‘It’s both funny and annoying seeing Nigerians criticize domestic violence. The death of the gospel singer Osinachi, who was allegedly a victim of wife-battering, has got many Nigerians talking.
The outpour of anger for the husband of the late “Ekwueme” crooner, is as should. For a Christian singer whose song gave hope to a lot of people, one would have thought she was in commune with peace.
We were unaware of the fact that while she gave us joy, she was in a hopeless situation. She must have said, “what will society say if I leave this marriage?”
“People will mock me.”
“Let me continue with fasting and praying, hoping he will change.”
“Our Pastor will not be happy about it.”
These and many more were likely to be bothering her mind.
I remember when my secondary school classmate would cry at school. Whenever we asked him what the problem was, he would say his mother was in tears while he left home – she had received some punches from his father. This continued for a long time until we decided to tell one of our teachers this major concern.
On a certain day, Sir Ohaka took him home to his parents, hoping to understand why he was often late to school crying. Upon his arrival at their home, he met an aggressive man who told him to leave his house. The woman was also signalling our teacher to leave, in order to prevent the disgrace, he could be subjected to.
The more our teacher tried reasoning with the boy’s father, the more he realized that whatever the boy said was true. Our teacher got a lawyer who finally helped the woman to finalize a divorce procedure.
After the divorce, it was not easy for our classmate and his mother, because of society. Relatives kept telling her to return to her husband’s home, and it was very annoying. It took them a while before they learnt how to ignore the words of people.
Three major things keep women in abusive relationships:
The first is what society would say.
The second is when the woman is lagging in finance.
The third is when they have to consider their kids.
The most terrible is how society would see it. That is why a woman who’s financially stable would remain in a marriage where she is constantly abused by the man. Even if she decides to leave with the kids, her mind will be left to battle with what family members or neighbours would say.
The stigmatization by a greater fraction of the society, is what keeps them in the bloody matrimony, while they continually beg God to change the wicked mind of their husbands.
It’s even more annoying when the pastor only makes the woman go on her knees to God, without speaking to the husband about why he needs to change his ways.
“Pray to God to keep your home,” is mainly said to the woman, and not to the man.
Most times the woman is expected to be the one making the sacrifices to make the relationship work, thereby making it hard for most of them to consider leaving as an option.
Until society stops the stigmatization of divorcees and single mothers, more women could end up like Osinachi who must have stayed in an abusive marriage, because of society.
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Written by: Edward Amah