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Men too are victims of domestic violence

Dear Bunmi,

The subject of husbands being abused by their wives is a very sensitive one. Men fear the ridicule they may receive if they admit that their wives are violent towards them. I was brought up in a very violent household where my mother frequently lashed out at my father. She injured him so badly on many occasions that he was admitted to the hospital. Our house was trashed several times because of her actions, sometimes due to alcohol, but often just because she was in a foul temper. We lived on a knife edge in case we did something that would set her off on another rant.

I remember as a child, hearing the blows when she hit him, or the crash when she threw something at him; not daring to come into the room afraid of what we might find had a dreadful impact on me. I remember running out of the house to our next door neighbour who was a policeman as the noise was blood-curdling. The man promptly came with me, but of course could do nothing as my mum asked him to mind his own business as it was a domestic situation. He did warn my parents that it was unacceptable to have a child running out for help. For that, I was severely punished.

Domestic violence towards men is often trivialised in the press by cartoons of a young man with sticky plasters on his face. We regularly see images of male victims of violence with all the resultant wounds. Violence towards men is often a ‘hidden’ crime and its effects shouldn’t be underestimated. Just as you advised women on what to do at the whiff of violence, so you should advise the men too.

Jibade, by e-mail.


Dear Jibade,

This column doesn’t condone violence in any shape or form – be it towards women or men. Sadly, men, who are supposed to be the stronger sex are expected to tackle domestic violence head on. This is often not the case. There are female bullies who see their partners’ caution as weakness. And, let’s face it, some women are physically stronger than their puny partners and rather than admit to the humiliation of being trashed by their spouses, they prefer to suffer in silence.

Any man worth his salt should leave a violent relationship as soon as he can before it gets out of hand. No child should carry the type of emotional scars you now have from your mother’s abuse of her family. Seek counselling at the slightest sign of domestic abuse and leave as soon as you see no hope of it abating. Sadly, it’s always difficult to tame violent partners – they seldom change.


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