It’s not just ok for anyone to engage in domestic violence (DV) against their spouse or any member of their family. While it’s true that men can also be victims of domestic violence, available statistics show that women are more likely to be abused in relationships than men. In fact, a CLEEN foundation survey found that about 1 in 3 of female respondents admitted having been a victim of DV in Nigeria.
DV can be either physical or emotional, while people can easily notice and empathise with victims of physical domestic violence, emotional violence can equally be if not more damaging to a person than physical violence. DV also appears to have no class divide being permissive at all strata of society, even among celebrities, as the recent case of Nollywood actress Mercy Aigbe shows. Pictures had surfaced on the internet of the battered face of the actress, allegedly beaten by her husband. The actress has also confirmed that she was a victim of DV at the hand of her husband. She had earlier posted a heart pouring of her bewilderment at her husband’s behaviour. Today, she followed up with a post of herself on a hospital bed. The post clearly shows that she underwent check for brain damage.
We have sometimes read of reasons advocated as to why some people beat their wives such as the one advocated by Lanre Gentry. Whatever the truth or otherwise of the allegations of Asiwaju against Mercy (Mercy vehemently denies those allegations), there is absolutely no justification for this hideous behaviour against the actress. Lanre Gentry’s action portrays him as being stuck in the Neanderthals’ era.
A civilised man would have baulked at the notion of lifting his finger on another person. A civilised man would have controlled his temper. A civilised man would have walked away from the scene.
We applaud the courage of Mercy Aigbe to raising awareness to the issue of DV and also for fighting for justice. Some people may have shied away from a public scrutiny that is sure to follow a similar situation and by their action, inadvertently encourage the perpetrators of DV. Mercy, by speaking out against DV, hopefully, would embolden more victims to speak up and seek help and justice. The good news is that there are some agencies such as the CLEEN Foundation, Project Alert, etc. which fight for rights of women and children. More information can also be found on the domestic violence website on where to seek help for victims of DV in Nigeria.