News The African Way

Point Of Correction, Please! Men More Violent To Women Than Vice-Versa, By Sandra Ijeoma Okoye

There is no denying the fact that not few Nigerians that are active on Social Media platforms, particularly on Facebook, since Evangelist Osinachi Nwachukwu was allegedly murdered by her husband have seen a video depicting how a particular woman was mercilessly flogging her husband. In a similar vein, there is another video now trending depicting how a man slapped his wife, and the woman retaliated by giving the man multiple slaps, and went ahead to lift the man up, and threw him on a bundle of firewood, and got the man beaten black and blue.

To anyone that is wondering why such videos are trending on the trail of the death of Osinachi, he should not wonder anymore as the sharers of such videos on Social Media platforms are unarguably trying to water down the seriousness of Pastor Peter Nwachukwu’s case as interpretations of such videos seek to portray the fact that it is not only husbands that perpetrate violent acts against their spouses, but that wives also engage in the violent acts that is quite reprehensible.

Without any iota of exaggeration, the intention of such sharers on Social Media platforms is to prove that women are also guilty of spousal violence. To my view, the thinking that women are as violent towards their partners as men is erroneous and misleading.

“Why is the thinking that women are as violent towards their partners as men erroneous and misleading?” You might have asked. The reason for opining that it is misleading cannot be farfetched as a poll carried out by NOIPolls Opinion Polling Centre (NOPC) in April 2020, exactly 2 years ago “revealed that 56 percent of respondents stated that spousal violence of husbands’ violence is prevalent while 47 percent of respondents stated that spousal violence of wives against husbands is prevalent. Interestingly, 100 percent of Nigerians-polled agree that it is not justifiable for both husbands and wives to assault/abuse or kill their spouses.

In a similar vein, another report embarked on by Professor Michael Kimmel, Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York, under the auspices of the Department of Education and Science. considers the age long controversy surrounding whether domestic violence is a “women’s issue”, whether it is a crime perpetrated by men against women or a problem shared by men and women equally and whether women are abusing men as much as men are abusing women.

Based on a review of the major studies that have been carried out into domestic violence, the report concludes that there is indeed significant international evidence now to suggest that women are violent and abusive to their male partners. “Women’s violence towards male partners certainly does exist, but it is different from that of men: it is far less likely to be motivated by attempts to dominate or terrorize the partner.”

The key difference, Prof Kimmel argues, is that women tend to use conflict in an argument, to get the man’s attention or to defend themselves against violence. Men, however, tend to use violence to take control and dominate their partners. Men generally perpetrate much more serious violence than women. A total of 90 per cent of the more systematic, persistent, and injurious type of violence is perpetrated by men.

Professor Kimmel suggests it is simplistic to say women’s violence against men is the same as men’s against women. Such claims are “often made by those who do not understand the data, what the various studies measure and what they omit”. They are also made by those who are politically motivated and “attempting to discredit women’s suffering by offering abstract statistical equivalences” that turn out to be untrue.

The report suggests that it is necessary to be compassionate towards all victims of domestic violence and male victims deserve access to services and funding, just as female victims do. But men do not “need to be half of all victims in order to deserve either sympathy or services”. It is of vital importance to develop intervention services which can protect women from the more severe forms of violence which they invariably suffer.

Given the facts that are inherent in foregoing reports, it is enough in this context to say that “Domestic violence can be described as the power misused by one adult in a relationship to control another. It is the establishment of control and fear in a relationship through violence and other forms of abuse.”

In fact, this violence can take the form of physical assault, psychological abuse, social abuse, financial abuse, or sexual assault. The frequency of the violence can be on and off, occasional or chronic.
As gathered, domestic violence is not simply an argument. It is a pattern of coercive control that one person exercises over another. Abusers use physical and sexual violence, threats, emotional insults and economic deprivation as a way to dominate their victims and get their way”.

Having opined enough on this issue in this context, it is expedient to advise that it is high time the churches, concern Non-governmental Organizations, the governments at all levels began to campaign against the spousal menace more than ever before. In as much as the retrogressive trend in marriages is neither a new nor an easy subject to grapple with, it is advisable that efforts should be exerted on it in this regard as it has become a worrisome issue.

There is no denying the fact that prolonged national activism will help us to name the many evil dimensions of violence against women and how they affect quality of life for everyone. Most critical in this case is that the churches should find a way of passing the message that women should remain in marriage even when their husbands have resorted to killing them instalmentally.

And finally, permit me to issue a point correction to some Social Media trolls that are already sharing all manners of video ostensibly to make the malady look like a child’s play.

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