The world frowns at domestic violence, no matter who is involved.

As far as relationships are concerned, domestic violence is a matter that should be considered in a holistic manner, without sentiments. The reason is very simple: when domestic violence leads to the death of the victim, it causes deep, unimaginable pain.

Let us get this clearly:  no spouse or partner in a male-female relationship should hit the other. However, it appears that women are beginning to take undue advantage of the fact that the sympathy of the average person gravitates towards the female gender in domestic violence cases. The society simply jumps to the side of the victim of domestic violence.

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Pause for a moment and ponder over this: how many of the people who become instant judges when domestic violence issues break out in the media ever bother to find out the root cause of the problem? It might sound strange and ridiculous that a woman is sounding different instead of standing on the same page to condemn the social menace totally. Yes, one constant research we have not done is to find out the reason for this contentious issue that rears its ugly head from time to time.

Recent events have revealed that in 50-60 per cent of cases, women trigger domestic violence in their homes. This occurs through constant, unrelenting verbal, emotional and physical abuse. One give away craze that Africans indulge and believe in a hurry is that the one who allows tears to flow freely and run down the cheeks is the most bruised, and probably would not know the mental torture the other partner feels from the heavy weight of the constant abuse the man endures. In every case of domestic violence, the flag is raised in sympathy for the one with tears. Well, from today, know it that men also go suffer domestic violence, mentally. There again, it looks as if women are the only one’s suffering from ill-treatment from their men when there is a credible body of evidence that shows the depth of hellish abuse which many men had gone through hell fire in their marital and non-marital relationships with some terrible women. For the fact that they do not let the tears drop for fear of being called cowards, they endure all. Some even receive physical beating by their women, yet swallow it and move on. When statements like, ‘You are stupid, illiterate and poverty-stricken’ or ‘You are a one-minute man’ are hauled repeatedly at the man, his ego is being trampled and  bruised. The abusers do not mind that such outbursts, which are uncalled for, cause men mental agony and pain that are more violent than physical abuse. Men bleed and weep in their vein, brain, mind and soul.

Let it be known to all, particularly the abusers, that mental and verbal abuse can be more powerful, destructive and violent than physical abuse. One recalls the case of Joe Akom, a freight forwarder and an adopted child, whose parents later gave birth to two daughters. While growing up, the parents found it worthy to tell him the truth about his background. Besides, they did not want him to learn such important fact from gossip in the neighbourhood. He appreciated his adopted parents and kept on with the peaceful family ties and life was simply a smooth journey. He later married Prisca who he met within his business premises and felt it was ripe to let her know all about him, in case of any eventuality. He opened up and went down memory lane and told her the circumstances of his birth. He also told her his networth and landed properties. But when love began to wane, instead of her to hold onto her gains and rekindle fire in marital relationship, Prisca began using the husband’s adopted status, to mentally and verbally abuse him to no end.

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On a certain day, she said to him: “Go and look for your parents who sold you into slavery.” Joe wanted the relationship to end that very day as he beat her thoroughly.   

Again, in several instances, either between spouses, co-habiting partners or family members, some deeply hurtful, unforgettable, difficult-to-forgive words can be exchanged in the heat of an altercation. While the pain of physical abuse may wane not long after, the mental kind lasts much, much longer. The abuse men stomach goes into their memory where it sits and plays back like a video in their head.

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Granted that some women initiate domestic violence through their actions, some are simply maltreated by men who are the devil’s incarnate. There is a difference between badly-behaved men and those triggered by women into near deadly violence. The demon in some men, as it were, is also in the women because there are some females who are very badly behaved, untrained and very ungovernable. They include those who  crush their men to usurp power and authority. Some women who see submission as punishment, and must therefore counter and confront their men at all times. Again, there are some women prefer and treat the General Overseer as well asu favourite pastors of their church much better than their husbands. Women who have used fanaticism and mystical powers to disorganize their families; those who push their husbands to fight over family lands and other joint family assets.

An instance of this came up in a community, which involved two once jolly good brothers, Pius and Princewill. Pius, the older was willing to surrender their late father’s old building to the younger one, but his wife called him a weak man who had sold his birthright. She set the man up against their children. In order not to be seen as a weakling, he went to fight with his brother and never came back alive. While the issue raged, elders in the community intervened, but Pius was mocked by his immediate family until the property consumed him. Umu-Ada of that community dealt with his wife and sent her packing.   

Women who instigate the children against their father, talk down to the man before his peers, women who tear down their own home and allow infidelity rock their world, yet live in a husband’s home, these are all forms of domestic violence. I tell women who feel their children are grown and do not need their husband again, to take a walk and let the man be. Do not wait for domestic violence to take place, be a smart big girl and move on since love, respect, regards and bond do not mean anything, any more. Some use their children as reason to stay in a toxic relationship which they triggered by themselves. To such women, instead of waiting and regretting, move on immediately; the children will be fine.

You find some untrained women, who need to be trained, yet they are raising children, wrongly. In the same category are women who unconscionably beat the young housegirl they took away from her parents with promises of catering for her, but turn around vehemently maltreat the young child.

Quickly recall the case of the couple in Enugu,  Mr & Mrs Jude Ozougwu, the supposed guardian of Nneoma Nnadi, who had a 6-inch nail driven into her head.

Fellow women, let us  bridle our tongues and  respect our husbands. Wrong words have power to ‘kill’ the spirit and deeply damage or destroy relationships. As the women show power and fight with their mouth, men fight with their might and fist which is not the best as well.

We need to recognise and accept that men suffer domestic violence as well. That is partly why some die prematurely. It is important that women learn to control their tongues, to season their words with salt, that words “may minister grace” as the Bible enjoins all humans. Like the Bible educates, “a soft word turns calms down anger.” This will go a long way to reduce incidence of domestic violence. In the same vein, must exercise more control over their unwholesome tendency to unleash physical attack on their women.

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