By Chiomaah Ugo Nwachukwu
Forget enjoying constant electricity or getting fuel for your car. One of the most difficult things to do in this country is getting adequate statistics on any thing at all, especially when it concerns issues such as domestic violence. It’s not surprising that we don’t keep records of such things after all there are people who still believe that if a woman is silly enough to talk back at her husband or careless enough to add a little too much salt to his food, then it is absolutely justified for him to teach her a lesson by administering a few blows to her face.
According to a 2007 report by Amnesty International, 1 in every 3 Nigerian women has suffered domestic violence. Now this is just an estimate, most incidents are unreported and the perpetrators go unpunished.
And of course if a woman is bold enough to go to her family members or even the police, then it gets really interesting. Comments like : “Ah, he’s not a madman now, he will not beat you just like that. You must have done something” and “This is a family matter, go and settle it at home” are all she gets for her trouble”
Enter high-profile women such Tonto Dike, Mercy Aigbe and Ajoke Utomi. One after the other we shook our heads in sympathy and even took sides (mostly with the husbands of course. SHE must have done something wrong, remember?) as their battered faces were splashed all over social media and different versions of the stories were told from different angles.
I do not wish domestic violence on any one. But I am not happy with these women. Yes, we can see how much he hurt you, we can see the wounds and your tears. But then what? That is not enough. You see, you have something that millions of other abused women in Nigeria do not have. A voice. And no offense, but to the best of my knowledge, you have not used it well. See, it should be in this order: police station first, social media second.
Take legal action against him. Let him be punished for he has done to you to teach him a lesson and serve as a deterent to all the shameless men who miraculously transform into Antony Joshua once they step into the house. Granted, there are several loopholes in our legal system which make it difficult to get justice in cases like these (don’t even get me started on that) but you should at least try.
I hope you take my advice. Stay strong for your children. We love you and we are all with you.
Writer – Chiomaah Ugo Nwachukwu