Blessing Enenaite, a poet and activist, explores the subject of domestic violence and abuse, a disturbing trend in Nigerian households.
Chukwuma was only two years old when he watched his parents in a brawl. And it became a norm which he could not control. During this period, Chukwuma would stare ridiculously whenever his parents fought. At times, Chukwuma will be in between his parents trying to separate them. But his attempt was always insignificant. On a regular basis, Chukwuma’s parents would engage in a free-for-all until neighbours separated them. It became a sort of free entertainment for our neighbourhood as most persons watched without separating the couple. Inasmuch as I was still young then, I assumed that what the couple did was not right.
“At least they should go into their room to fight na” Little me would say back then. Not as if fighting indoors was better, but I assumed it was less shameful. Little me!
Chukwuma’s father did not stop his habit of hitting his wife at every slightest provocation. And Chukwuma’s mother in turn dished out words which were characterized by crass vituperations. It became worse when Chukwuma’s mother was pregnant with her second child. She still received constant beatings to the glaring of onlookers. Chukwuma’s father blamed his wife’s sharp tongue for his actions. When it seemed that Chukwuma’s mother could not bear it again, she reported her husband’s constant assault to her brothers. The situation demanded a family meeting which saw that Chukwuma’s father was called to order. After the meeting, things changed for the better. Life became peaceful for the couple. Chukwuma later had a sister when his mother delivered Amarachi, her second child.
The story above is an explicit example of a woman who was a victim of domestic violence. She suffered for a certain period till she could not endure it anymore. With the intervention of her siblings, peace was restored in her home. Chukwuma’s mother might have survived her case of domestic violence but some have not been too lucky; for they could not stay alive to tell the story.
I have heard of countless cases of domestic violence and I am perplexed by its continuous re-occurrence. Most times, it happens that the suspect would not be thought of to have such tendencies to commit the act. And still, we would go on and on to condemn one more act too many.
It is pertinent to note that women are not the only victims of domestic violence. Despite that, we cannot rule out the fact that women, most times, are at the receiving end. Having said that, what could be the reason for domestic violence? Can we ascribe it to jealousy? Adultery? Bad temper? Upbringing? Low self esteem? Intolerance? Or perhaps incompetency? I think the answer hovers around all these points mentioned in question mark.
A bad temper is usually blamed for an act of domestic violence. Jealousy can drive an individual to a point that he exhibits characters that will be flawed. Adultery can also be a major cause of domestic violence. In addition, low self esteem cannot be ruled out. Stating these facts does not justify the act itself. What about the upbringing of an individual? Cases as that of Chukwuma who grew up watching his parents who were supposed to be his models, exchange words and throw punches, obviously saw it as a normal thing. Until he grows up and unlearn what he has learnt as a child, that memory would serve as a yardstick for his attitudes in life.
I may not be elaborate enough as I try to explain what causes domestic violence. There are so many reasons and its effect in a home actually varies. It can lead to a broken home, children being affected psychologically and low self esteem taking residence in the affected individual.
Domestic violence should not be encouraged in any way. No excuse should be given for it. Evidently, it has led to the death of many. The sad case of Ronke Bewaji Shonde is one too many.
So many persons are suffering in silence. While some women are still suffering in silence, most women are now speaking up. It is not African that a man should beat his wife. It does not show his manliness or his sense of worth and authority in his home. Instead, it reduces him into a coward who cannot handle issues without resorting to using his physical strength against a woman. I dare say that some of those men who engage in this ugly act cannot even stand their fellow men in a free-for-all
Domestic violence is a plague that is becoming too rampant in our society. Some things can be controlled and one of them is domestic violence. No matter what your upbringing may be, or the wrong your partner might have done to you, domestic violence can never be the way out. You are causing physical havoc which leads to a greater havoc in your victim’s health, emotional and psychological state. Whatever reasons that makes it to be committed will also spring forth negatively in many diverse ways. Domestic violence does not solve problems. Hence, let it be eschewed before it does more damage to our society.
Prevention entails supporting the implementation of the agreed conclusions of the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) that placed a strong focus on prevention through the promotion of gender equality, women’s empowerment and their enjoyment of human rights.
Blessing Enenaite is a business administration graduate from Delta State University, Abraka. She is a writer who strives on creativity. The recipient of BN Blog’s Young Poet Of The Year Award 2016, Blessing is determined to scale heights in her quest to become a great writer. You can reach her by email HERE.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.