ololo, said Christianity and other religions condemn wife-battering.
“Men are not allowed to beat their wives. Women are not expected to beat their husbands,” he preached, advising couples to settle misunderstandings amicably.
He said that desperation to be married pushes many women into wrong relationships that can lead to battering.
A marriage counsellor, Adeniyi Daniel, also noted that although many cases of wife-battering are not documented, a large number of them have resulted in deaths and dissolution of marriages.
“Many women are suffering from this domestic violence while some have lost their lives through battering,” he said.
According to him, many battered women still want to keep their marriages because of the value the Nigerian society places on marriage.
“Some battered women are enduring their marriages; they refuse to file for divorce because of their children’s future and because they don’t want to be single mothers or divorcees.
“Many abused women find it difficult to function in their daily lives because they suffer from psychological illnesses which resulted from the effects of domestic violence.
“Survivors of domestic violence need to seek help in coping with the effects even if they have left the abuser in order to move past their traumatic experiences.
“Women should report domestic violence to the Lagos State Government through the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team,” he said.