I was going to write about another matter for this post, when an ominous situation recurred yet again to a close relative recently. Married for about five years now with kids, this relative who is in her late 30s, slight built, an urban woman with her hard earned Master’s degree is in an abusive marriage. And you can take your pick on the extent of the abuse- physical, emotional, psychological and even financial (she has not been able to go back to work since the kids came rapidly and the man doesn’t want a house help) are all heaped on her by her husband.
From what we gathered barely five weeks ago (after one of such many battering), this violent behavior from her husband had been ongoing for some time now and all the immediate neighbours and people in adjoining buildings where they live know about it. Apparently, she had not wished to bring it to the knowledge of the family, but would rather put up that ‘things are looking up’ front during family gatherings until a neighbour got hold of the number of another family member and put through a ‘save -your -sister’ call.
The family reaction was swift. We had a meeting with her and after hearing all the shocking obnoxious details of the extent of the abuse, proposed a separation from this abusive husband as an immediate solution so that she would not be maimed or killed. You see, our thinking was that the separation may also help her get back her life together. She was invited to return to the comfortable family home in Lagos, where her retired parents are very much available and even promised to help her look after the kids (that is if the man doesn’t make a heavy weather of their temporary custody); as well as provide additional support so that she can have the much desired freedom to job hunt once more.
Furthermore, the separation was supposed to afford her and Mr. Abusive husband time-out to reconsider if they still wish to remain married, and possibly go through counselling together while the abuser takes anger management sessions and be made to make all manner of undertakings to heaven and back. In short, it is hoped that when the marriage is eventually revamped, varying terms and conditions will apply as definite guide to its continuity especially to safeguard her from future abuse.My relative left that meeting with a promise to temporarily relocate from her abuser the next day or two, while we assured her the call was ultimately hers, as no one would go and drag her away from that environment.
So what can possibly justify getting violent with your spouse? I hear some people try to explain it away. And some victims understand perfectly the reasons adduced. ‘He has anger problems, but he is very caring’ really? ‘I provoked him’, ‘slapping her is the only corrective language she understands’; ‘the make-up sex is very effective’. Forgive me but my intelligence fails me to understand these reasons or any other one a wife (or other female) beater may wish to provide. In my opinion, it is the lowest level masculinity can sink to, and makes the strength and very essence of being a man regrettable. How can you move in on the very individual you were meant to protect and use your strength to assist with some heavy duty domestic chores?
And I wish ladies can read the signs from a potential abuser early enough. The anger mismanagement and beatings don’t just show up in the marriage. There were preliminary signs he must have exhibited while courting, a slap in the middle of a heated argument that you forgave after he begged you with his dead mother and all the saints. (Please what is that thing that makes ladies give second, third and indeed one hundred chances?) That first slap is usually an introduction of similar things to come- beatings, whippings and even knives! Do we remember the sad, brutal killing of Titilayo Arowolo, by her convicted husband who was shown on TV weeping and speaking in tongues when death sentence was also handed down to him?
If it is not cowardice or other deep seated psychological disorder, why can’t these wife/female beaters direct their anger and strength to a violent sport like boxing and get paid beating people up like Floyd Mayweather? Or go join the army and fight Boko Haram? Oh and I hear some ladies also slap their partners sometimes too when they are gravely provoked; (you know that strike across the eyes that can draw blood from long finger nails) hmmm, wife, sister, boss, old, young, male, female, transgender, pastor, priest, president or indeed any other human being of any description. Please no one should hit me o. I have kuku said my own.
So how many times would someone beat you up in a relationship before you bounce? Till you get maimed, or killed? Call me extreme, but honestly, I think once is enough. I haven’t seen any marriage vow that has a clause that says ‘I may beat you up from time to time when I am out of control’. When it happens, that is the right time to run or get to the root of the matter to ensure he/she doesn’t try it again. The way I see it, it is better to be alive and well, alone, unmarried or separated than to be disfigured or killed.
As for my relative, she did not leave her husband the next day or two as she promised at that ‘save- our -sister’ meeting. She attempted to give it ‘one more chance’ hoping like all victims of domestic violence that the abuser will change. Barely five weeks later, her husband changed slightly; for worse. The beating he gave her on Saturday May 23, 2015 almost resulted in partial paralysis. In just over one month she had been hammered severely twice. Of course the matter is with the police, and frankly, I am convinced she got the memo now.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Felix Mizioznikov