BY ESTHER AKPOTOHWO
Overtime, cases of wife battery have been on the increase. It is more common in African countries especially Nigeria where it is a common cultural belief that it is socially acceptable to beat a woman to discipline her. Most of the women in such quagmire are trapped as there seems to be no way of escape. This is due to the fact that many have the erroneous views that such acts are part of the challenges that come with marriage.
Violence against women has, according to reports, been on the increase as a result of the stay at home order occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19. Violence against women which is a global trend has taken different forms, ranging from domestic violence which manifests in sexual and physical abuse, female genital mutilation, child trafficking, sexual exploitation cum forced prostitution and the likes.
It is not uncommon to witness a scuffle between husband and wife and most cases the woman becomes the punching bag of the man. It will be an error to assume that only women from poor background who have no backbone to support them experience domestic violence or spousal abuse. Of course, spousal abuse has different manifestations.
Some men have vowed never to lay a finger on their wives; however they do not hesitate to wash the woman down the drain with the use of harsh and unprintable abusive words. In such cases the woman may not have incurred any physical injury but the heart becomes wounded and shredded into pieces. How such women are able to survive is another ball game.
On Sunday, 6th December, 2020 a video of Ifeyiwa Angbo, a medical doctor and wife of Channels Television reporter Pius Angbo, went viral on social media platforms. Ifeyinwa, while narrating her ordeal, expressed grief on the pain inflicted on her by her husband of six years having birthed four children for him. Of course as is common with most men especially in African and Nigeria, women are not allowed to air their voices.
Ifeanyinwa gave the reasons that occasioned her reddened and battered face to a voice of advice given to her husband to become responsible and desist from chasing hawks and focus on the raising of their children. While she cried for help, it is obvious that what she could get from the public and friends and even the state is sympathy or advice to be patient as marriages are replete with challenges.
Thankfully, moves have been made by individuals, government and activist to stop violence against women or reduce its occurrence to its barest minimum. Hence, the Violence Against Persons (prohibition) Act was signed into law on 25th May, 2015 by President Goodluck Jonathan. Among other forms of violence, it prohibits spousal battery.
The VAPP provides a legislative and legal framework for the prevention of all forms of violence against vulnerable persons, especially women and girls. It also intends to eliminate violence in private and public life and provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims of violence, and punishment of offenders.
According to the act, anyone who batters his or her spouse is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or to a fine not exceeding N200, 000.00 or both. It is important that women are properly orientated on the provisions made in the law to protect them from violence and report any form of violence to the appropriate quarters. Silence is a killer as the axiom.
“Communicate or perish” may become a reality if you keep mum. In Nigeria, stories of women of high repute whose husbands refused to give a hoot on their high profile and turning them into punching bags abound. Is beating up a woman at the height of provocation acceptable? We took a sample of views of some individuals and got a “no no response”
Azaka Maduabuchukwu a Senior Administrator in National Open University Abuja, who is happily married with a daughter, did not mince his words as he frowns against any act of violence against women especially wife battery.
According to him, there is no justification for domestic violence. He attributed domestic violence to misplaced views of most people on marriage. He stated that “most people marry because they see marriage as a societal achievement.” In his views, most people marry without taking out time to check if they are compatible or not. The focus according to him is most times based on physical beauty and financial prowess.
Mr. Maduabuchukwu also attributes domestic violence to family background. He opined that “so many persons are raised from broken homes, families where there is no love, unity and togetherness.” He added that any woman who marries from such a family “should not expect to enjoy the joys that come with marriage.”
Mr. Ubaka Precious vehemently frowned against violence against women. He believes that the dignity of women should be protected. He emphasized on the obvious truth that most women are verbal in nature and that men should understand that it is the way women have been designed “hence, in the course of their verbal expression which is an inherent part of womanhood they tend to be provoking”.
Some people are of the opinion that misunderstanding, lack of trust, inferiority complex from the man, infidelity, poverty and incessant nagging from women are major causes of domestic violence. Coupled with gender inequality with most men believing that women are low lives as such are to be given their rightful place through ardent constant and violent acts.
Some men who believe that women are babies and are meant to be corrected when they misbehave. If women are indeed babies, it is expected that humanly speaking they be treated as such. Can a baby be beaten for messing up or misbehaving? If a man takes his wife for a baby then he has to treat her as such.
It is time for women to wake up and take their stand and say no to violence and battery. The provisions are there in the law but if you keep quiet and decide to bear the pain no one will come to your rescue. While divorce may be an option to some people, it is not the panacea to domestic violence. If some men are convicted and sentenced for wife battery, it will serve as a deterrent to others.
If you have issues psychologically and you are unable to control your temper; you have to help yourself and go for spiritual and medical attention. Every human being has the tendency to make mistakes and if in the midst of real or fake love that you profess to your wife, you are unable to protect her and talk things out, then you need to wake up because the hand of the law will soon catch up with you. Maybe you will change after you have cooled off your heels in jail for being unable to control your hands.