Friday, February 3, 2012


Violence against women has always been with us. While civilized nations do their best to institute laws that protect women and ensure that violators of such laws are made to feel the full wrath of the Law, most developing nations with patriarchal cultures tend to be less aggressive about women's rights. In Nigeria, even though Chapter 2 of the 1999 constitution provides for the adequate protection of women, most crimes against women are usually treated with kid gloves. Starting from rape, the complicity of the male influenced legal system which demands for the victim to provide two witness, has impeded on the rights of victims to access justice. Domestic violence has on another hand been left to assume different dimensions of its own with husbands hacking down wives with kitchen knives and men pouring acid on women who spurn their advances.

In as much as I think the government and security agencies need to do a lot more to reform the Laws governing Women and Minority rights in Nigeria, I think much has to be done in the re-orientation of women across the country. I have watched with dismay how young women have been brainwashed to accept violent behaviour from men. There are times I hear friends and close acquaintances make excuses for men who unleash their rage on hapless women and in those times, I just shake my head. In such cases we have potential victims who have swallowed the lie that a real man is a man who uses his fist to drive home his point. Even more horrifying is the habitual masochist who boldly tells me that she gets bored when a man does not display any form of aggression towards her. "It is almost as if he is not a real man. I like it when my boyfriend slaps me." I asked the lady in question if she realizes that encouraging her boyfriend to slap or hit her might lead to other dangerous misadventures. Her reply? "Oh, I don't think of that. Things like that add spice to the relationship." Really?!!!

Cases such as these are the very reason why I advocate for grass roots projects by local and international NGOs that seek to educate women on the evils of domestic or sexual violence. As long as women continue to think that it is cool to be slapped around by their boyfriends of husbands, there will be no shortage of victims of domestic violence. So while the country has to introduce measures that address this issue, women themselves need to understand that it is not okay for men to hit them. If you are a woman reading this and have suffered the occasional slap or push, let me assure you that it will get worse. So every time you examine the swollen puffs your eyes have become and wince with pain when you touch a mouth that now contains broken and chipped teeth, ask yourself "IS THIS THE PRICE I PAY FOR LOVE?".



  1. This reminds me of a piece i did a while back here

    There is no excuse for any man (except perhaps in self defence) to attack a lady and its even more shameful when the women themselves sanction such battery with al sorts of senseless justifications. Like i said in my piece, The point must be made strongly and ladies must get this clear, that no man has any right to turn you into a punching bag for whatever reason; and it is necessary to your long term happiness and health that you run away from men who exhibit such violent tendencies early enough no matter the lure. And when you are already married, I believe it is only the living that can be married and raise their children. If you end up in a body bag, those children will still be raised and that marriage you think you are doing God a favour by keeping will end all the same.

    Nice one Umari

  2. Thank you Sylva. Well spoken. Our beliefs systems needs an overhaul. The society will look the other way, with mothers cautioning their daughters against leaving abusive husbands. The police will ignore the battered face of a housewife and call it domestic affair, effectively leaving the women to their fate because they themselves are wife beaters. Then sadly enough, some women actually see it as normal behaviour or a display of manliness. Serious sensitizing needs to be done. From recent cases of wives been hacked to death by their husbands, we are seeing our quickly a problem can spiral out of control if left unchecked. The burden is on every one of us to stop this barbaric practice.



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