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Olajumoke Awosemo: It is Also Called ‘Abuse’



Once a hidden crime, the issue of domestic violence has become increasingly put into limelight. Despite the media attention, activities of focus groups and government’s efforts, domestic violence rate is constantly rising and many victims still find it difficult to speak out about their abusive situations. According to the government data, less than half of all incidents of domestic violence are reported to the police, but they still receive one domestic violence call every minute in the UK.

In Nigeria, where there is a dearth of statistical data regarding sensitive issues such as this, there is a high rate of domestic violence and the abusers often get away with this inhumane act. In fact, the shame behind being abused by a partner is so much that several victims just hide it and attribute any visible scar to a home accident of some sort.

However, the focus of this article is not only on the physical form of domestic violence. Although, physical abuse is the most visible form of abuse, it is not always physical.

There are several other forms of domestic violence:

Verbal abuse is a bigger problem that we often think. When people talk about domestic violence, we tend to picture a battered woman (or man in some rare cases) who have been physically assaulted. However, many suffer from emotional abuse, which is no less destructive. This form of abuse is often minimized or overlooked- even by the victim. The aim of emotional abuse is to chip away at their victim’s feelings of self-worth and independence by using- yelling, name calling, blaming, isolation and all forms of verbal lash out. Words hurt much more than sticks some times. For example, telling the partner over and over again “no one else would have you” or repeatedly calling the partner “stupid” or “worthless”

Emotional/Psychological Abuse: Emotional abuse is any use of no words, no voice and no action; meant to hurt or demean another person. This type of abuse is more difficult to define and identify than physical or verbal abuse. The abuser makes sure to act as normal when a third party is around and immediately switches back to the silent mode as soon as the coast is clear. Emotional abuse of this sort, if repeated, often leads to depression and self-destruction. Survey shows that 25% of suicides are as a result of victim suffering tortures of emotional abuse from family and friends.

In the part of the world where I hail from, husbands often assume that a matured way of ‘punishing’ a woman for a wrong doing is by the silent treatment. This goes on for a while. Bear in mind that I am not referring to the ‘silence is golden’ type of silence.  I am on about the one we call ‘marital malice’

Economic or financial abuse: This is a subtle form of emotional abuse. The ultimate aim of an abuser is to control their victim and money is always a powerful tool to use. The most common instances include—not declaring one’s actual salary; hiding capital projects from spouse; withholding money or credit cards; making your spouse account for every penny they spend; withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medications, shelter); restricting the spouse to an unrealistically meagre allowance, regardless of inflation or increase in the cost of living; preventing spouse from working or choosing their own career; sabotaging a spouse’s job (deliberately making them miss work, calling constantly). The list is not exhaustive.

Sexual abuse: Any situation in which anyone is forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse. Forced sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner is an act of aggression and violence. Statistics have shown that, people whose partners abuse them physically and sexually are at a higher risk of being seriously injured or killed. Other common examples of sexual abuse includes–demeaning remarks about the partner’s body or appearance; minimization of the partner’s sexual needs; berating a partner’s sexual history; refusing to comply with the partner’s request for safe sex; exposing the partner to sexually transmitted diseases; withholding sex as a punishment.

So dear abuser, whichever chromosome group you may belong?  Albeit XX or XY, try not to be judgmental when you hear about physical abuse, you just might be guilty of some other sort of less publicized form of victimization yourself.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Sam74100

Olajumoke Awosemo is an HR Professional, a Personal Shopper and a Self-Developed writer. Her interest in writing focuses mainly on relationships, marriage and related issues but sometimes touches on other current issues. She is a wife, a mother and jointly manages a relationship blog with her husband at She also runs her personal shopper business at"


  1. bruno

    October 7, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    ” When people talk about domestic violence,
    we tend to picture a battered woman (or man in
    some rare cases)”

    dear writer what do u mean by “in some rare cases”
    many wives/girlfriends break bottle on their boyfriend’s or husbands head, many women stab their husbands/boyfriends. their boyfriends or husbands dont run to the police to report when such incident happens, they dont go on facebook or Twitter to whine and bitch about the incident that’s why people like u think domestic voilence against men happens in some rare cases.
    if men really came out to speak about voilence they receive from their wife/girlfriend u will be shocked with the numbers. most men just like to forget about it unlike u women who will bitch and whine about it as if u are the only victims.

    afterall the case about on air personality freeze, how many people believed him when he said he was a victim of domestic violence. even after he showed us gruesome pictures.

    the same thing goes for rape. many of u women believe its only women that can be raped which is false.

    dear writer pls speak intelligently when talking about important topics like domestic violence. I can tell u are the kind of woman who will blame men for everything wrong in her life.

    • Cindy

      October 7, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      @bruno I looked at @PaulBabalola’s comment below, then I looked at your comment again. I must say that even though the two of you were making the same point, yours came out as very unintelligent. Learn to communicate properly dear. You really need it.

    • Tanya

      October 8, 2015 at 10:40 am

      “if men really came out to speak about voilence they receive from their wife/girlfriend u will be shocked with the numbers.”

      How would the writer know about male abuse if they don’t come out? How is that her fault since like you said and I paste:
      ” most men just like to forget about it unlike u women who will bitch and whine about it as if u are the only victims.”

      You should encourage men to report such cases not blame the rest of the public for not knowing about these unreported, undocumented cases. But I guess not since you see women who come out and report and seek help as bitching and whining. It will be well with you Bruno… I guess you just talk this way to get attention. Careful, your 15mins are almost up!

  2. MEE

    October 7, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Verbal abuse…(shout out to my ex), I escaped in good time 😀
    Anyway, I don’t think domestic violence is increasing, in my opinion, it has always been there, just not out in public. We are just getting a better view of it with social media. In Naija (talking from my experience), no one wants to admit that their husband, wife, bf, gf, father, mother etc abuses them. The one that gets me the most is when they accept it in order not to tarnish the image of their family.

  3. Nahum

    October 7, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Psychological, emotional and financial abuse are the most common forms of abuse in Nigeria. Most men who pride themselves on not being abusive, practice one or more forms of abuse on their significant others. I can honestly say that if Nigerian women are totally honest, 50% or more are in abusive relationships. Our culture encourages the abuse of our women.

  4. Paul Babalola

    October 7, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Abuse be it physical or psychological is not good. Statistically speaking, women are in the upper percentile but if men should reele out their own stories then people will change their perception of domestic abuse. Both men and women abuse their principal partner but the society has gagged the men from talking because they will be labeled as cowards.

    • papermoon

      October 8, 2015 at 10:10 am

      How has “society gagged” the men from talking? probably its their own “FEAR OF WHAT PEOPLE MAY SAY” rather than someone preventing them. I may be wrong. Men and women are abused and thats a fact, but it was quite rampant for the police to tell a woman who reports domestic abuse that she should go home and sort it out since it was “a family issue”. I will very much like to hear from any man who was actively or constructively prevented from reporting his abuse. It will be interesting to know what he was told, or how it was done.

    • ElessarisEllendil

      October 8, 2015 at 10:55 am

      Also statistically the rate of Men committing suicide worldwide is trending higher everyday, but receives less press. All you need to know about society’s attitude on the issue is to read comments on male suicides over romantic problems. The bias is saddening!

  5. my story

    October 7, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    My story
    I have gone through all kinds of abuse, just name it but the worse was financial abuse from my hubby.
    For the first four years of my marriage i couldn’t find my feet career wise but i knew i wanted to be a Project Manager someday in the oil and gas sector.I was already a project planner(little experience from a baby company).
    The Financial Abuse Story;
    I cant even remember most of how it happened again
    -you would write down all you need on a list,then give it to hubby for APPROVAL
    the list could include pencil-100naira,sanitary pad,dstv ,fuel,tomatoes 200 naira,pepper 100 etc
    He would approve the ones he felt like, according to his mood.Whenever i question his fidelity(Condoms everywhere)he would so punish me eh.
    First he would seize his car keys from me(My daughter’s school wasn’t far from the house,so thank God)
    Second,no money for that period,i would not even be able to afford my body cream,soap,sanitary,make my hair.Whenever i ask for a little money for shopping like 20,000naira,he would ask if i have ever worked for money before.
    One day my mum came visiting and broke down in tears when she saw me(Unkempt was an understatement).She said she didn’t see me through school to end up this way.So finally one day he promised he would me giving me some money monthly for my upkeep,He never gave me the money by hand,instead he would send the money to his sister in another state,(she worked for him)so the sister would send the money to me and call it salary lol..The married sister became in charge of my monthly upkeep money.
    I knew it was enough,picked my CV,edited,went for some more training….Non stop submission of my CV,non stop interviews,i got a job in the oil and gas sector.
    My first salary was 375,000 naira after tax.The first salary i received made me run mad,i walked from one end of my estate to another and i kept talking to myself
    So am not a fool?
    So am not stupid?
    so i have value?
    So someone can pay me for my services?
    My hubby always made me feel worthless and would remind me that i would hardly be of value to anyone.
    Now he is being apologetic saying he treated me in such manner to bring out the best in me.
    I have forgiven him but can’t love him anymore.
    Everyone should do something for herself please i beg you.

    • Oluwatoyin

      October 7, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      Wow! Your story is so touching! I applaud you for picking yourself up and refusing to let his harsh words become your reality. Keep excelling dear one! Keep rising!

    • Taiwo

      October 8, 2015 at 9:04 am

      Wow!! I’m crying here!! So glad you made it.

    • Gold digging girls, come and learn

      October 8, 2015 at 9:07 am

      sorry o my story

      I hope the gold digging girls learn something from this

      You must marry the one who has billions while you have nothing yourself.
      Hope he doesnt treat you this way?

      When girls depend on men for everything, this is what happens

  6. Olu

    October 7, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    Abused men do not speak out because we would laugh at them.

    Both sexes are abused.

    You shower ur man with curses and abuses everyday and you think you’ve not done anything wrong.
    You demonize your husband in front of your children or hide your ex’s love from your joint kids and you still feel like a saint.

    Abuse is not only physical ……and it is brushed aside when the male is on the receiving end.

  7. Just that?

    October 8, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Weldone Olajumoke

    I thought i would see other examples and scenario about abuse in work place, church/mosque, on the streets and all that.

    Must it always be about relationship/husband and wife?

    Shows what goes on in the mind of an average girl is marriage/relationship

    • Ephi

      October 8, 2015 at 11:57 am

      I agree, there is a whole lot of abuse going on in the workplace – it’s not just relationships.

  8. B

    October 8, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    It is extremely important that as a single lady planning on getting married, you pray about the traits you do not want in your husband, NOW while you are waiting!

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