Domestic violence: Who will save men abused by their wives?

It is no longer news that everyday, men abuse women. Until in recent years, such abuses went unreported. Nowadays, due to advocacies by gender activists, violence against women and girls now feature more prominently in the media. As it is today, the awareness about abuse of women has widely gathered momentum such that many of such can no longer go unreported, no thanks to the power of social media. 

Even with the level of publicity that it receives, gender activists insist that gender-based violence remain largely under-reported.

In a twist of fate, violence against men by their spouses are rarely reported nor even mentioned in the public.

In some instances, women are known to have murdered their husbands due to one grievance or another. Infidelity features frequently in such cases as the major trigger of the violence. In few cases are factors like inability to meet the economic needs of the family is responsible. 

Examples abound

For instance, in January 2020, a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja convicted and sentenced Maryam Sanda to death by hanging for killing her husband, Bilyaminu Bello.

Delivering judgment, Justice Yusuf Halilu said every available evidence had proved that Maryam `fatally` stabbed her husband to death in Abuja on November 19, 2017.

Similarly, Symphorosa Otike-Odibi, a Lagos-based lawyer, was in 2018 murdered by his lawyer-wife, Udeme for having extra-marital affairs.

Udeme on May 3, 2018 allegedly stabbed Symphorosa to death and mutilated his corpse by cutting off his genitals at their Diamond Estate, Sangotedo, Lekki, Lagos home.

She claimed that whenever she raised the issue of infidelity with him, his responses were not satisfactory and nonchalant; therefore snuffed live out of him.

According to Udeme, “When I returned to where the deceased was, I hit him on the head with the frying pan and continued to hit him on the head  and used the knife to stab him in his abdomen”, she had confessed.

Also in 2018, Rachael Adetsav killed her husband and three children. She was said to have been having issues with her husband which culminated into killing him and the children.

Adetsav was said to have killed her husband and immediately rushed out of their apartment to smash the victim’s car before she committed suicide.

In February 2019, a 19-year-old girl, Mary Adeniyi was arrested by the police in Lagos for allegedly stabbing her husband to death.

Adeniyi, a nursing mother and her husband, Solomon Nduka, 30 had a fight over alleged infidelity.

She allegedly stabbed him on the neck region with a knife which prompted neighbours to rush him to a nearby hospital. He later died.

Way back in 2012, Hadezia Abutu (nee Afegbua), was accused of killing her husband, Ibrahim just two days after a new wife was welcomed into the family in December 2011.

She was said to have allegedly shot her husband, Ibrahim in their Wuse II Abuja residence just two days after Ibrahim married another wife.

Report indicated that before he died, he informed his younger brother,  Obotu, that he was shot at by his wife, Hadezia.

In reactions

Mrs Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, coordinator, Lagos State, Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team said men have difficulty reporting incidents of assault by their partners, a situation she attributes to cultural norms and need to avoid certain stigma associated with it.

According to her, patriarchy is an enemy of everybody because it keeps people in silence.

“From a young age, males are not allowed to express themselves when they are experiencing trauma and that lingers on to adulthood,” she said.

She said between January and June 2021,  there were about 194 reported assaults by wives against their men in Lagos state alone.

Fagbohungbe Oni, a professor of Psychology, University of Lagos said that one of the most common attributes displayed by a potential killer-woman is destructive tendency.

Mr David Aloysius, a psychologist said domestic violence is committed mainly against the women but recent events show that women also perpetrate violence against their husbands.

Aloysius said some men are daily being beaten, subjugated and traumatised by their wives, adding that most of the abuses go unreported.

This according to him is because of the notion that the man is always superior to the woman in terms of physical strength.

He said while the ‘norm’ was men abusing their spouses, the table seems to be turning against men as they now face regular abuse in the hands of their women, but are largely unreported.

He therefore called on gender right advocates to beam their searchlights on the plight of men who are under the subjugation of women.

Aloysius said that domestic violence involving wives physically assaulting their husbands was assuming a dangerous dimension, such that if nothing is done to check the trend, it would assume a no-return dimension.

He said some wives not only beat up their husbands to stupor, but kill them in some cases.

According to him, though men are naturally perceived as being mentally stronger in some instances, the reverse is the case in many unreported instances.

Dr Kehinde Samuel, a psychiatrist, said domestic violence could be drastically curtailed through counsel and mental evaluation of potential couples.

“It is gladdening to note that the law has not spared women brought before it for abusing their spouses, but the time has come for the society to take a hard look at certain gender-related provisions that relate to how some men are treated by their spouse. In many instances, it may not be physical abuse, but psychological abuse and cold shoulder which is a silent but worst form of abuse. I can tell you in clear terms that this is the highest form of abuse suffered by the male folks especially now that society seems to have robbed them of their pride due to economic reasons.”

Analysts are therefore of the views that it is necessary for stakeholders to make conscious efforts to bring to the front burner that plight of thousands of men suffering in silence from abuse by their partners. 

That is not all, it is the views of many that just like a call desk on violence against women are opened in some public places, such should be replicated for the males so that a proper channel of reporting can be established for proper data.