The Rise Of Domestic Violence Against Men – The Silent Scourge
Every human, regardless of age, cultural background or social status desires to be loved. It is our inherent nature.
Love as we know it comes in different forms. A parent’s love for their child, siblings love for each other and even one’s love of one’s self. These are all shades of love but there is a greater desire to connect with and love someone other than yourself on a deeper level. This love is physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual. And when you find love, it can be the most magical feeling in the world. Wars have been fought and lost over this kind of love. There is even a whole day set apart on the calendar to celebrate this kind of love.
When we find love, we want it to last forever. For some people, it does last forever in that happily ever after type of way. But for some others, this love that they find quickly descends into a nightmare that they would not have conceived even in their worst dreams…domestic violence.
Domestic violence in Nigeria is not a growing trend. It is something that has been woven into the very cultural fabric of our society. What we are seeing now is a case of heightened awareness.
Yes, Men Too Can Be Targets
The subject of domestic abuse against women that was previously discussed in hushed tones is now being loudly debated circles in where victims can be heard. What is surprising however, is the rise in cases of similar abuse against men in Nigeria.
There are government agencies in Nigeria set up to support women who have been victims of domestic violence but the same cannot be said for men who have suffered similar fate. Currently, there are no domestic violence statistics available to refute this gender bias. But, as more cases are being highlighted by the media, it is clear that men are also at the receiving end of domestic violence.
Can We Promote Laws That Protect Children Too?
Alarmingly, there has also been recorded incidents of domestic violence against children perpetrated by the adults who are meant to protect. But this is topic for another day. Today, the focus is on domestic violence against men and women.
I see domestic violence as a social problem that must be promptly addressed. And while government agencies and people in power are working towards implementing both social and legal reforms that would go a long way in fixing the problem, we as individuals have a role to play as it starts with us. In the famous words of President Muhammed Buhari, we have to be the change that we want to see. This sets the tone for the 3-step plan to combating violence
- Love yourself
This seemingly simple phrase holds the key to experiencing true love. If you cannot love yourself, it would be very easy to interpret every display of affection whether healthy or unhealthy as love. I have heard women say things like, “He beats me because he loves me”. In the case of men, I have heard things like, “that is just how she expresses herself”.
To the average person, these statements make no sense. But for someone who constantly berate and abuse themselves both mentally and emotionally, a physical expression of the same attitude is no different. If you don’t love yourself, you put yourself in a situation where you either enable abuse or you become the abuser. You cannot give what you don’t have. You simply cannot.
You can start this process by getting to know yourself. Close your inner ear to other people’s opinion of you or the society’s expectation of you. The journey to self-discovery can be an exciting one if you are brave enough to pursue it. If you have anger issues, face it head on. Ask yourself why you are so angry all the time.
And if it appears to be something that you cannot handle alone, get the help you need. Gone is the era when men were expected to “man up” and bottle it inside. Let it all out and cry. And when you are done, find healing for yourself.
For the woman, crying and being vulnerable does not make you any less of a feminist than your placard carrying counter parts. Embrace your pain, let it out and find healing. Purge yourself of these negative emotions and come to a place where you are at peace with yourself.
This process may not be an easy one, but I promise you, it will be worth it.
TO BE CONTINUED…