You are here
Home > HEADLINES > Assaulted, insulted, beaten… Men also cry

Assaulted, insulted, beaten… Men also cry

Please follow and like us:

  • 0
  • Share

Every now and then, when reports of domestic violence reach public domain, the ‘usual’ assumption is that the victim is female. Interestingly, even if they don’t readily come out to share their agonising experiences, men are victims of domestic violence too, writes RITA OKONOBOH.

Dragged from the dregs of a troubled sleep, Mark squinted to focus on the reporter, who was ushered in by one of his children. His pulse beat faster than normal, evident from the way he heaved, as he narrated his story. In spite of the fact that the ceiling fan was on, sweat glistened on his forehead as he lay on the bed. He didn’t need a doctor to tell him his blood pressure was on the rise again.

Not too long afterwards, his wife could be heard cursing as she shuffled into the house. She passed the reporter, who was on her way out, and sauntered into the room. Through the open door, Mark had hurriedly repositioned himself and faced the wall.

“Get up, I say. Get up, you useless man. I know you can hear me,” she screamed, loud enough for even the deaf to hear.

Mark, however, kept mute. Obviously, he would rather postpone whatever was to come for the next few seconds, than play earlier than expected into her trap.

“Being deaf and dumb is the latest addition to your sickness abi? I say get up,” she screamed. And with that, she pulled his legs, dragging him out of bed. Mark eased himself up and noticed, his second to last child running away from the door, almost crashing into the reporter. Moments later, the arguments faded as they both walked out of the building.

Narrating his experience to Sunday Tribune, Mark cut the figure of a broken man. He had lost his first wife years ago, and had been persuaded to marry another woman, especially as he was saddled with five children, the oldest at the time, being 16 years old. By some stroke, after 12 years, the second wife was yet to have children – Mark hadn’t wanted more children anyway, but she did.

“If I could turn back time, I would never have married her. Come to think of it, she appeared really decent at the time, when she first visited me with her mother. Now, she ridicules me every chance she gets. It has become so bad, I can’t even muster enough guts to leave, or ask her to go away, especially as I am sick. My older children have tried to call her to order on many occasions, but somehow, I find myself siding with her, against them. Now, they don’t visit me as much anymore, though they send me money sometimes. Who can blame them? How can they come to a house where their stepmother curses them morning, noon and night?” he narrated.

For reasons, obvious and otherwise, despite the reality of domestic violence against men, only very few cases actually make it to the limelight. One such example is that of Mr Shola, as he chose to identify himself, who said he saw the signs, even before he married his wife a few years ago, but chose to ignore them. As he noted, she loved the good life; that much was clear. He had assumed that since he was the head of the home, she would defer to his authority. He couldn’t have been more wrong! Having lost a thriving car sale business to fraudsters, his life.

“What do you want me to say? This wasn’t the life I dreamt of when I got married less than 10 years ago. I don’t even care any longer how much she insults me. In fact, now I think she’s cheating, but would I dare to question her? She holds the aces; she provides the cash. I bring in what I can every now and then, but I can’t measure up. When people see us in public, you won’t have an inkling that such a thing was happening. I can’t even explain how I found myself in this mess,” he lamented.


‘Our marriage ended day she slapped me’

A victim, although recently divorced, who bluntly refused to be named, said his marriage ended the day his wife landed him a hot slap.

“Before then, we usually had arguments. She has got quite a temper, but I never knew it was that bad. Sometimes when she was angry, she would slam doors, push things out of the way. One time, she threw her phone against the wall. She gets crazily jealous and always wants to be in control of everything. I always reassured her that I loved her but obviously, that wasn’t enough. Maybe it’s because she comes from a troubled home. I honestly don’t understand it. However, that day was the last straw. We were having an argument. One question led to another and before I knew it, she slapped me. That was it for me o. And these days that women are stabbing their husbands, I didn’t need anyone to tell me it was time to walk away. I’m still in my 30s. Our marriage lasted barely five years.”


Out of 1,412 cases, only 10 men reported domestic violence –Lagos DSVRT

Blame it on the seemingly patriarchal nature of the African society, according to information from the Lagos State Domestic and s3xual Violence Response Team (DSVRT), made available to Sunday Tribune, between the period of January and December 2017, of a total of 1,412 domestic and s3xual violence cases reported, only 55 men reported related cases. Of the 55 men, only 10 men reported being victims of domestic violence.

The above is an improvement from the figures in 2016, in which less than five men reported being victims of domestic violence. According to the DSVRT, there was general apathy on the part of male victims, especially as they were usually unwilling, or reluctant to come out to the public with such reports.


There are psychological ways of addressing it —Prof. Aremu

Describing it as spousal or marital violence, Professor of Counselling Psychology and Criminal Justice Studies, Amos Oyesoji Aremu, states that “when we say domestic violence in this regard, I think it is nebulous. However, we should narrow it down to spousal violence or marital violence. Domestic violence is all-encompassing, such that the victim could be the intimate partner, spouse, or any of the children. When we say spousal or marital violence, we have narrowed it down to specific people, that is, between the husband and wife.

“When the male partner is the victim, it is termed ‘abnormal.’ The assumption in society is for women to be at the receiving end of spousal violence. However, it could be ‘normal,’ in the sense that the female partner could be more domineering, such that she is at an advantage physically. Not only that, by the nature of women, research has shown that women talk more than men, so in some cases, the female partner verbally abuses the man. There is also emotional abuse from the woman. Also, there may be external invasion, such as getting people to gang-up against the husband. Sometimes, this occurs as a reaction to taking a decision to leave an abusive marriage.”

There are many reasons a man may experience harassment from his wife, according to marriage counsellor, Pastor Abraham Ojekanmi. He noted that the several factors that can trigger such actions to include: intolerance; jealousy, and extreme temperaments.

“For jealousy, I’m not talking of men involved in extraordinary affairs. Take for instance, a pastor who is visited by many people, including women. If the wife is the jealous type that does not want to condone the opposite s3x coming for counselling, or visiting her husband for church matters, there may be problems. I’ve heard cases where pastors’ wives of attack female members of the congregation under the suspicion that they are engaged in illicit affairs with these members. I believe pastors’ wives are special kind of women. Not every woman can handle that position, because there is need for a great level of understanding. Besides, when a woman is not patient with a man, it can lead to domestic violence. Patience is very important.

“Temperament also plays a very strong role. That’s why I always say preparing for marriage is very important. Serious homework must be done, such as considering the person’s temperament. Marriage is beyond the physical; it is also spiritual. It is a combination of many factors and these factors must be put into consideration. Beyond genotype, HIV, and other tests, I urge couples to go for psychiatric tests before entering into marriage. One must know how mentally balanced the other person is. There are people who look mentally balanced, but lose their cool even after minor disagreements,” he stated.


‘Male victims deserve same recognition, sympathy, as female victims’

There are major studies dedicated to domestic violence, where women are the victims, but for Nigeria, the research on male domestic violence victims is sadly limited. Paul O. Dienye and Precious K. Gbeneol, in their article entitled: Domestic Violence Against Men in Primary Care in Nigeria, published in the American Journal of Men’s Health, while noting the low number of victims who eventually own up to being victims of domestic violence, state that: “Battered husbands cut across all ages, educational levels, and socioeconomic classes. Male victims of domestic violence deserve the same recognition, sympathy, support, and services as do female victims. The hospital should develop a policy for domestic violence. Medical schools may need to lay special emphasis on domestic violence in their curriculum to make doctors more comfortable in dealing with such cases and also develop high index of suspicion.”

A legal practitioner, Mr Gbenga Makinde, identified various ways spousal violence occurs. “We have heard of cases where a woman smashed a crowbar on her husband’s head; in another case, the man was attacked with a hot boiling ring; in yet another case, the wife broke a bottle on her husband’s head. There was the story of a man, who, having been separated from his children, had gone to visit them in their new school. The school alerted the mother, although she had given strict instructions on her children receiving visitors at school. The children confirmed that he was their father, and the school asked that their officials be present during the visit, which took place in an open field. Before they knew it, the wife, who came on a commercial motorcycle, raised the alarm that the man was a kidnapper and a mob descended on him. However, after close questioning, and the cries of the children alerted the crowd, it was found out that he was indeed their father. At this time, the wife had disappeared. But for luck, the man would have been set ablaze.

“There have been cases where financial abuse also takes place in which the woman makes more money and takes every opportunity to insult the man for not measuring up. Interestingly, from my experience, it turns out that male victims of spousal violence are not restricted to a particular class of people – they cut across those with white collar jobs or artisans. It’s also another thing that contributes to the increase in divorce cases across Nigeria. You would be shocked how many divorce cases, especially with young marriages, have been handled just between January and February 2018. Sometimes, things become so bad that these men turn to beer joints to find some sort of respite. It is really sad and almost unbelievable what men go through in marriages. Besides financial dominance, emotional trauma, sometimes, major parental influence from the wife’s family can also be a form of abuse. Besides, how many men would be believed when they come out to report the situation of things? It’s not easy for a man to say he wants to divorce – there are issues to consider such as his social status, spiritual implications, financial implications, mental implications, as well as the children. For those who opt for the silent treatment, there is the fear that the pent-up anger may come to the fore such that if they’re not separated, somebody could get killed. There are provisions to address domestic violence in the law before it happens. However, the sad fact is that when such things happen, do people allow the full weight of the law to be brought to book? No. Usually, the couple would be asked to settle it as a family matter.”


Can such marriages work eventually?

Narrating another case, Ojekanmi said: “There was a man who came to report how his wife was maltreating him. He even pleaded with me not to tell his wife what I had told him because, according to him, she would beat the hell out of him if she found out. It was that bad. There are several men that are suffering and smiling, and cannot report what they are going through. That is why the media has a significant role to play. See the case of the woman alleged to have killed her husband in Abuja. She had reportedly threatened him previously and he had left the house, only to come back and meet his death. So many lives have been lost like that, with many cases unreported.”

For Professor Aremu, “at this point, when the men are the victims, the question now is: ‘What should such men do?’ In psychology, we have ways to address this. We have avoidance—approach. The man avoids the woman when she is charged physically or emotionally, or when he suspects the woman could bring in external invasion to assist her overcome the situation at home. It could also be approach–avoidance. In this case, the male approaches the wife, and when he feels threatened emotionally, physically or otherwise, he avoids the woman. Avoiding the woman means as much as possible. The man could leave the environment. Sometimes, the man may not even leave the environment and may, instead, tune off, emotionally. We also have avoidance–avoidance: This should be the last resort where the man is advised to avoid the environment, as well as the female partner. These are psychological ways of addressing spousal or marital violence.”

Pastor Ojekanmi says the marriage can work eventually, noting that “although, such cases of domestic violence are a strong indication of a major problem in the marriage, it doesn’t mean that marriage will end. As a marriage counsellor, I would not just say they should divorce. However, if it has happened once or twice, and the woman is apologetic, and ready to be helped, the situation can improve. It is an abnormal situation that can be ameliorated by going through therapy. Psychologically and spiritually, it can be handled.”

The post Assaulted, insulted, beaten… Men also cry appeared first on Tribune.

Facebook Comments

Please follow and like us:

  • 0
  • Share

Leave a Reply