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    Friday, November 24, 2017

    Violence against Women: The Dangers of Domestic Abuse

    By Salim Yunusa

    The world we live in today never ceases to amaze me. Every blessed day seems to usher in new trends across all aspects of life - good and bad ones. What has been keeping my thoughts preoccupied these days is the resurgence of an ugly, ancient and barbaric trend that I thought has been left in the last century and believed to have been gone with the wind. It is none other than the disheartening, disturbing issue of wife battery. How vile and repulsive is it that violence against women is alive and well in our society? Writing this feels more like an obligation, rather than simply penning down my thoughts on it.

    All my life, I've considered women to be sacred beings - everything about them. I've always marveled and wondered from where the amazing strength women have comes from.

    No, I'm not only talking about the successful business moguls, entertainers, politicians, diplomats, inventors, writers etc; I'm talking about the common housewife, the widow with kids, the house help, the market women, the millions of women out there that do what has to be done to survive and cater for themselves and others. I'm talking about the thousands of women out there breaking barriers and making a change in their homes, community and the world at large. I'm talking about women who braced all odds to see that they are heard and that their demands are met. I'm talking about all the women who live ordinary lives - doing extraordinary things. 

    By mere looking at the lives of women, I see and learn precious lessons every single day and time; ranging from their mind-blowing endurance and resilience in the face of virtually everything, to strong determination that is worthy of emulation by all, to passion for progress and development, to have patience that is unquantifiable, to breaking new barriers I never thought they could be broken - even by their male counterparts. In women, I see the past, the present and the future. The most important person in any person's life (including mine) is a mother, so that helps I guess. In women, I see fearlessness, I see strength, I see empowerment, I see evolution, I see transformation, I see.......!

    I pity, fear, respect, reserve and celebrate women and womanhood. Therefore, it infuriates me and also breaks my heart every single time I hear that a woman has been battered.

    The moment I hear about wife battery, I think of the sacred trust, the acceptance and the promise that was entrusted by both the woman and her parents to a husband being violated, compromised and broken. The very moment I hear that a man struck his wife; my perception of that person changes from a man to a monster. I've never, even for a fraction of a second, considered men who beat their wives as strong men, but rather cowardly men. A man that intimidate, harasses, degrades, assaults, batters, insults,  belittles and shouts at his wife - or any other woman for that matter - is less of a man to me than an aborted male fetus.

    When a man ties the nuptials, a sacred bond entwines the two to become one. The holy, sacred union is the peak of showing love and affection for one another. It means and proves that they not only love and cherish each other, but accept each other for the way they are and have understood their differences and are ready to live with each other for better or for worse. It signifies that they complement and complete each other. Therefore, it doesn't only shock me, but also addles my brains on why on earth a man will forget all these and strike his woman.

    In a typical African – and by extension, Nigerian setting, a woman not only drops her last name for a man, but also bears the children in the family, takes care of the home, sometimes caters for the family and does many other things to keep things up and running. It is therefore surprising to see a man that forgets all that and treats her in a degrading, dehumanizing way.

    True, nobody's perfect; everyone has his/her own tiny little flaw or flaws. We all make mistakes and do things that we regret once in a while. Even between the tongue and the teeth there's misunderstanding at times. But that does not give anyone the right to lose his head and beat anyone. We know that dialogue is the best way to approach any problem; regardless of whether it's marital or any other form of problem.

    One of the causes of this menace in our contemporary society is not knowing the value of women. We live in a time where some men marry just to satisfy their sexual lust, the importance of marriage and the value of women is not appreciated. More often than not, the woman who marries that kind of man is less appreciated when she starts bearing the fruits of the womb and becomes less attractive in the eyes of the man. Subsequently, she'd become annoying to him and one day he'd strike her. Parents and young ladies should be careful with whom they trust their lives and daughters with. Any man worthy of marrying anyone must be responsible, God-fearing, patient, understanding and loving. This we must ensure.

    Another stumbling block in eroding this problem in this remote corner of our society is the issue of forced marriages. It is an inevitable recipe for disaster when a woman is given out to someone she doesn't love. There'd be misunderstandings, fights and many things that will provoke the husband into 'dealing' with the wife in the name of "discipline". I'm sure most of you have read once or twice in our national dailies how these marriages end in either the death of one of the spouses or dissolution in courts due to physical and emotional abuse. Although, parents should do all they can in helping their daughters choose responsible spouses, no woman should be coerced or forced into a marriage she doesn’t want. Forced marriages should be abolished and criminalized by law.

    Parents also have their fair share of blame. They spend more time in prepping their daughters on being perfect wives while unknowingly neglecting their sons to become monsters who beat women. In an environment where immorality is thriving, parents should give their children the best of manners and monitor who their wards befriend. Also with the parents is the responsibility of teaching them what's right or wrong and teaching them about life in general. A saying goes "when a man treats his woman like a princess, it only proves that he was raised by a queen".

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