Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Domestic Violence is beyond Single Vs Married

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Earlier this morning, my Buzz timeline showed one of my media sites' report on the man who killed and dismembered his wife of 2 years. It was so upsetting for me that I tweeted a bit about it about how it seemed that some things were changing for the worse in Naija these days.

During my rounds, I found that Kemi of Till my Dying Day blogged of the shocking news in a post titled In Defense of....
Someone somewhere wrote about this story and understandably tied the tragedy in with "marriage people". I understand the intention and stemming from reports that this particular marriage had had a history of violence and physical abuse, I get it. Nonetheless, my reaction is to say wait a minute, not all marriage is bad.

She goes on to defend marriage, and from what she wrote, I get her stand, and even support it to some extent. However, I think it is such defense that will keep the lines drawn between us women. IMHO, the "We against Them" mentality is not very helpful. My thoughts -

Is there a societal pressure in Nigeria to get and stay married? Yes. Is it ONLY in Nigeria? No.

Was there a history of DV in this case? Yes. Are we CERTAIN marital abuse lead to this death? No.

Does DV happen in marriages? Yes. Does it happen ONLY in marriages? No.

Domestic Violence is not about marriage because unmarried people have been attacked and killed in domestic situations. And while it disproportionately affects women, it's also not about gender because men have been victims of DV.

I believe DV is about power and anger management. So whether one is married or single, male or female, they have to be self-aware and protect themselves. If you find yourself in long heated arguments with loved ones and family (even colleagues), please walk away. Don't be a victor, don't be a victim. You could be finished (in jail or psych ward) or you could be dead. There is no winner.

My long comment on Kemi's post is below.

I read the news on a tell-all blog, and was shocked. I think those blaming 'marriage people' are of course entitled to their opinion, but I will not dignify them with a rebuttal.

The report said that the man appeared mentally deranged, and I'm guessing he became unhinged while in a fracas with the wife. This is an issue we hear a lot of hear in America, where sociopaths and psychopaths kidnap, murder and dismember even babies and children. While it used not to be common in Nigeria, the more western the naija society becomes, the more prevalent such mental health issues may become.

Bad things happen in all relationships. The man could have been her father, brother, friend, boyfriend, colleague, etc. Women are generally - in naija as well as other countries - physically weaker, and therefore prone to be the victims of attacks or abuse, domestic or otherwise. We all heard of a senator that was slapped within the halls of the Nigerian national assembly. We should make ourselves strong, physically and mentally, so as to recognize and get out of potentially dangerous situations, or defend ourselves to the best of our ability.

Let us not make this a married Vs single, or even a gender debate, it is about health and safety. Children are most times even more vulnerable than women. The report did not say anything about the daughter, and I hope she's OK.

My thoughts on DV for both married and single(in a r/ship) women: Get out, Get therapy/help, and if necessary, Stay out. Divorce is an option.

May the woman's soul rest in peace.


picture via crisis support @


  1. This is true.
    Being married does not expose one to DV.
    Being single does not prevent one from DV.

  2. Its amazing people will even choose to focus on the married vs single angle. There are enough traffic stories from both sides of the fence.

    I agree with you on how it seems a lot of things are taking a turn for the worse in Naija. It's heartbreaking.

  3. I totally agree with this post because as you said, even unmarried people are involved in domestic violence. I did not hear about the senator slapping incident. I'm guessing it was a female senator that was slapped?

    When i first read this story i was strangely numb. I didn't feel anything or have any reaction which is weird for me. It seems like i've heard this story many times but now it's occurring in naija. The world is going mad.

    Divorce is definitely an option and i'm a firm believer in that.

  4. I agree wih H,I have friend the BF has turned her to a boxing partner,so tey them dey use pestle bbut talk to her she will tel yhu they are in love,I can't even stand a slap talk more DV
    Divorce is definitely an option
    true post.

  5. ......My thoughts on DV for both married and single(in a r/ship) women: Get out, Get therapy/help, and if necessary, Stay out. Divorce is an option....
    u said it all!

  6. Why do people think DV happens only in marriages? It may be a lot more frequent there, but that's not the only place at all. I think women who entertain relationships (of any kind) where they are beaten have low self-esteem issues. They have to be proactive and leave!!!


  7. Its really sad and you're so on point with Naija. That said, there should be a greater awareness for women and men on issues bordering DV. Self confidence and validation is very necessary in the fight against it.It's not just peculiar with married people but also singles. Some singles even endure it till they get married; you'll wonder why they didn't up and leave when the commitment hadn't reached 'for better or worse'

  8. I`m disappointed & Sad coz this is not a new topic.The worse part is that those who are suppose to put a stop to DV are mostly the culprits here..guess this is 1 of the many days you can`t raise your head and call yourself a man.There Still are a good few men. Wish i could say sorry on behalf of my fellow men but what good is it??? We are the same people who sit and say things about women who decide to remain single till they die. why won`t they??? The better be alone than be used as a punching bag or shooting Target. This is Sad. To all the victims i say sorry,especially those that have died in the name of LOVE.

  9. Sigh....
    I wish I could say I didn't know about this topic thou alas it would be a lie as it is my field of work.

    Domestic Violence covers the globe, it connects us in that it exists in every nation, ethncity, culture, socio-economic class, gender, religion regardless of relationship status. In my field of work I provide professionally trained language interpreters to the shelters, lawyers, the domestic violence courts and many other agencies for women fleeing domestic violence in over 85 languages. My phone never stops ringing, the requests for services range in the 600's+ per month.

    People often want to caterogize and label specific communities to adhere stereotypes where they can say "those people" and are surprised by my response--its universal, it spans the spectrum, I provide services in 85 languages and that is not touching the English speakers who are victims of domestic violence.

    Violence is not about love, its about power and control and it is never ok and any circumstance or situation, there is never a justification.

    there was a case years ago in the U.S. where a husband beat his wife in front of the police until her nose flew off her face. The brutality of violence against women (and some men) is truly horrifying with deverstating impact that all to often leads to death.

    Most not understanding the complexities of violence/domestic violence often blame the victims and that blame often manifests in questions such as "why didn't she leave." or statements like "she must have liked it because she stayed."

  10. I get it this sort of thing is not usual in Nigeria...annoying is the way people seem to have tied the story around marriage and all.

    DV is not tied to marriage neither is it a woman is the only victim thingy.

    We just need to be able to defend ourselves and if not please work out of such scene if you get the opportunity.

    Only a deranged man, commits murder and is found on the scene...a normal mad would have disappeared since.

  11. Well, while its not a single vs married women issue per se, we cant deny the fact that DV is higher in married women cause the same society that insists that marriage is the be all and end all, expects you to 'stay married' for better for worse. Compounded by lack of psychiatric, legal or police recourse this may become a common trend in Nigeria. Westerners have all this support and yet remain victims, Nigerian women don't even have 10% of that. It's really heartbreaking.

  12. Domestic violence really disturbs me because it affects all of us - regardless of age, education, occupation, faith, etc. I like that more Africans are willing to speak openly against it and more families are moving away from just telling their daughters to deal with it coz that's part of the relationship package.

    DV is about power and control, and should never be confused for love. Your partner doesn't beat you or insult because he/she loves you. I wish more people had the courage to walk away and seek help.

  13. This is a brilliantly written article. Much needed. Thank you.

  14. I'm impressed by this article and it was well written.

  15. i agree with you myne. DV doesn't only happen in a marriage or to women either. My friend once told me of a roommate who got beatings from her bf on a reg. its just that most times, the stories we hear of involve marriages. women are also at the receiving end most of the time hence d perception.

  16. true, tho sometimes its as a result of quick temper. i think men should learn to control their temper. btw, i dont think africans/nigerians consider divorce as an option. i've witnessed a case where the wife refused to leave her husband, even tho he was maltreating her. she said she'd keep to her vows of "for better for worse till death do us path" that case, what was one supposed to do..anyways,

  17. DV has eaten into so many homes and so many lives have been lost as a result of that.
    My mom lost her best friend while we were growing up, to DV: her husband beat her severely and locked her inside her bed room only for neighbours to find her corpse. And nothing was done. How women keep up with men who beat them up at the slightest provocation is beyond me.
    Nice Article Myne.

  18. Myne,this story on DV is a rather sad and irksome one. But marriage was and is and always will b GODS IDEA for man and woman as a picture of Him and the church. So singles shouldn't make marriage look like a horror and i'm not trying to put singles down. Its good to be single and very honorable to marry and marry RIGHT.

    Marriage was made and is still honorable above all,and so many are enjoying the bliss that God made through this union. Anyone who has turned his/her marriage to a battle ground is not fulfilling God's mind for marriage and this is truth...when we submit to God's instructions(dropping our human and fleshy tendency),we would ENJOY marriage.
    Am i saying we wont have differences? No. we must differ to agree cos we come from different backgrounds and beliefs.Then,we must outgrow all of that to make our marriages work.

    DV Myne has said and i have seen doesn't happen only in marriage o

    "Bad things happen in all relationships. The man could have been her father, brother, friend, boyfriend, colleague, etc. Women are generally - in naija as well as other countries - physically weaker, and therefore prone to be the victims of attacks or abuse, domestic or otherwise."

    DV may seem magnified in some marriages for those violent ones who resort to shutting a woman up by beating her but in my growing years,i saw DV happen among siblings,tenants and landlords,neighbors etc .And this same siblings,tenants etc become husbands etc-carrying their baggage into marriage without dealing with the childhood flaws.

    In my opinion and in God's word,MARRIAGE IS GOOD,HOLY,HONORABLE, and PLEASING to GOD. Let us marry the one God has given to us and WORK OUT OUR MARRIAGES(like our salvation) to please the ONE who originated marriage and I CHOOSE to stick by this principles.

  19. Myne, I have read your post and all the comments before mine. DV truely is a big issue in naija.

    95% of the time (my estimation), women and children are on the recieving end. There is also a portion (5%- still my estimation) of abuse that goes to the men usually in verbal forms, sometimes physical from their wives, and some few girl friends.

    If there will be a jail term for any form of abuse including sexual abuse, I beleive that the trend will be checked. Only then will people value/see the need for anger management classes, they will get regular check on their mental health and victims of abuse including rape victims will speak up and get justice.

  20. Domestic Violence is so real and even though some people will like to deny it, it happens more often than it should. We should try to put a stop to it

  21. DV is everywhere! Even here in NZ, you get the news of a father keeping her daughter in a house for years without letting her out until reports reached the police. Mentally derailed people can do anything... it is not a question of marriage... it is a question of the people involved - father, mother, man or woman... May God save our generation.

    - LDP

  22. I love the words of enybees - hub! Great truth!

    "MARRIAGE IS GOOD,HOLY,HONORABLE, and PLEASING to GOD. Let us marry the one God has given to us and WORK OUT OUR MARRIAGES(like our salvation) to please the ONE who originated marriage and I CHOOSE to stick by this principles."

    God bless you Enybees!

  23. Great point Ms Myne, I find it difficult to believe that 100% of the time, abuse starts after marriage. I think some people decide to live through abuse with the hope that they can change a guy, which isn't the case. A guy that finds it okay to hit you while you are "just dating" will be more inclined to do it when you are married to him.

  24. I agree with you, Myne. DV is not a married vs single debate neither is it a male vs female issue. There are also other kinds of abuse that can destroy lives too.

    Mental health issues are growing in Nigeria and need to be tackled. These days a mad man/woman wears a suit and works in an office.

    People need to be more aware and seek help but the stigma attached to mental health problems still looms large of Nigerian society.


  25. DV happens everywhere.. and I agree.. marriage doesn't equal DV, and being single doesn't prevent it..

    Even tho I believe that marriage should be "till death do couples part" in this case I agree that DIVORCE IS AN OPTION.. almost like the only one

    May we not fall into the wrong hands ..

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. sometimes, I feel like these mental issues have been happening in Nigeria for long tho..

    the man or woman might not cut his/her parthner in pieces but people do crazy things. I will say many abused people in "traditional" countries won't speak up.. their voice are being held and I think that needs to be addressed to help prevent Domestic and Family Violence

    p.s. I always planned writing about this.. will do soon

  28. very sad story...
    Nigeria though has had a few sick things happening in it for a while, it was just nicely swept under the carpet. It is just that the more western we get, the thinner the carpet becomes and the easier it is for the nasties to get exposed.

  29. Reading this sort of brought a case I can very well relate to, to mind. Your comment on the blog in reply to her post said it all. I think the best thing as you said is to walk away in times of aggravation. But in a case where it can't be avoided(Father to child), only God can intervene o.

  30. This is an important issue to know about and I think you said it well. Thank you.

  31. en who raise their hands on women are cowards.A woman shouldn't find it difficult to walk out on such man.It is just disheartening to know that very good women are caught up with such deuce bags!

  32. This is just too sad! When will people learn that violence doesn't solve anything? Gosh! I hate to see that at this age and time, people are still so ignorant up to the extent that they can't control their anger. It shows nothing except the level of one's primitive form and mentality. SMH!!

    p:s I tagged you on the sunshine award at my blog :)

  33. Thank you all so much for the comments. I've not been replying cos I think this is more food for thought for all of us than anything else. I appreciate the different POVs.

    @MsJB, coming over to check it out now. Thank you!

  34. You are so right Myne. Divorce IS an option. We so easily forget. A friend of mine just separated from her spouse and she has gotten several phone calls telling her that as Nigerians we just do not do "that".

    It would appear that we are more comfortable with keeping up appearances than with dealing with the issues that relationships ( with anyone - husband, brother, child, sister, friend) throw up.

    Violence in any relationship is totally unacceptable.

  35. Ahh finally!!! Someone gets it. Thank you Myne!

    Violence doesn't know any status/sex/race e.t.c, it is about power and irresponsibility as you have rightly written.

    Back to marriage, Divorce is not an option one should take lightly, but it is an option all the same especially when the other option is death.

    When two people take a vow and one person breaks his/her own part, the other person is free to walk, shikena.

  36. This is so true. Domestic Violence or Violence in general does not really have anything to do with whether one is an adult, or child; male or female; married or not. Sadly though, it is a reflection of our society. Each person has to take the responsibility for his or herself. It's high-time we let go of some mentalities. Sometimes, it's good to get it into our brains that it's OKAY to walk away. Seek help, SPEAK OUT! Violence doesn't just start one day, I know that, it's usually a cycle that continues. It won't stop until there is intervention, and if there is no prompt intervention, life is at stake. Thanks for speaking on this.

  37. Just walk away!

    Domestic (Not Marriage) violence is not gender specific and has neither race nor creed but is more prevalent than is reported and ultimately destructive.

    It is terrible and I agree that nobody should either be a victor or a victim in DV!

  38. When there is a problem as rampant and disturbing as DV, it is sad when people whittle it down to one basic stereotype and speak against the victims. It happens in so many ways, so many different circumstances. And abusers often set it up so their victim has no recourse. A friend of mine stayed in an abusive marriage for years and years, because she lived in a small town, he had isolated her from family and friends, and he was an officer in that town, so she felt she could not safely go to the local police. What do you do then? It's not about courage.

    Tina @ Life is Good
    and I are joining forces in another challenge. We're going to visit and comment at each of the participants, starting with the reflections post. We hope you'll join us!

    Shannon @ The Warrior Muse

  39. Don't have much to say 'cos every opinion under the sun has been xpressed and a lot of the opinions are salient, valid and provokes serious thoughts. I will come from another angle. I advocate that women/ girls should get themselves trained in the art of judo/ taekwando so that they can fight back physically too! If you challenge a bully and fight back, the bullying ceases bc all bullies are cowards! It's only a bullying coward who fights another person who is obviously weaker!

    I once heard a true life story of a woman, who was also a victi of repeated domestic assault. One day, she decides to fight back only to discover that she was the stronger one! Guess what? The tables were reversed from that day-she began to dictate to him! While I do not advocate DV in any form- whether it is the man perpertrating it or the woman, I do advocate that our girls/women should go for basic training in self defense, then the men will think twice before they strike!

  40. You've got point, Myne. Marriage only provides a ready platform for those heinous tendencies we often fail to check as at when due! platform for those heinous tendencies we often fail to check as at when due!

  41. I first read about this in MENA... am not FB i said..i don't care or wants to know who is to be blamed...the man committed murder & the laws of the land should judge him!

    DV is not restrained to a particular gender/status/group.. even children are also involved! Boyfriends do beat their galfriends, siblings beat their younger ones, parents beat's just unfortunate emphasis is laid more on married couples becox they are kind of in the 'limelight' or should i say all eyes are on them?

  42. Lovely post. And I agree absolutely, Myne. DV isn't restricted to when people say their "I Dos". I have a friend who was constantly pummeled by her boyfriend back in the university. DV is everywhere.

  43. How true and how very sad! DV isn't restricted to when people say their "I Dos". It is everywhere. Parents beating kids like goats, children pounding on siblings with the intention of hurting, couples fighting each other, boyfriends and girlfriends... It is amazing.
    Well done, Myne.

  44. You are right on all you have said, Myne. Domestic abuse isn't restricted to marriages. It is a pathetic fact of life.
    When we heard about this incident, we were as jolted as everyone was. Yesterday, we heard about a woman that killed her husband, on twitter via @lindaikeji.
    We agree with all the comments that have been made.
    Question is, "what is to be done?"

  45. Totally agree with you Myne ! If you feel there's hope for the relationship work on it from a safe location not in the same house with the person using you as a punching bag.... I had a post on my old blog about a lady in my church who's a victim of this, but has chosen to stay with the man despite it. Some people even advised her saying, "it's not every time a man will love his wife" and that "God hates divorce", and "She should pray, that God will change the man" Ummm my opinion - leave, run, flee - pray from a safe location... #thatisall

  46. Marriage does not change people. Marriage only brings out what they have always been in the first place. If s/he hits you once, s/he will hit you again and it will only build up with time.

  47. Thank God, I've never been in a domestic violent situation. I feel for women in such situations.

  48. Very well said Myne

    My friend was in a violent relationship with her ex's before landing this mab. As in back in uni I have been in a room where he was raping her (they said it wasnt my business) yet she was in tears.

    Domestic violence irks me to the last and most of my blogs have been on this topic

    Myne sorry for the length.

    A lady from an arguably less prosperous country than Nigeria told me this.

    1. In marriage the ladies are so poor they literally have nowhere to turn to and so stay on in the marriage hoping for the best but far so ofetn beaten and raped

    2. There is nothing as shameful (in African parlance) than being an unmarried woman, worse yet not even a mum. so people do all sorts to get married.

    I for instance used to be carefree and have interests in the arts oarticularly operas...and on a good day naybe attempt camping it but now that am back in Lagos my life is a misery as they keep reminding me of the failure and damnable sinner i have become by being single with no child

    Apologies for the length and I hope I didnt divert too much from the core of the discussion but I have been up all night for 3 days now in tears seeking options to this pain so my thoughts may not be all together coherent. forgive mexxxx

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