Whenever I hear women in violent and abusive marriages say that they are staying in the marriage because of their children, I get angry. It doesn’t make sense that women claim it is better to raise children in such homes than raise as a single parent.
What example are you setting for your children when you continue to tolerate slaps, head butts, kicks, beatings, stripping of clothes before neighbours and family members and humiliation from men who are supposed to love you?
You don’t want to raise your children in broken homes because according to you, a broken home is a place where a woman raises her children alone instead of exposing them to violence, abuse and stress from their fathers. You are lying to yourself. If you have the interest of your children at heart, you will remove them from violent homes.
Women who claim it is better to endure beatings for decades instead of removing their children from abusive marriages and violent men don’t know how much they are damaging their children’s psyche. They don’t know that they are raising potential wife beaters and domestic violence victims while justifying their actions.
All the time, your children see you get beaten and abused. They watch you dodge blows and kicks. They witness your suffering at the hands of their fathers and watch on helplessly. They hear you cry and tend to your wounds all the time yet you think that is the best way to raise complete children. You are still telling yourself that it is better to remain married to abusive husbands than being single mothers. You claim single mothers are promiscuous and bad mothers.
Are you a good mother for setting a bad example of what a marriage should look like for your children? Are you okay with teaching your children that domestic violence is okay and staying alive and sane to raise well rounded children means enduring unending beatings? Do you think your children will turn out well after being exposed to so much violence while growing up?
Nigerian women need to start telling themselves the truth about staying married to abusive and violent men. They need to stop listening to people who are quick to advise them to go back to their abusers and make their marriages work. It takes two people to make a marriage work. It is not the duty of women alone to make their marriages work. Women don’t have to die to stay married to abusive men.
Many children exposed to violence in the home are also victims of physical abuse. Children who witness domestic violence or are victims of abuse themselves are at serious risk for long-term physical and mental health problems. Children who witness violence between parents may also be at greater risk of being violent in their future relationships. This is not how children should be raised. It messes with their heads and emotions. They become damaged children and eventually, damaged adults.
Children in homes where one parent is abused may feel fearful and anxious. They may always be on guard, wondering when the next violent event will happen. This can cause them to react in different ways, depending on their age. They may start defending the parent being abused and become violent too. Nigerian women need to know these things.
Young children who witness intimate partner violence may start doing things they used to do when they were younger, such as bed-wetting, thumb-sucking, increased crying, and whining. They may also develop difficulty falling or staying asleep; show signs of terror, such as stuttering or hiding; and show signs of severe separation anxiety. They may also develop low self-esteem that may make them victims for abusive relationships with their peers.
Some children may feel guilty about the abuse and blame themselves for it. Domestic violence and abuse hurts children’s self-esteem. They may not participate in school activities or get good grades, have fewer friends than others, and get into trouble more often. They also may have a lot of headaches and stomachaches.
Teenagers who witness abuse may act out in negative ways, such as fighting with family members or skipping school. They may also engage in risky behaviors, such as having unprotected sex and using alcohol or drugs. They may have low self-esteem and have trouble making friends. They may start fights or bully others and are more likely to get in trouble with the law. This type of behavior is more common in teen boys who are abused in childhood than in teen girls. Girls are more likely than boys to be withdrawn and experience depression.
Children who witness abuse or are victims of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse are at higher risk for health problems as adults. These can include mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. They may also include diabetes, obesity, heart disease, poor self-esteem, and other problems.
The story about the medical doctor who supposedly reconciled with her violent husband leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I have told myself since last year that I will no longer get involved with Nigerian women and their many marriage problems especially domestic violence and cheating but this one made me sad.
What sane woman goes back to a man who has been beating her since they got married? What sane woman allows other people who don’t suffer the pains and trauma she has suffered for years emotionally blackmail her into going back to a man she exposed for being a beast? What sane woman prefers to remain married to a beast that beat her four weeks after giving birth to his child through caesarean section and even sat on her sutures for added measure? Is that not attempted murder?
Why should a state governor who is supposed to uphold the law jump to reconcile a wife beater with his victim without addressing the underlining issues that has ravaged the marriage for years. Why was the woman pressured to talk to the press and ask for forgiveness for the man beating her for years? Why didn’t the wife beater ask for forgiveness himself? Why do men and women in this society claim that domestic violence is a family matter when wife beaters should be in jail?
Many women have died at the hands of their violent husbands yet this society keeps telling women to endure abuse and these women continue to listen to them. In 2011, Titilayo Arowolo was stabbed over 76 times by her youth pastor husband and claimed she stabbed herself. I covered that story for months. I attended Titilayo’s burial and watched how her then four year old daughter was hopping up and down without knowing how her life was changed forever.
For years, we have read stories of women who were sent back to their abusive marriages and were killed. Then these men blame them for provoking them. Some claim their wives were cheating so they killed them in a fit of rage. Other wife beaters claimed their wives were troublesome and they got fed up with the situation. The sad thing is that these women can’t respond to these allegations because they are dead, cold and gone. They won’t be able to state their own side of the story forever.
Nigerian parents, family members, friends, religious leaders should stop sending women back to their violent husbands while claiming they are doing it for the children. Abusive homes damage children. These children end up damaged by what they witness growing up. Women should be encouraged to leave abusive husbands and violent husbands should be dealt with instead of being pampered.
If Nigerian men know that there are consequences for their actions, they will behave well. They won’t raise their hands on their wives or justify their actions with annoying excuses. This society needs to be firm while dealing with domestic violence. People should stop dancing around domestic violence. It is not a family matter. It is not a religious issue. It is a serious issue that should be addressed properly so that other men can learn to treat their wives with love and respect.
No woman should live under the same roof with an abusive husband. That person is living a borrowed life. One blow of kick in the wrong place can end the victim’s life and it will be all over. The society will also blame the woman for provoking the man. People will still blame the woman for making the man beat her.
Nigerian women need to choose self preservation over staying married to violent men. They need to stop staying married at all costs. These women should stop listening to people who advise them to pray for their abusive husbands to change. These men don’t change. Women should stop being fooled by fake advisers. Prayers don’t change violent men. They need psychiatric attention and therapy. Enough is enough! Women are not donkeys. They deserve to be with men who love them.