The last time I checked, domestic violence among married couples – otherwise known as matrimonial battering – was indeed on the increase, that only a drastic measure is currently required towards addressing it.
Battering is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, which usually include the use of violence. In the same vein, matrimonial battering is a situation whereby a man or woman is battered by his/her legitimate spouse.
However, it’s noteworthy that it is the womenfolk that usually fall victim to the menace. This is to assert that in most cultures, the perpetrators are commonly the men of the family.
Battering, which is indeed a criminal act, takes place when a person believes he/she is entitled to control another. In recent times, the most worrisome form of battering is the one that happens between married couples, which has degenerated into an alarming state.
Battering of a family member can take many forms. It may include emotional, economic and sexual abuses as well as isolation, use of male privilege, employment of threats and a variety of other behaviours used to maintain fear, intimidation and power.
Among all forms of battering, it could be classified into two major types namely, physical battering and psychological battering. Physical battering is a situation where the abuser employs physical attacks or aggression, while psychological battering involves verbal abuse/harassment, excessive possessiveness, segregation of the woman from friends and family, deprivation of physical and economic resources, and destruction of the woman’s personal property.
It is worth noting that physical battering, which is prevalent in most African homes, particularly Nigeria, can also lead to psychological trauma.IN other words, the latter is not unusually necessitated by the former.
Battering, which has taken a different dimension in several families in Nigeria, and Africa at large, can be attributed to immaturity, alcoholism, temperament, infidelity, and/or lack of love. Other local causes include lack of male children, alleged barrenness, selfishness, influence and ignorance.
Among these, the most prevalent factor that leads to battering is lack of love because if one truly loves his wife/partner, he can never make any attempt to hurt her even when he is under the influence of alcohol.
Survey shows that battering remains the major cause of the ongoing high rate of divorce or estrangement among married persons in Nigeria. Needless to say that if an adequate and drastic measure is not taken towards curbing the anomaly, it is likely to render millions of our children vulnerable in near future, thereby affecting their upbringing.
Acknowledging that marriage is the most intimate relationship two human beings can experience, second only to a relationship with God, and that it is the only intimacy that brings out the best in someone, there is no gain saying everyone has a responsibility toward preventing or eradicating battering or any form of domestic violence against the womenfolk.
We can individually or collectively join in the crusade aimed at ending domestic violence or abuse, which has brought a colossal upheaval in various homes, by challenging any thought or attitude that allows such acts to prevail in our respective societies.
Let’s be conscious of the fact that a woman who is suffering from matrimonial battering can do anything to protect herself or the marriage, with a view that such aberration would continue to repeat itself.
In one of her books titled ‘Trauma and Recovery’, Judith Lewis Herman – an author and psychiatrist stated, “The guarantee of safety in a battering relationship can never be based upon a promise from the perpetrator no matter how heartfelt. Rather, it must be based upon the self-protective capability of the victim…” She went further to state that “Until the victim has developed a detailed and realistic contingency plan and has demonstrated her ability to carry it out, she will remain in fear and danger of repeated abuse.”
The above quote signifies that a woman who suffers domestic violence is liable to resort to any approach in a bid to saving herself or averting the repetition of such ungodly act, especially in a situation whereby the victim is surrounded by friends who aren’t God-fearing.
Considering the aforementioned primary attributes of matrimonial battering, it is obvious that anyone irrespective of status or age is liable to patronize the monster. Thus, no one is exempted while discussing the unending societal menace.
To this end, parents or guardians must ensure their children or wards, as the case may be, have attained a reasonable maturity stage before they would be encouraged to settle down or get married. In view of this, we ought to acknowledge that maturity is not only based on the age of the parties involved but their level of exposure or experience.
As regards child bearing, acknowledging the tradition or desire of most men, particularly on the African continent, that a marriage yet to boast of a male child or a child at all, is useless, our men must be meant to understand that a child is a gift from God and not by the making of their wives as they presume. In other words, anyone who is yet to have a male child should remain steadfast in his faith, and must note at all times that a woman cannot be confirmed or proven to be barren unless as stated by her creator.
Inter alia, we ought to always have it at the back of our minds that marriage is “For better, for worse” as written in the Holy writ. The religious organizations have a very vital role to play in this regard.
Above all, there is an urgent need for the law makers to enact a law that would assign a capital punishment to anyone found guilty of matrimonial battering or any form of domestic violence/abuse. A stitch in time, they say, saves nigh.