Domestic violence: Who will speak for men abused by their wives?

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By Femi Ogunshola

Everyday men abuse women. Until in recent years, such abuses went unreported.

Nowadays, due to advocacies by gender activists, violence against women and girls now feature more prominently in the media.

Even with the level of publicity that it receives, gender activists insist that gender-based violence remain largely under-reported.

In a twist of fate violence against men by their spouses are rarely reported nor even mentioned in public.

In some instances, women are known to have murdered their husbands due to one grievance or another. Infidelity features frequently in such cases.

For instance, in January 2020, a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on convicted and sentenced Maryam Sanda to death by hanging for killing her husband, Bilyaminu Bello.

Delivering judgment, Justice Yusuf Halilu said every available evidence had proved that Maryam `fatally` stabbed her husband to death in Abuja on Nov. 19, 2017.

Similarly, Symphorosa Otike-Odibi, a Lagos-based lawyer, was in 2018 murdered by his lawyer wife, Udeme for having extra-marital affairs.

Udeme on May 3, 2018 allegedly stabbed Symphorosa, to death and mutilated his corpse by cutting off his genitals at their Diamond Estate, Sangotedo, Lekki, Lagos home.

She claimed that whenever she raised the issue infidelity with him his responses were not satisfactory and nonchalant.

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“When I returned to where the deceased was, I hit him on the head with the frying pan and continued to hit him on the head  and used the knife to stab him in his abdomen”, she said.

Also in 2018, Rachael Adetsav, killed her husband and three children, she was said to have been having issues with her husband, which culminated into killing him and the children.

Adetsav was said to have killed her husband and immediately rushed out of their apartment to smash the victim’s car before she committing suicide.

In February 2019, a 19-year-old girl, Mary Adeniyi, was arrested by police in Lagos for allegedly stabbing her husband to death.

Adeniyi, a nursing mother and her husband, Solomon Nduka, 30 had a fight over alleged infidelity.

He allegedly stabbed him on the neck region with a knife which prompted neighbours to rush him to a nearby hospital. He later died.

Also, in 2012, Hadezia Abutu (nee Afegbua), was accused of killing her husband, Ibrahim, just two days after a new wife was welcomed into the family in December 2011.

She was said to have allegedly shot her husband, Ibrahim, in their Wuse II, Abuja residence just two days after Ibrahim married another wife.

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Before he died he informed his younger brother,  Obotu, that he had been shot by his wife, Hadezia.

Mrs Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, Coordinator, Lagos State, Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team said men have difficulty reporting incidents of assault by their partners, a situation she attributes to cultural norms.

According to her, patriarchy is an enemy of everybody because it keeps people in silence.

“From a young age, males are not allowed to express themselves when they are experiencing trauma and that lingers on to adulthood”, she said.

She said between January and June 2021 there were about 194 reported assaults by wives against their men in Lagos state alone.

Fagbohungbe Oni, a professor of psychology, University of Lagos, said that one of the most common attributes displayed by a potential killer-woman display is destructive tendency.

Mr David Aloysius, a psychologist said domestic violence is committed mainly against the women but recent events show that women as also perpetrate violence against their husbands.

Aloysius said some men are daily being beaten, subjugated and traumatised by their wives, adding that most of the abuses go unreported.

This according to him is because of the notion that the man is always superior to the woman in terms of physical strength.

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He said while the ‘norm’ was men abusing their spouses, the table seems to be turning against men as they now face regular abuse in the hands of their women.

He called on gender right advocates to beam their searchlight on the plight of men who are under the subjugation of women.

Aloysius said that domestic violence involving wives physically assaulting their husbands was assuming a dangerous dimension.

He said some wives not only beat up their husbands to stupor but kill them in some cases.

According to him, though men are naturally perceived as being mentally stronger in some instances the reverse is the case.

Dr Kehinde Samuel, a psychiatrist, said domestic violence could be drastically curtailed through counsel and mental evaluation of potential couples.

It is gladdening to note that the law has not spared women brought before it for abusing their spouses.

However, analysts say it is necessary for stakeholders to make conscious efforts to bring to the front burner that plight of thousands of men suffering in silence from abuse by their partners.

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