Of Deadly Unions And A Confused Society

Photo Credit: www.360nobs.com
Photo Credit: www.360nobs.com

As a writer and social commentator, some subjects take more out of you than others. Some topics drain you of emotion and makes you both reluctant and eager to discuss them. You are reluctant because you are afraid you just might let your emotions get the better of you, and end up not passing your message across the way you had planned to. It’s like writing about rape. I dare say there’s no way to discuss the proliferation of rape incidents without being angry. The mere thought has me scowling as I write this. On the other hand, you are eager to lend your voice in the midst of the cacophony of voices addressing the same subject because you feel you owe it to at least one person out there to speak your truth concerning the matter. Some issues are just naturally touchy and domestic violence is one of them.

Ladies and gentlemen, at this point it appears that we have a relationship crisis on our hands. The incidents of domestic violence which is often shrouded in secrecy has allegedly led to the untimely death of yet another young woman. A vibrant young mother of two kids. A tragic story reminiscent of the popular Arowolo saga involving the alleged battering and eventual murder of a young female banker. It’s dejavu all over again. As expected, there has been an avalanche of hue and cry about this latest case of domestic violence leading to another unfortunate loss of life.

Almost exactly three months ago, Nigerians were once again hit with the news of Yewande, a lawyer in Ibadan who allegedly stabbed her husband several times leading to his death in another crime of passion. A development that served as an eye-opener for those who had previously attributed the perpetration of domestic violence to the male folk alone. This time around the alleged villain in the plot was a woman.

In the three cases mentioned above, the victims were young people in their thirties. Two women and a man at the peak of their prime. Individuals who no doubt must have had lofty desires and dreams they planned to achieve over time only for their expectations to be cut short abruptly. It is lamentable. It is tragic. It is an emergency situation. And it should be nipped in the bud as soon as possible.

In this latest case, Mr Shonde has claimed that he didn’t beat his wife and mother of kids on that fateful Thursday night. He swears the last time he hit her was three years ago (as if he should have laid his hands on her at any time at all). Yet, neighbours are adamant in their assertion that the marriage has been consistently marred by violence and that they actually heard screams from the couples apartment that night. The question is, why would neighbours lie about what they haven’t seen or heard? If Mr Shonde claims he didn’t touch his wife, then how did the marks of struggle found on her body get there and who locked her children in the house along with their mother’s lifeless body? Of course, these and many other  questions are what the police will be expected to provide answers to since the suspect is now in their custody.

Our obsession with getting married and staying married at all cost in these climes is beginning to boomerang. Just like I noted in my article on Tiwa Savage’s marriage here, we live in a society where we are constantly being told that it is unheard of for a woman especially to leave her marriage under any circumstances at all. Marriage is supposed to be endured to the uttermost and any party who crumbles under the weight of matrimonial challenges regardless of the form it takes is not only weak but highly irresponsible.

If your spouse is emotionally, verbally or even physically abusive take it to the Lord in prayer they say. Have you seen the American Christian drama “War Room?” Well, do what Elizabeth in the movie did, pray your way to the wellness of your marriage. It doesn’t matter if the protagonist in the movie didn’t have to endure any form of battering in the hands of her husband. There are always variations to the issues faced in each marriage. And so, never mind that she wasn’t dealing with a swollen eye or broken nose, those prayers can still work for you too. What is a taboo is you even daring to conceive the idea of leaving your marriage. It’s an unforgivable sin.

And if unfortunately, the abused party kicks the bucket as an aftermath of the serial beatings they were subjected to, the same society turns around to tacitly blame them. “Why didn’t they leave the deadly union before the inevitable happened?” Why did they pretend all was well when they could have sought help?”

Now, push has to come to shove. The die is cast and if we are truly serious about arresting this ugly trend as a society, then not only should stiff penalties in the mold of the death sentence be given to anyone found guilty of domestic violence leading to death, but we should be more interested in a preventive measure which translates to reducing the emphasis on the importance of marriage and coping with all sorts in the name of making a marriage work.

Family and friends should desist from advising victims of domestic violence to “pray and leave everything in God’s hands.” Single parents should not be looked down upon as bad examples and the unmarried should not be stampeded into making rash decisions in choosing a partner in a bid to satisfy a society that is not even certain of it wants.

Sometimes, it is the lack of employment and finance that forces women (who are mostly victims) into staying with an abusive man. Ladies, this is 2016. There is no reason why any able bodied person above the age of 25 should be totally dependent on another person financially. Whether we admit it or not, having one’s own money gives some level of security. Every woman should be gainfully engaged in a profit making venture regardless of how little the returns may be. It is far better than being an absolute liability.

Finally, at this time, it is more imperative than ever before that we become our brother’s keeper. Maybe if the people surrounding the like Ronke, Oyelowo and Titi had paid just a little more attention to the signs of what was to come and removed them from the situation, they would still be living, walking beings today.

Domestic violence is a monster. It must be stopped.



21 Replies to “Of Deadly Unions And A Confused Society”

  1. Thank you, Lolade!

    I’m glad we are beginning to recognize a dangerous cycle here: The society lays too much emphasis on marriage, marriage puts too much emphasis on women, women then concentrates on satisfying the dictates of a society that never cared about our collective humanity.

    As long as marriage is considered as a do-now-or-die – soon affair, our young men and young women continue to wallow in mirages and delusions – of a marriage unprepared for, with a spouse unprepared for marriage.

    It’s a big deal. And I’m glad you’re not keeping mute about this.

    1. I don’t think we realise the magnitude of the crisis we have on our hands yet. One can only hope as many as possible will learn from this. Thanks Dapo.

  2. May our resilience never be tested. Both as a man loosing his patience and a woman being abused. It’s painful both ways. I once had to hit the door to avoid beating my wife(my hand hurt for days). The next time I lost my temper I just left to sleep in an hotel ‘alone’. One thing I always tell myself is, what if my wife was stronger or a black belt karate expert. Would that ‘holy’ anger lead me to touch her. I have also seen a wife beater change when she got a job which her salary dwarfed his. Civilisation requires us to leave basic instincts and consider more honourable alternatives. God help us all.

    1. Exactly what a friend of mine says. If you knew your wife had a black belt in karate, would you ever try to lay a finger on her? One of the hallmarks of maturity is the ability to control one’s temper. Better your hands than your wife. Thanks for commenting.

  3. The story Lekan gave is filled with holes. How can he leave the house with his wife’s phone, lock the door without knowing she’s hurt.
    People should stop seeing marriage as a do or die affair. Domestic violence can never be over emphasized. I wish women are wise to know when to leave an abusive relationship. Forget about what people will say, life is precious. I don’t know if it’s African mentality to see Divorce as a Taboo. It’s not a Taboo. Please leave any abusive relationship. Pray from a distance. I hate when people become too religious. God said we should be Wise as a Serpent and Gentle as a Dove. Let’s always analyze how a serpent acts. Ready to defend and takes cover. God grant us wisdom

    Ng Anwuli

  4. Abeg if someone is a danger to your life run away for safety. There is no love when danger is lurking around the corner. Is it until you see a knife or bullet pass your head before you call it quit? There are children in front of you and whatever they see goes a long way in shaping their future.

    1. There’s nothing like love where violence is involved. It’s plain, old, devilish obsession. Thanks Kunle.

  5. This is well said Lolo. I think 2 rules mentioned here for ladies:
    1. No woman should be idle, find something doing.
    2. When the man begins to physically abuse you, RUN! You can pray for a change while in safe custody and alive and not while you are been battered.
    May the Lord save us.

  6. In fact Lolade, I am personally miffed by this story. I’m so so angry. Much as I stay away from trending topics, I had to write about this on FB. I read that Oyelowo was advised to stay with his his landlord the night before he was killed, and that his response was “I know my wife, at least she won’t kill me”. It appears to me that even the victims often do not realize the danger that they are in. Most times, the intent is not to kill but to subdue, and in a fit of rage, in a fatal moment’s decision the abusers subdue the victim permanently. Then the eyes clear, but the deed has been done already. My issue is with the emotional abuse which is where it all starts from, the bullying, and the seeming blind eye people seem to turn to that. Also, I have an issue with the “mind-your-own-business” syndrome that pervades our society. What if a neighbour who heard screams had intervened at the time? People seem not to have anything to say till the matter becomes public. Apart from the things you mentioned, people need to learn to stand up to their bullies. Bullying stops the day a victim is no longer intimidated by the tantrums of the bully. I think we need to be talking to individuals more about building mental & emotional strength. Too many people around have their self-esteem in a place where it’s easy for others to take utmost advantage of them. And believe me, there’s no counting the number of people who will gladly take control of your life is you leave the reins.

    I could rant on, cos I’m so deeply touched, but I’m glad that the discourse is increasing. Keep up the good work.

    1. I feel your angst sister. I can only imagine what Ronke’s mum and the rest of her family are going through right now. Even if her husband is eventually found guilty and sent to the hangman’s noose, it wouldn’t bring back their daughter. Sad, sad story. Thanks a lot sister.

  7. This is really very painful and annoying. Especially when I hear things like* ‘she was cheating on her husband’ (How do you know this is true? And is it enough reason to kill her?)
    Someone very close to my family had a similar experience. Her husband would beat her up badly and she would still cover up and make excuses for him! Imagine…..
    I hope people will learn to speak up and not suffer in silence anymore.
    Very well put together 👏👍

    1. Even if she was cheating, is that enough reason for her to be killed? It’s a senseless argument. We will keep speaking up against domestic violence. Thanks Dii.

  8. This is a very sore topic and drives close to home for me as the late Titi (God rest her soul) was a former colleague. I remember the anger and bitter taste it left in our mouth especially when some of us actually noticed some bruises on her. She was always quick to say it was a bike/domestic accident. We never imagined or suspected that she was suffering any form of physical abuse.

    What is more worrisome are the comments I read today on the Punch News site online. Some guys were actually blaming the lady for allegedly cheating and really had a field day chastising all those in support of Lekan’s prosecution. I felt like sending them thunderous e-slaps!!!

    We need to get new orientation/guide for intending couples on anger management abeg. Churches/Mosques/Registry should enforce this and find a way of amending the clause “For Better, For Worse” where domestic violence is concerned. It should be “For Better for STAY, For Worse for Go” (Like my Yoruba artistes will say). God help us all in our current and future relationships!!!! Amin

    1. Thank you Bimbo. In writing this piece, I had to go back to read the accounts of both the Arowolo and Oyelowo cases, and I must say it wasn’t a good experience at all. It’s really pathetic that someone would justify another person’s murder on account of some alleged cheating. It just shows why we are where we are as a society.

Drop a comment, will you! I appreciate them.