Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviour which involves the abuse by one partner against another in an intimate relationship such as marriage, cohabitation, dating or within the family. It is also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, dating abuse, and intimate partner violence (IPV).
Domestic violence can be expressed through various forms including physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person with the sole intent to intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound the person.
Cases of violence against women in Nigeria are prevalent as many women have been killed, brutalised or maimed for life by their violent male counterparts, however, women in recent years are fast taking a cue from the men. The table is turning speedily…. There is a daily increasing trend of women abusing their partners. Though it may sound funny and a little strange, it is happening day after day but unfortunately, it has largely remained under-reported.
Women are beginning to get involved in the most wicked cases of domestic violence, the only difference is that while an abused woman promptly cries out, the men shy away from speaking out. Why? Because the Nigerian society is a highly patriarchal one, in which men have bloated egos. Men are thought of as strong, domineering and macho. From their boyhood, they are told not to cry because they are males, not girls. So, the idea of a man being abused is ridiculous and such a man is seen as weak.
Husband punching, slapping, kicking, nail scratching, sex deprivation, and killing are realities that occur in Nigeria but as a result of the socio/cultural inhibitions, men who find themselves in this situation hide and do not talk openly about their experiences, as talking about it will bruise their ego and expose them to ridicule in a society designed to be controlled by them.
“I was beaten by my wife” is a misnomer! It is unheard of in a male egoistic society. Hence, such men, in order to create an impression of being in a position of authority in their families, prefer to suffer in silence, pretending that all is well until it becomes critical to the point of possible death.
The growing cases of husband battery is chiefly blamed on increasing “female superiority complex”, but aside that, several other factors have been pointed out as being responsible for domestic violence against men.
According to Ese Lucky, a health and fitness instructor;
“Such domestic violence in emotional and psychological form often occurs when a man is riddled with illness. The woman would take advantage of this by leaving him hungry or in a state of uncleanliness while seeking pleasure outside with other men. If the man attempts to react, she uses verbal abuse. The victim will have no other choice but to keep mute or risk losing the little fragments of care she shows him because he is at her mercy.
“Another cause of domestic abuse is when a man is in a state of financial incapability. The woman sees it as a liberty for her, such that she begins to wield power. The man can also lose control over his wife due to his old age. This is when an old man, in a bid to reclaim his youth, marries a young wife and he is unable to satisfy her sexually.
“The situation gets worse if the old man is sickly. She brings in lovers, resulting in domestic abuse. Alcoholics are often viewed to be violent for a man to take to physical assault on his wife. But statistics have shown that women often take advantage of men in this state to be physically and verbally abusive.
“Nagging too is a verbal abusive. It is a mentally unnerving and exhausting experience which causes rancour and bitterness in the home. In some extreme cases, it can drive a man to untimely death.”
In addition to the already mentioned forms of domestic abuse, a marriage counselor, Onyeka Nwankwo, revealed that denying your husband sex is an abuse. When a woman mocks a man’s sexual incapability, it is a form of domestic abuse. Demanding a favour before sleeping with your husband is also sexual abuse.
A number of Nigerian men have damned the circumstances and opened up about their sorry tale of how their wives served them a steaming hot portion of female brutality. While some of them were lucky to survive and tell their stories although, with missing body parts, others were not as lucky.
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Below are some of the chilling stories;
Mr. Israel Obi was a victim of hot vegetable oil bath by his wife. In his words:
“I got married to Victoria in May 2005 and settled in Odorasanya in Ijebu Igbo of Ogun State, Nigeria. It all started when my wife influenced me about our relocation to Lagos and I did not know it was the beginning of my trauma. Victoria was influenced by our new environment (hustle and bustle in Lagos) and she started coming home late from her shop.
“And anytime I cautioned my wife, she turned the situation into an argument. She changed from my loving wife to an abusive spouse calling me different names. On that fateful night, we had an intense argument, and around 1.00am, Victoria came into my room and poured hot boiling vegetable oil on me.
“It was our neighbours from the other flats that took me to the hospital and I was there for a whole month. After my discharge from the hospital, she begged for forgiveness and we came together again as husband and wife. But barely two weeks after, I was receiving a phone call from a distant aunt but she thought it was a conversation with an unknown mistress. She accused me of infidelity.
“She accused me of infidelity. She smashed the phone on the ground and started destroying the gadgets in the home. When I tried to stop her, she became more aggressive and stabbed me with a knife.”
“There was news about a man whose wife hacked to death in Ikotun, a suburb of Lagos, for speaking up against her affairs with a younger lover. Mr. Efua Omoghoti, 63, was said to have lost his first wife after 23 years of marriage. She had three boys and a girl for him. He re-married to Maggie, a younger lady. Unfortunately, their union had been saddled with issues of domestic violence and abuse.
“Residents confirmed that he had been enduring an abusive marriage where he was serially assaulted and emotionally battered by his younger wife until the last quarrel where Maggie hacked him to death in the night.
“She would insult him publicly at his shop, calling him names and telling him that she only did him a favour by marrying him at an old age. Many times, she had starved him of food and seized his mobile phones, especially when she couldn’t get enough money from him.
“When matters came to a boiling point, the man threatened to divorce her but she vowed not to leave the house. Though the lady, a mother of two, was grabbed by the long arm of the law, it would not bring the dead man back to life.”
“In another incident of domestic violence, Uwie, a community in Delta State, was woken up to the shocking news of the death of a 51-year-old lecturer, Mr. Henry Ebenuwa. He was said to have committed suicide because he could not face the public disgrace of his wife’s confession to infidelity with his close friends and relatives.
“The deceased, a father of four, was said to have been subjected to emotional trauma, physical abuse, and harassments from his wife, Omiyowa, for the better part of their marriage of ten and a half years. Fighting and verbal assault were said to have been a trademark of the troubled marriage in their early days.
“Things got worse when the husband was hit by stroke, which left him incapacitated. From then, he was said to complain about his wife’s disloyalty and infidelity. The community was awash with stories of his wife’s constant nagging and even starving him of food. When he could not face the shame and humiliation of her public escapades anymore, he allegedly ended it all.”
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A man is naturally considered to be a man if he has a ‘tail’ between his thighs. However, in this extreme case of domestic violence, Mrs. Roseline Ajene, the infuriated wife of 42-year-old John Ajene, who resides in Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State, decided to make him less a man by chopping off his manhood over an allegation of infidelity.
Eyewitnesses said that Rosaline who lives with her husband on Ojira Street Otukpo, had a few weeks ago accused him of having extra-marital affair with a young lady who lives in Sabon Gari area of the same town. Mr. Ajene who was said to be visibly enraged by the wife’s unfounded accusation beat her up mercilessly forcing residents in the neighbourhood to intervene in the ensuing skirmish.
When all seemed to have calmed down and the couple had gone to bed, the enraged wife picked up her kitchen knife and cut off her husband’s manhood while he was deeply asleep. The scream of the man woke his neighbours who rushed to his house only to discover his penis on the floor while he bled profusely; but he was rushed to a private clinic in the neighborhood where he was given medical attention.
Meanwhile, the aggrieved woman took to her heels after committing the horrible act.
For allegedly failing to provide for his family, a banker and housewife Bimbo Ajetumobi Daniju sliced off her husband, Olalekan Idowu Daniju’s manhood with a knife.
It was learned that the banker lived with her gospel singer- husband at their 99, Falolu Street, Surulere area of Lagos State. The enraged wife allegedly accused her husband of not taking care of her and their only child, Opeoluwa and waited till 2 am to “teach” her husband a bitter lesson.
Battered husbands cut across all ages, educational levels, and socioeconomic classes. Male victims of domestic violence deserve the same recognition, sympathy, support, and services as do female victims but the men must, first of all, learn to open up to someone about the abuse, whether it’s a friend, relative, health care provider or other close contacts.
At first, it might be difficult due to the male ego, but in the end, it is likely to bring about relief and the much-needed support.