Domestic violence is another worrisome issue that is on the increase. The scariest and most disturbing aspect of this social offence is the killing and maiming of partners. The worst thing here is that domestic violence does not only happen among married couples. We also see this act amongst people that are still in courtship or even dating. Even teenagers are beginning to kill their partners, who they believe are cheating on them. This then makes one ask what exactly is going on.
Note that domestic violence is not gender-specific. Both male and female genders can be victims and offenders. This heinous act also cuts across different ages and social classes. This is to say, that the problem has nothing to do with age, class, educational attainment, or gender.
The society has received its share of the blame for being the cause of domestic violence. We also blame parental care for it. We apportion blames to drug abuse, and peer and social media influences for the increase in domestic violence. But, we seem to be missing other vital causes of domestic violence – psychological and mental health.
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Just this past Sunday, June 21, 2020, we received horrific news about a man that butchered his wife before taking his own life. This sad event happened at Victory Park Estate, Lekki, Lagos State. Story has it that the man is suspicious that his second child isn’t his. However, it is not known whether he went for a DNA test to ascertain the paternity of his child. Unfortunately for the wife, she lost her life because her husband suspected her of infidelity.
The gruesome way this woman was murdered will tell you that this man is a psycho. No human in his right senses will put another person he/she claims to love (or even hate) through such pains as this woman must have passed through before bleeding to death. We can’t even kill animals like that. To crown it all, the man ended his own life painfully by drinking Sniper, an insecticide.
In most churches in Nigeria, before a person gets married, he/she will be asked to carry out certain medical tests (usually HIV and genotype tests) and attend marriage preparatory classes. Some churches, like the Catholic Church, will insist that the pre-marriage classes should be attended by the couple for a minimum of six months. Most of the things taught in the class are matters surrounding challenges couples face in marriage and how they can overcome them. The medical tests couples are subjected to are expected to help in preventing future clashes in their marriages. For instance, couples that both have AS genotype will be discouraged from continuing with their marriage plans. However, I have not seen anyone that wasn’t wedded because of their genotypes.
These tests and classes are good. But to be honest, they will not really stop domestic violence. Most people attending those classes are not really there to learn. They only want to fulfil the requirements for which the church will wed them. As for the tests taken, that is good as well. But then, there is a need for more tests and checks.
Two more Checks that should be done before Marriage is Licensed
- Psychological and Mental Tests
Going back to the causes of domestic violence, I made mention of psychological and mental wellbeing. Some people that are not fit to marry and handle challenges that come with marriages are answering somebody’s husband or wife. The only thing that people like this need to snap is a little stress, doubt or suspicion. But if couples planning to marry are sent to be tested on their mental and psychological health, trust me, a lot of bad marriages will be prevented. The couples may not be banned from getting married, anyway, but at least they will know what they are up against. This way, they will always stay at alert in case their partners started behaving abnormally.
Some people may see this as an intrusion of privacy. However, since it involves the lives of two different people, and their children, there is a need to protect the people that might be affected by the person’s mental or psychological state. This condition needs to be considered as soon as possible.
- Background Check
In the olden days, people conducted background checks on the prospective spouses of their children. Any unsatisfactory discovery about the spouse or his/her immediate and distant family will lead to automatic discontinuation of the marriage procedures. That was actually possible in those days because people married from villages that were close-by. Today, the case is different. People meet in cities and marry. Hardly do people check on their spouses’ lives in the past to know what they are capable of. Even those that did so believe that mistakes of the youth cannot be revisited in adulthood. This might be true in some cases, but in most cases, it might be deadly.
It may be unlawful to demand that couples carry out background checks on one another and submit their findings; but it will be good if the option is left open. More interest here should be paid to past activities that showed violence or mental disorder. It will also be good to check on the person’s criminal history to be sure he or she isn’t involved in crimes of any sort or involved with associations that encourage violence. These were some of the things our forefathers checked before permitting marriages and it worked for them. Maybe we need to revisit the olden ideologies.
There are still other things that need to be done to discourage the increase in domestic violence. But as we work out ways to make marriages blissful once again, let us first consider these listed options.