Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Victims Speak Out - Eliminating Domestic Violence

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Sometimes I sigh in resignation when the issue of domestic violence comes up. Can there ever be a solution to this problem? When you think it is only illiterate men that are prone to DV, it smacks you in the face that some supposedly enlightened men are not immune. And then that some women bear it for so long? Losing babies, limbs, enduring pain! Well, these women have spoken out about their experiences, and hopefully, by generating some conversation with this documentary, we might be able to change minds and hearts.

From the makers of the documentary;
In support of Peace One Day's Global Truce 2012 'Reducing Domestic Violence' Campaign and in celebration of Peace Day taking place on the 21st of September, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa is creating awareness of the human and emotional cost of domestic violence by launching a short Eliminate Domestic Violence documentary which voices the experiences of gender-based violence victims.

Given that over 50% of Nigerian women are abused by their husbands, this video represents a call for the complete eradication of gender-based violence and a milestone in the campaign to amplify public awareness of domestic violence and empower victims to voice their experiences without reproach.

Transcript from the video;

Frank Edoho’s Ex-Wife

“Just to dare to argue with your husband is like a challenge in your home,” Obiang who was once married to the ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ host, Frank Edoho said. “The woman is challenging the man and tempers flay and then you snap, then there is a slap. He says ‘I am sorry it is a mistake’ then says ‘sorry I won’t do it again,’ then he does it again, again and again.”

Zaaki Adzay’s Ex-Wife

“He slapped me on the face so (and said) ‘get up you must abort this pregnancy today. Now that I am married to you, you want to hook me with pregnancy because I am a celebrity.’ Then there was a wardrobe in our room so I put my tummy in there and backed him then he continued beating me. He had some medicine in his hand and said I should swallow it and abort the pregnancy. When he gave me I said he should allow me take water, thank God the door was opened so I ran away.”


  1. Big applause for you for speaking out! DV is a nasty, hideous thing that destroys everything in its path, either physically or mentally. It's also generational. Women must continue to speak out. Children must be educated to stop the cycle. And more politicians have got to step up to the place. Yes, I'm talking about the USA, too!

  2. In defence of the abuser. Before you crucify me....I speak as one who went through 9 years of verbal, emotional and physical abuse in marriage. I firmly believe there is no justification for violence whatsoever. However, vilifying men/women who abuse loved ones will not solve the problem. It only pushes them further into denial and justification.
    My 'then' husband because he was never able to accept the fact that abusing me was his choice. For him, I was always the cause. I look at him after we've been separated for almost 2 years and realize that he is still helpless in the face of his anger and will certainly abuse anyone who gets close to him (including the kids) once he feels he isn’t in control.
    This is an otherwise intelligent, funny, charming and even sometimes kind man. I feel for him because he has deep emotional and personality issues..none of which he seems equipped to understand or deal with. I read somewhere that a good number of abusers were abused themselves and perhaps have never learned a better way to resolve frustrations or pain.
    He needs help but won’t admit it and even if he did, where could he get it given the negative reactions abusers get? Who would want to admit to having that problem? Do we throw a man (or in some cases, woman) away forever because of their inability to manage their anger/emotional issues? It would be good to see initiatives to help the abusers face up to the fact that they have a problem, and take steps to deal with their own issues which are usually the underlying cause of the abuse. That would be real progress.

    1. Hi Anonymous, I don't advocate for villifying perpetrators of domestic violence. I agree with you that some of them need help and therapy, sometimes alone, and sometimes with their partners. I do think victims should speak out early enough so as not to prolong the situation.

    2. The aim is not to vilify the abuser. The aim is to make it common knowledge that this thing is happening. In fact, many agree it is happening but refuse to call it abuse. I've heard:

      'I'm correcting you'
      'I'm training you'
      'You're my responsibility', etc

      Abusers need help. The abused need escape from abuse. Before then, everyone needs to be able to recognize abuse. I wish emotional abuse was covered here in addition to physical abuse. Long before the first punch is thrown and long after the fist can no longer form, there'll be emotional abuse. They are so compatible, they do not thrive without each other.

      So, in support of (help for) the abuser and the abused. NEVER EVER EVER in support of abuse.


    3. This thing hits my bone marrow and then bounces out and filters through my blood.

      If you were hit during courtship, that's the best you'll get. You'll be pushed, kicked, slapped and then kissed afterwards during marriage.

      If you're not pillow-fighting (and you can't do it in front of your parents), IT IS ABUSE. (Okay, you get the point).

      You have no business lifting your fingers on anyone. Especially your wife (or husband) or girlfriend or boyfriend or friend. If you see signs early on in a relationship, please run. Don't walk oh, flee. You don't walk when there's a robber coming or teargas sprayed.

      Seeking help for your abuser is okay, but only after you've run. Your funeral speech will be beautiful and they'll call you 'virtuous' but they'll be speaking in past tense (she WAS a good woman / man) and you'll be dead. DEAD! If you're (un)lucky enough to survive abuse, your self-esteem will be inversely proportional to your fear. And your fear increases daily.

      You are not your best self in an abusive relationship. Please, don't stay in one. I know it is hard, I know there are (ir)rational reasons why people stay but please don't.

      Some people have taken breaks from relationships and come back only after they've got proof there is change. Sketchy things. Well, you know what you see. The only proof that someone won't hit you again is that they don't hit you.

      Sigh. One day, abused women won't see abuse as correction from the "head of the home" blah blah. Then, we would have crossed step 1 of many hundreds.

    4. Hi Myne, I'm with you on the ‘speak out’ bit. The abused shouldn’t suffer in silence. That approach is suicidal. But, the choice of who to speak to must be carefully considered. When facing abuse, the tendency is to tell friends, family, anyone who can offer consolation; consolation does not solve the problem.
      If one speaks to the wrong people about it, the abuser gets labelled, his reputation bashed; damaging the relationship permanently. Who wants to be known as a wife beater (even if he is one)? And will being called names make the abuser likely to want to work towards a positive solution? What outcome does the abused spouse want? Revenge or Resolution?
      The wiser choice is to (on first occurrence) find a trained counsellor (either a psychologist with experience in managing relationship and anger issues) or perhaps a trusted/respected older married person (in church perhaps; NOT family) acceptable to both parties to handle the issue in a sensitive, confidential manner, leaving the abuser room to privately accept responsibility, receive counsel and commit to the hard work required to overcome the anger management/emotional issues + rebuild the relationship. DO NOT wait till it happens a 2nd time. A huge part of the problem is that the abused tend to suffer in silence till the relationship has badly deteriorated; many times due to wrong actions/reactions from BOTH parties. It takes 2 to ruin a relationship. This is NOT to diminish responsibility for the abuse on the part of the abuser but it takes 2...believe me.
      Publicly branding a spouse by sharing the horror stories will not make them inclined to seek a permanent, positive solution. The occurrence of abuse does not mean that the marriage must be destroyed. Some of these relationships can be repaired if intervention is done with sensitivity. We must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. I must add that where there is danger of injury, it is best to flee to safety first and then handle the matter as considerately as possible from a safe distance. And don’t go back until real change in attitude & behaviour has been observed in the abuser over time.

    5. @Nakedsha, you seem to feel how this issue peppers me. I can't forget the first time I saw DV up close as an undegrad, and it was BF/GF o, I was so mad! I agree with you that some women need to solve their esteem and social conditional first if abuse is to be eliminated.

    6. @Anonymous, I appreciate your considered response, and if you are the same as the first anon, I am tempted to republish your comment as a full post. I do think though that in some cases, where the relationship has completely broken down like in the Frank Edoho case, DV can be made public to generate a more global conversation. It is not for revenge, but that all may take lessons from it.

    7. @Nakedsha you are right re: abuse in courtship. If a marriage hasn't taken place. Run. fullstop. It only escalates in marriage. and this goes for all forms abuse..emotional, verbal, physical. In fact for me, the verbal/emotional abuse was the worst part. With physical abuse, there are scars to show. Verbal and emotional abuse leaves scars in your mind and soul. It does destroy you. I was a suicidal wreck by thetime my husband was through with me.I have to consciously tell myself that those things were not true... I try not to dwell on those memories. So no I would never support abuse. But abuse problem remains as long as the abuser does not face and tackle the problem and sooner or later someone else will make the mistake of marrying them..unfortunately many women tend to think only as far as the wedding day... so if the abuser doesn't drop dead shortly after being left by his most recently abused gf or wife, you still have a ticking time bomb. Which is why a more 'long term' view is needed.Both from the point of view of dealing with the abuser and attacking the culture and thinking that enables these attitudes to form in the first place.Otherwise you have damaged men..who dont know how to deal with their anger/emotions leaving a trail of destruction (women) and collateral damage by way of children in their path.

    8. @Myne, thanks for your response. I am the same 'anon' :). I feel quite strongly about this issue because I have been thru it and have learned that 'cut & dried' answers don't work in relationship issues. Particularly marital issues, especially in a Nigerian marriage. When you've made the error of marrying the abuser and having children with them, the dynamics change. Even if you get divorced, he is still their father and therefore in your lives forever. The children look up to him and you do not want them being abused or thinking that abuse is normal. Tricky when you have joint custody. From where I stand, it is preferable to get the abuser to face his/her demons and conquer them..which is why I continue to advocate a more constructive approach to the issue. Abuse is never acceptable. But it happens..and some of us are stuck with permanent consequences from these relationships and must find permanent cures.The 'knee jerk' crucify them approach does not work for those who have to live with it esp where there are children. Whilst the interviews have had the positive effect of bringing the issue again to the public view..I still think the costs are high..what about the kids who are now stuck with a known wife beating father, or Frank himself who will pay dearly in terms of his reputation and career in addition to the pain of a failed marriage (and he has pain..he is human too), or the wife herself who will be judged by people who have no business doing so? Could there have been a better way to deal with their issues? Or to bring up the discourse on DV? I admire the courage of the women in speaking out but I wonder...

    9. You're right, cut and dried answers don't work for relationships because they are usually dynamic. Only that this is not merely a 'relationship' issue, it is a systemic societal issue and one of threat, danger and violence. There is only one response -> protect yourself and everyone else at stake.

      Women who stay through abuse never really fully recover from it within the relationship even if the abuser stops. Usually, they have to even leave to realise that they were being abused. Broken homes are not ideal; no one prays for them. What we don't realise is that broken homes sealed with sellotape on the outside (pretending all is well) are just as broken as the ones where everyone sees the pieces. The abused and witnesses still al suffer. This is not an issue to protect or cover-up. The wheel that makes the most noise will be the first to receive oil. the best way to reject abuse is to refuse to accept it and leave. Your abuser may not admit it and may paint you black and white but you're not within reach to be abused.

      Children need to know when their parent is an abuser. The won't hate the man, their father; they'll hate the man, their mother's husband and that's a good thing. Or else, they'll see it as normal and carry it on. A man who cannot hold his home together should not be entrusted with more than a home. He shouldn't be entrusted with public trust, a state, a country or a church (or anything else). Or else, when he church member or his staff runs to him to say her husband beat her, he'll shove her off and send her right back to the fire.

      Don't worry about whose reputation is being tarnished. Protecting them all this while has brought the numbers up this much and continuing that patriarchal worship will only bring the numbers up.

      We're not afraid to name robbers, we're not afraid to name thieves, we're not afraid to name others who brought pain to their loved ones. Why are we afraid to name wife-batterers? Maybe because we don't consider them a problem at all.

    10. This your statement is apt:

      "We must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. I must add that where there is danger of injury, it is best to flee to safety first and then handle the matter as considerately as possible from a safe distance. And don’t go back until real change in attitude & behaviour has been observed in the abuser over time."

      Ah, you get it. However, since there is ALWAYS danger of physical and psychological injury in any abusive situation, it is ALWAYS best to flee.

      Many church people will probably send you back to your abusive spouse because many of them don't reason as Christ would, they prescribe hook-line-and-sinker type medicines that they don't understand for situations they don't want to understand.

      So, the best thing to do is to remove yourself from being in a position to be abused before seeking help for yourself or your abuser. If your doctor thinks your alcohol is making you sick, (s)he'll ask you to stop drinking it before you can start taking medicine to clean alcohol and the effects out of your system.

      Myne, once you say: NakedSha, oya get out, e don do. I go carry my kaya comot.


    11. @Anon, thanks for the discussion. But i do not believe in sweeping things under the carpet. Nakedsha speaks my mind very eloquently so I won't repeat it.

      @Nakedsha, thanks, please stay as long as you like :)

  3. Seeing and reading this from known faces makes it all so real. I shudder......why inflict pain.....why hurt someone you profess love to? God, please heal these women and give them a forgiving heart. Amen

  4. Frank Edoho is a disappointment.

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  6. I've never been abused in this way so I can't really relate to the fact that women actually stay with their husbands or boyfriends (or men with their abusive female partners). I guess it's something you can only understand when you've been there.

    And 50% of Nigerian women abused?!?! That's shocking!

  7. I have always known this thing to be a very big issue and watching this short video only brought to me flood of memories. I am a guy, but really, my heart always went out for the various abused women I have had opportunity of being close to. Though then I was a boy and was still under 18, I would always tell them if they can't beat the muscles out of the abusing men/husbands, they should instead stay off. But then, I was a boy, and each time I said this, I would always be taken childishly. I hate Domestic Abuse. I have grown sisters and I did not like how some of them were each time they suffered such. I would wish I got a gun to blow an abuser's head off - that was childish too, right? I just hate this thing.

  8. Wow, theses are powerful speakers for DV here. I've learnt a thing or two from Anon's response at the beginning about the abuser needing help himself.....very true. But just like an 'addict' he has to admit to himself that he is doing something wrong.
    I have a friend who is abused. verbal amuse. This lady is almost a shadow in her home. Her husband is the typical stereotype of an abuser - affable, helpful, nice to cats and dogs, couldnt hurt a fly to the world. I have never seen him abuse but i hear the stories. I also observe the tense relationship.
    Myne, you know how i feel about DV, yet i refused to label the relationship as abused. the hubby was my friend. "nice guy. don't mind his wife. She must have done something". It took telling my sister to make me see it cos the first thing she said is "that woman is abused".
    I cant do much even with that realisation can I? like the abuser, the abused has to make the decision to seek help.

  9. Ginger, maybe you. Can talk to your friend?

    1. The husband has never mistreated her before me nor has she ever complained to me. I am deducing from gossip and instinct. How/Where do i wade in from?

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