Domestic violence

It freaks one out to see the number of women from all works of life, all facets of industries, across social classes maltreated, bullied and violated. The silence of the church and the society on these sensitive matters has gone on long enough. Pointing fingers, blaming victims, closing mouths and senseless hypocrisies have gone on long enough.


She stormed out of the house in hot displeasure. Her husband had just struck her face with his palm leaving the thick impression of his prints on her soft cheeks. It was not the first time he was doing so. He had hit her with the kitchen spoon a few weeks earlier. His violence had grown in recent months.

This time she had had enough.

In her anger, she hurried off to the pastor’s house. She barely got to the entrance of the gate when she heard someone screaming. “Oh please; please honey. Forgive me!” The screams came louder.

She thought she must be in the wrong block.

“Daddy, please!” said the screaming voice.

To her utmost shock, it was her pastor’s wife herself getting whipped.

Tears rolled down her face. How could such a sweet little woman get this?

Here she was hoping to get an intervention, a form of rescue from her husband. She was disappointed.

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With nowhere to turn to, she went back to face her own music.

The same woman who had urged her to stay in marriage, to fight for her marriage…was being battered like a thief. The horror of the voice ran deep into her marrow.

Yes, marriage is worth fighting for but at what costs?

Her life?

****

You know this story line, in fact you or someone you know has the same story. It shares semblance with several horrendous accounts of countless, faceless women, day in day out, behind closed marital doors. The smiling faces of many shroud the picture-perfect lies of the faultlessness of their marriages. Yet, when curtains are drawn, behind these, tales of lies and obnoxious atrocities unfold.

Our family system, religious establishments, and social system which we used to hold dearly and constituted a safety net, has however caved in and crumbled.

As a church we have failed.

In our families, we have failed victims of domestic abuse.

Our culture has failed them.

Leaders in all spheres of life have failed.

Our government and structures have failed them.

Every time you watch your neighbour or your brother, or your uncle or your father hit his wife, you seal her fate.

You too have failed her.

I hate the hypocrisy that goes on but we have forced it on these helpless victims. We would judge her if she leaves. We would shame her if her marriage is no more. We would twist our noses when she goes by the market place.
We have chosen her funeral over her freedom to live.
Don’t ask me who is to blame.
Don’t tell the victim it’s her fault.

With all senses of objectivity, you, I and everyone else are to blame.

The man who raises his hand when his trigger buttons are pushed;
The man who is frustrated by life and finds his wife a comfortable vent for his anger;
The wife who drives her husband nuts;
The wife who remains in silence and pretends nothing is wrong;
The family that presses hard on her to stay;
The family who turns the other way;
The father who hits his wife and forces his kids to watch;
The society that folds its arms;
The society which urges her to stay put, in spite of her living in danger;
The dangerous teachings from many religious places;
The police who sends her home every time she comes through their doors;
The government with its ineffective and unimplemented policies.

Every side is to blame!

Have we all not made a mockery of submission and the entity of marriage?

It freaks one out to see the number of women from all works of life, all facets of industries, across social classes maltreated, bullied and violated. The silence of the church and the society on these sensitive matters has gone on long enough. Pointing fingers, blaming victims, closing mouths and senseless hypocrisies have gone on long enough.

It is not time to play the charade, or the sweet lies, or instagram perfect couples, while families are weeping in agony. It is time for a redress. No way does the bible support the striking of women, or violence against women.

What Can the Society, the Church and You Do?

· Pastors and pastors’ wives need to have an attitude change. Victim blaming and accusations are not working. It is a matter of social responsibility for the church to address issues of domestic violence;

· The society needs to go back to the drawing board and re-address the issue of moral standards as it pertains to relationships and marriage;

· We need more women in violent relationships to be outspoken without the fears of broken confidentiality, stigmatisation and being judged, and fear for their lives. The church and the society should create an atmosphere of warmth, free from criticism. Families should be comfortable to speak up, in welcoming and friendly environments;

· There is need to work with other stakeholders, such as the police, non-governmental organisations, psychologists and psychiatrists, etc. as the need arises. The organisation, CHELD partners with various social organisations and work establishments in training and providing useful resources. It also assists organisations set up polices to protect against sexual harassment, domestic violence, rape, etc.;

· Awareness and counseling sessions for victims and perpetrators should be setup. Regular family sessions should be organised with key speakers who will address specific marital issues;

· Leaders in all sphere of the life should be trained and equipped with relevant information;

· Proper premarital counseling should be in place;

· The government needs to partner with individuals, corporate bodies, governmental bodies, like the police and non-profit organisations, to implement policies and enforce laws;

· You can help by rescuing a victim, reporting to the right authorities, sharing vital information on your social platform and supporting advocacy against domestic violence.

Vital Information

To help and recognise victims of domestic violence, download the Red Diary from the Domestic Violence and Abuse Resource Centre.

For further information on booking private counseling sessions and other consultancy services for churches and pastors, other religious groups, schools, workplace and other organisations please send an email to info@cheld.org or cheluchi@cheld.org or ifeoma@cheld.org

Hotlines for women in need of urgent support and counselling: +234810 757 2829 and +234813 164 3208.

To support the organisation’s work send an email to info@cheld.org or cheluchi@cheld.org or ifeoma@cheld.org or call +234813 164 3208

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By His Great Grace,
Ifeoma Samuel

Ifeoma Samuel is a Public Health Specialist. Corporate Links: Blog|Twitter | Facebook; Personal links: Blog|Facebook|Pinterest|Youtube