OF NIGERIAN WOMEN IN VIOLENT & ABUSIVE MARRIAGES

In recent times, we have been inundated with a flurry of news items, setting formal as well as social media ablaze over the issue of domestic violence, involving the married Nigerian woman as victims in a largely disproportionate number of cases. I have put it like this, so as not to sound indifferent to the very few cases involving married men in Nigeria. I also recognize that it can be tantamount to insulting the direness of the situation of the women enduring abusive relationships, when each time a new case of wife battering comes up, men rush to remind us of cases where men also suffer abuse at the hands of their spouses. I intend with this blog post, to join my voice to those seeking an end to any form of spousal abuse (physical, emotional or otherwise), either in the name of domestic violence, wife battering, or any other nomenclature by which actions and inactions, directed at the mistreatments of women, go by these days. It is my hope that we begin to see prosecutions of such cases, with culprits not just spending a few hours at police stations but actually doing time in prison for the crime of battery against spouses.

I am not a Nigerian when it comes to citing hypothetical situations, I am not that religious bigot who for fear that by mentioning a thing unpleasant, it might come to pass in their lives, hence desist from even considering their reaction to hypothetical situations, and that’s why so far in my short life, I’ve managed to weather tragedies stoically in my life, because I believe that like life, SHIT HAPPENS, regardless of whether or not, I talk about such adversities or not. So when recently, a friend asked what I would do, should I find a man on top of my wife, in my matrimonial bed, I responded that I’m sure, so very sure that I won’t lay my hands on her. Therefore I maintain my stand that there should be no reason at all, hypothetical or real that should make any man raise his hands on a woman. Indeed, the only time men should fight their fellow man, or women their fellow women, should be in sport, and for a lot of money for that matter, I’m an avid lover and follower of boxing, never the rubbish that wrestling has becoming under WWE, and would love a matching of even female versus a male contender if such could ever be contemplated as possibility in sports, and the partakers get paid for it, but never as a result of bickering between a man and his wife.

Nigerian women go through a lot already, living in a patriarchal society, that’s judgmental of their every move, even just a little above infancy, when the joy surrounding their birth blows over, and that’s talking about the very few societies where there’s less anguish over the inability of a couple to procreate a male child. Society then goes on to demand chastity of them through their teenage and adolescent years, without even as much as expecting the same of their sons. Some hypocritical fathers and husbands, do to and with some other people’s daughters and wives, what they’d kill another man they find doing same to their daughters and wives, because a so called “virtuous” woman is supposed to possess certain characters and so on and so forth, while for the Nigerian man, the words “virtuous” and “men” cannot be used in the same sentence, except you’re adding something in the negative right before the virtuous. I know that in many churches, the only sin that counts is that of fornication and adultery, and the emphasis is always on the female, even Zamfara States’ Governor Yari alluded to it, when he said that the Cerebrospinal Meningitis ravaging his state is as a result of divine punishment because of sexual immorality in the state, only to be accused weeks later of building a hotel in Lagos, one of Nigeria’s SIN cities.

But away from that digression, I’m saying the Nigerian woman goes through a lot, the same society that wants her chaste by limiting association with men, will put pressure on her to marry, she becomes desperate, and by hook and crook, by all means possible, she marries this godfearing man (from the lot of men, some of whom would like to have a taste of what they’d have to settle with for so called rest of their lives), that’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and sooner had they settled down to consummating the marriage, that cracks begin to appear. Mostly because of the haste with which most of these marriages are contracted, or simply just in overlooking telltale signs of the beastly side to the man, because she has this short window to marry so as to fully optimize her fertility before the well runs dry, all those are ignored while dating or courting the man. In fact that period prophesied in scripture where women will beg to be wed to a man, even if just so she could bear his name has come upon us, especially in Nigeria. Some of the bride prices paid by grooms today are from the savings from the bride (many of whom are better educated, earn more, more enlightened than their husbands, but compelled by society and accompanying low self esteem that eventually sets in, to settle for less in their choice of a life partner), amongst other expenses that go into organizing a society wedding Naija-style.

Once in, most of these women have to deal with the infidelity of their husbands, or be careful, very, very careful should they decide to go that route, for the stigma that society attaches to women who do that. Some women have lost their lives after they were caught in the act, others also for reprimanding their husband for philandering. Other issues revolving around respect for the man is also at the heart of the abuse women suffer at the hands of their husbands, especially when the man feels that he must have his way with HIS woman each time he gets a HARD-ON (and it doesn’t matter if that happens every fifteen minutes), worse still when there’s delay in conception, or she has only female children, or more females than males, or even only males, or for no just cause at all. And our media is filled with stories of wife battery, on YouTube videos are there for evidence, that are never used in any Nigerian court to lock up any of the erring male perpetrators. Meanwhile those are just videos from cities like Lagos and elsewhere in Nigeria, Africa and other parts of the world where there’s at least some conversation about DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, but beyond are the many of such cases, not caught on tape that’s the reality of many a Nigerian women in their homes, with no one to tell their stories. These women are not white, or fair skinned like Mercy Aigbe whose body cannot hide scars or a black eye. At work they are reclusive, and at home always indoors. They suffer alone.

They can’t even leave their homes, family or marriage, again because the same society that forced them into the marriage in the first place, frowns at divorce. So you’ll see a once beautiful woman reduced to a shadow of her former self, and she’d be afraid to confide in you, she’s young yet walks like she has arthritis, always sickly because of the internal injuries, and feigns happiness when amongst colleagues and friends. If you don’t see a broken tooth, you’d see teeth with cracks, and of course be ready for the wildest of excuses for that, should you attempt to find answers to their situation. Because even if women survive these beatings, including following the death of their abusive spouses, the scars remain and may affect future relationships with the opposite sex, hence why I’m not surprised at the experiences of the majority of the women that constitutes membership of the feminism train in Nigeria today. I’ve always been of the view that abusive relationships and marriages should rank top of the reasons for a woman to quit a marriage and/or a relationship. Fuck that overrated insult on you called marriage if you find yourself in such a situation, if you die while “managing” it, even your closest relatives, including your children at some point will remember you only on the anniversary of your death, before they soon move on with their lives. In a place like Nigeria, you wouldn’t even make the statistics, since record keeping here is bunkum. Please Nne, overlook my rant and do the needful. Mazel Tov.

‘kovich

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