Yes, I witnessed it. The frequent kicking and punching of a poor woman. The innocent 5 years old I was, heard the shrieks of terror, the moans of pain and the thuds of frightened footsteps running to safety. Safety was the room of a neighbour. And that didn’t stop him.
Why is there so much noise from the corridor? Ohhh! She’s naked. The helpless woman covered her face in shame as the dull yellow light from the bulb hanging from the ceiling presents her unceremoniously to the sympathetic eyes of the neighbours. Then again, she ran to safety. Her neighbour’s room. Tears fell from my eyes. Not because I understood her pain but because I couldn’t understand the“why”? If truly there’s love,why so much anger?Why so much wickedness? That 5years old understood only one thing”violence”. And she hasn’t stopped crying.
Before I continue,I will like you to know that though statistics says “25% of women go through an ordeal of domestic violence and every forth Nigerian woman suffers domestic violence in her life time, there are still those that are unaccounted for. Look at Iya Sikira oni bread, or anty Tawa,the rice seller that’s always sporting a swollen lip and plastered cheek. Most of these cases go unnoticed and have even become a normal occurrence in some societies.
Domestic Violence in physical,mental,emotional or social form meted out on whosoever is a sin against humanity.A sin against womanhood. Why are there angry devils scattered all around us? What should you do if you find yourself victim of any kind of domestic violence?
- Identify and Accept that you are in an abusive relationship: Due to inexposure or manipulation,an abused might not know that he or she is being abused. Most people still don’t know that domestic violence isn’t only physical assault and abuse. You can also be abused mentally,sexually,financial,socially etc.
- Don’t be fooled by the cycle: Does he beat you today and apologises tomorrow only for him to still beat you the day after next? My dear, don’t be fooled by that vicious cycle. Stop telling yourself he isn’t abusive, he just had a mood. A once abusive partner is an abusive partner. The tension,conflict and resolution phases are the ways domestic violence relationships sustain themselves. The next cycle might be unfinished. And it might be your last.
- Seek counselling and guidance:This is a very great step you can take but please,look in the right places.Most supposed friends just want to have an update on your life so there’s a new gist for salon day. Make sure your friend is someone who really cares about you. You can also go for professional guidance and counselling or join a group of domestic violence survivors.
- Make the right decision fast: While this might be hard to do,it most likely will be what saves you from an early end. Think about yourself only. You can’t be a useful mother to those children making you stay if you become a vegetable from a severe head injury. “Yourself ” is the only imperative here. Let that decision come fast or your abusive partner might strike faster and then it would be too late.
- Have a plan:If you’ve made up your mind to leave, Bravo! Draft a plan. You probably would need money for travel and other expenses. But most importantly,make sure he doesn’t know of your plan. And please, for precautionary purposes, you can notify the police or trusted family members of your decision. Remember, be discretive.
- Emergency hotlines:You are still skeptical about leaving your children or you think he will change,I understand. While I will tell you anyday and time to run for your life, I understand that you have to make that decision on your own. I’m still your faithful friend but for when I’m not there, please dial 112. Again,dial 112.
Finally, I want you to know that there is absolutely no reason why any man should hit or abuse you in any way. Stop blaming yourself. You’ve been making excuses non- stop for the rash and inhuman behaviour towards you but you really need to do something this one time. Make an excuse for yourself and for your life. Never endure domestic violence for any reason. Don’t forget,there’s always so much love here at Omoge for you,strong woman.