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Domestic violence women’s cross to bear? (2)

When two people fall in love, the general belief is that the two relate in peace, love care and harmony, watching out for each other and each other’s backs, no matter what. It is on this premise that they take the marital vows, the man assuming the headship of the new family.

In the olden days, the man was regarded as lord and master of his house, he had the final say over all that lives under roof. His wife is also regarded as one of his possessions because he paid the bride price, thus he is allowed by culture and to a large extent the law to take measures he deems fit to protect his investment.

Thus, wife battering or chastising, now identified as a form of domestic violence has always been accepted as one of the many ways a man can correct or discipline an erring wife.

Though, even back in the olden days, the act is usually received with mixed feelings among diverse people. However, with the era of male supremacy gradually fading out, and more women gaining financial and educational leverage, many, including men, now see wife battering as an attack and abuse of the supposedly weaker sex.

Add to this is the enactment of laws by at various levels of government in the country against domestic violence, some of which attract stiff penalties if found guilty of.

However, despite the fact that the act is fast becoming unfashionable, many women still experience awesome display of power by their spouses.

In taking another look at this age long practice, we ask some of our respondents how it feels to be physically abused by some one who is supposed to love and care for you?

How much do they know about the laws that have been enacted to protect them? What should a woman do, if she is being physically abused by her man? How can this law come to her rescue? Please, do send in your views/contributions on this issue to The

Human Angle, P.M.B. 1007, Apapa, Lagos. or e-mail address: Happy reading!

Renny (26), Journalist, is about to take the plunge into matrimony. She has been dating Layi (32) for over three years. She is however very reluctant because of what she describes as risky. Her story:

“I can’t really say it is beating. It’s not the type that leaves you with bruises, injuries and tell_tale signs that someone has been engaging you in an exchange of fisticuff. But it’s beating all the same.

He would hit me at the slightest provocation or anytime I refuse to do his bidding. Though he will always try to make up after the act, but each time it happens, it leaves me terribly sad and doubtful of the fact that we can have something good together for a life time.

I will just feel dejected, quiet and sad. It’s not a good thing to happen to anyone. It‘s just too humiliating. This is why I am skeptical about accepting his proposal. I have asked him to allow me think about it first.

Can you believe that, at a time when most of my age mates are clamoring for permanent relationships and would have been too eager to say yes to such a marriage proposal?

I am just scared of taking the risk of a life sentenced to endless slaps which may deteriorate into heavy bashing, battering and beatings. I have become so scared of him, not because I respect him but because I am afraid of what he might do. My friends and cousins are not helpful about my situation either.

Whenever I relive my ordeals with them, expressing my fears; they will tell me how silly I am to be condoning such treatments from a man. They all claim that they can not tolerate such acts from their boyfriends and would have done something about him.

None however has been able to tell me what they would do except to slap him back. I realize I am just postponing the evil day by not making up my mind as regards the proposal with Layi. I can have all that any woman may desire from a marriage, material wise that is.

But the risks are however high. It is not illiterates that engage in such acts. Layi has a Master’s degree in Political Science and is already studying for his Doctorate. So, it has nothing to do with education or level of exposure. It is just the way a person is.

The first time it happened, I was too shocked to do any thing. The story is the same every other time it has happened. I will just feel hurt, ashamed, dejected and unloved somehow.

Before I know it, tears will roll freely down my cheeks, then he will feel remorseful and beg me. The first time was in the night on our way back from an engagement party of a friend.

He had insisted on us leaving when I was not ready. I had no choice but to leave with him when he threatened to leave without me. I refused to talk to him all the way home.

I was a bit surprised when he did not take me to my house nor did we head for his own place too. I thought he would just drop me off since there was a noticeable tension between us.

But he drove to one of his friend’s house who I had never met before. He said he wanted to see the guy for something important. The guy received us very warmly and I had to pretend to be in a good mood too.

Shortly after our arrival, he excused himself telling me that he wanted to get something at the pharmacy shop around the corner. As soon as he left, my boyfriend of over a year then, turned on me.

At first, I returned the kisses, thinking that they were harmless ones, intended to end the quarrel. I couldn’t imagine that he will try to make love to me in a strange place.

When it dawned on me that this was his intention, I turned him down. I tried to talk him out of it by telling him that his friend may walk in at any time and catch us at it. He then told me that the guy wouldn’t come back.

Then I realized that it was a pre planned action, he had probably figured everything out before bringing me over. Maybe I behaved childishly like someone said too. But since we had been dating for long, I just couldn’t see us doing it in a strange place.

I found it ridiculous and felt cheap too, wondering why he wanted to treat me that way. So, I turned him down, refusing all his pleading. It was then that he got angry and started slapping me around.


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