Lately, the media has been filled with horrible stories of women brutally killing and maiming their husbands for various reasons. We wake up to very familiar yet disturbing stories on daily basis; the rise in spousal abuse and violence resulting in some being badly disfigured or while others meet their death.
Domestic violence or spousal killing is ugly, abusive and destroys families. It is never acceptable. It is never justifiable. Nigerians are familiar with hearing stories of a husband stabbing his wife to death, but a case where women now take laws into their hands are rampant and the trend is worrying.
Though domestic violence in Nigerian is not new, but social media has conspired with the digital age to give the horrors of abuse more prominence in this generation. Statistics show that at least every year in the United States, 1,000 to 1,600 women die at the hands of their male partners, often after a long, escalating pattern of battering.
Amnesty International (2007) stated that a third of women in Nigeria are believed to have been subjected too physical, sexual and psychological violence carried out primarily by husbands, partners, and fathers. And while women, men, boys, and girls can be victims of domestic violence, women and girls are disproportionally affected.
Intimate partner abuse is a behavior, attitude, and belief in which a partner in an intimate relationship attempts to maintain power and control over the other through the use of psychological, physical, and /or sexual coercion (WHO 1997).
About two in five victims of domestic violence also known as intimate partner violence are men, says a study by Men’s Right Campaign Parity Group.
In faraway India, a Nigerian couple, Izu and Uzuma, were live-in lovers for over a year but one day they had an argument and Uzuma who is 24 allegedly stabbed her 30-year-old businessman boyfriend to death.
In Rivers state, a middle-aged man identified as Ude Sebastine allegedly murdered his wife, Abigail in cold blood after both of them engaged in a midnight quarrel.
On August 20, 2017 an auxiliary nurse, Folashade Idoko, reportedly stabbed her husband, Lawrence Idoko, to death. Neighbors alleged that the woman had abused her husband for years.
Just a few weeks back, the story of Bilyamin Bello, son of the former national chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Haliru Bello, went viral. He was allegedly stabbed to death by his wife Maryam Sanda. The judge ordered her to be remanded in Prison and adjourned until December 7, 2017.
Once upon a time, women used to be objects of such physical abuse. They have learned to hit back. Today, not only women are victims of domestic violence, men are becoming victims too. Domestic violence on men, as well as on women, could take various forms, including emotional, physical and sexual abuse.
Some could be experiencing violence when their partners call them names. They act jealously and constantly accuse each other of unfaithfulness. Gradually they threaten themselves with violent weapons, then one thing leads to the other, something bad happens.In the case of wives who kill their husbands, available research indicates that two-thirds of cases are motivated by a desire for revenge for the husband being unfaithful.
Looking at the recent situations, it is evident that one of the major causes of domestic violence is the failure of married couples to know how to handle their differences. Many couples do not have conflict management skills at all. So, they resort to fists of fury.
Isolation from support structures is another cause of domestic violence. Some go to live abroad in order to get better economic opportunities. The isolation makes couples very vulnerable because they have no one to turn to.
Lack of pre-marital counseling. Too many young people get into marriage without pre-marital counseling. When their anger explodes, they go from fists to blunt objects, to knives, and whatever they can lay their hands on.
Many women who resort to violence are themselves victims of abuse and have been unable to find justice through the legal system.
what could be the cause of women killing their husbands and vice versa, Mr Martha, a civil servant said it is a result of impatience.
‘’I can’t speak for them because I don’t know what they have gone through, but no matter what must have happened between them, it is better to remain clean.
‘’What I mean is, if you are tired of the relationship or marriage, just walk out, leave the marriage instead of committing murder that will hunt you for the rest of your life.
‘’This new generation is something else. My grandfather married ten wives and they lived a normal life.
‘’Those days, only wealthy men could afford to many women, Islam permits men to marry more than one wife but Christians do it too.
‘’The rate at which women take laws into their hands is scaring me, I just pray for God’s mercy.’’
A businessman, Musa Salisu believes it is a sign of the end of the world and only needs God’s interventions.
‘’As a Muslim, you know whatever you are seeing on earth today you can trace it back to the Holy Quran, it’s also in the bible.
‘’It is just an element that the world is coming to an end. If not, a man or a woman that you choose among the million people on earth to be your life partner, you end up killing that person? That is just crazy.
He, however, added that family is not a contract; it is a lifetime business.
‘’We just need prayers, there is nothing God cannot fix.’’
Mr Abdul, who was carrying a black briefcase and also some folders, was in a hurry, hastily said women aren’t contented.
‘’It is simply lack of something doing and lack of contentment with women.’’
It is high time the government takes up the issue of domestic violence very seriously. It is said to be a health problem.
Health workers need to be trained on how to evaluate and deal with mental health issues associated with domestic violence, which is now growing immensely in Nigeria.
Violence against both genders is not inevitable. The same way perpetrators and even societies choose to commit violence, they can choose to stop.
The federal government, as well as law enforcement agencies and the judiciary, should live up to their responsibility of protecting lives by making sure there is improved access to justice and that perpetrators are brought to book.
Marriage is not a walk in the park but one should know when to take a bow out of a bad marriage or a relationship.
When someone feels his/her life is threatened the easy way is to walk out. Life is precious, there are always other options out of that marriage and murder is not one.