Temitope Shittu-Alamu: On earth it’s Venus vs. Mars

Violence against women is just not right. There is no other way to say it.

Its 4:15am, and HE and SHE are at it again. He has just slapped her and I heard something break. I also heard soft cries followed by another slap. SHE is crying louder now. From the mosque opposite, the Imam is already calling the faithful for prayers and his voice is loud over the speaker but I can still hear HER cry. I hear more things break and it’s really getting uncomfortable, but this is the pattern every day.

By 5 o’clock the chaos usually calmed down, probably because more neighbours were awake then and some may perhaps be bold enough to go and knock. Once a neighbour went to make peace but came out with a lump on his cheek instead. Another neighbour missed the swerve of a wooden ladle by some seconds.

By 7 o’clock, is had become a custom to spot HER in sunshade, holding a school uniformed kid in one hand and an office bag in the other. SHE would greet neighbours in very high spirits and encourage her kid to wave at elders. Soon after she has gotten in a taxi, house maids from different flats would gather and ask about her sanity. They would say; “abi he don jazz her? If na me I go run comot with my pikin.”

We would wait and wait for HIM to come out, go to work or shop or even just buy a newspaper. He never did. It was a mystery what he did inside all day…

I try to understand the thoughts behind the man’s actions. I am perplexed and beyond shocked, that a man would beat a woman who is supposed to be his wife or partner. Maybe HE sees her as a younger sister. But even if she were, beating her to the extent of breaking stuff is just completely unacceptable.

Violence against women is just not right. There is no other way to say it. It as a matter of fact shows weakness on the side of the man. Debatably, it’s already a man’s world we live in. So hitting a woman just draws out whatever iota of confidence she ever had, especially when the one beating her is the same whose duty is to protect her. It is shocking that any man would look at any lady and be that much appalled that hitting her is his way out. For me it’s just sheer disrespect and complete cowardice on the man’s part.

It’s shocking that SHE has never reported this physical abuse to anyone. Perhaps SHE was living in denial, because, I am thinking even rich, popular, and famous guys (yes Chris Brown I’m talking about you) were reported, so what was it about her? Since SHE won’t talk, we all gossiped about it. But SHE’s dying. First her style dies. Looking good matters less since she’s dehumanised at home. Her enthusiasm fades – even for her child. She is motivated to do nothing and has no opinion of her own. Her lights are going out. She is completely battered – body and soul.

Next day swings by with the normal clamour. As usual the beating, vandalising and crying ends by 5. But by 7 there is no SHE in sunshades holding her child, instead for the first time, there is HE driving out as fast as possible. By 8:30 SHE is found on the floor by a curious neighbour in the pool of her own blood. By 9, I am late for work but I am sitting with the neighbours and “association of housemaids.” We are all saying the same thing this time. We should have spoken up. We should have saved one of our own.

Comments (16)

  1. This is one thing that beats my imagination. My father was a gentleman and he always told my brothers "only a beast will beat a woman"… These words still resonate within me each time I hear "domestic violence"

    Even in the classic tale of beauty and the beast, the beast was certainly a bully (by the way he was under a spell) but not once did he beat or slap beauty. So I think its unacceptable for a man to beat a woman. Its evil!

    And please we are tired of shrinks and silly Docs putting forth some nonsensical argument that its because the man saw his father beat his Mom. Please, please, please. We are sick and tired of that frivolous explanation. He has no biz being married then. Deal with ur past before you venture into marriage!!!

    But ladies we need to be frank too, if a guy is beating you as a boyfriend and you don't break up with him, if you get married 2him and he continues beating please bear with him. Its a way of expressing his love. Coz I dunno why you dint call off the relationship when he was an "amateur" now in marriage I bet he is now a "pro" worthy of an olympic medal in boxing. There are no options, no 2 ways, break up with a violent BF ASAP.

    Nice one Dolly! We need to speak up!

  2. You are on point Tope! Domestic violence is unfortunately a norm in our society. What makes it worse are the excuses people give! "she causes it" "she's too stubborn" "He's a man" The truth is that lots of women are dying all over the world as a result of this! People need to be educated! That a man is tall, dark, rich and handsome is not the major criteria for marriage. A man should be man enough to let you be a woman! Also, lovely writing, I can't say I'm surprised though…runs in the family! Thumbs up!

  3. I grew up around a lot of violent neighbours,I lost a colleague to Domestic Violence, in d past 2weeks av read 2diff blogs on 2diff women who lost their lives to DV. This clearly reveals its bin ongoin, its ongoin(drz prob anoda woman suffering even as I write) nd if caution isn't thrown into d winds, it wud continue, nd d good part? Dis boxer of a husband always gets away with it. I know its INSANITY, and so I ask myself why would u willingly live under the same roof with a mad man??? So I ask women: Y dnt u tak a bow nd save ur life???(Dats prob d only tin u av left, SAVE IT!!!!)

  4. I still don't understand why a man will raise his hand on a woman.I just don't get it.its sad really. And it never stops. You see an almost perfect guy and gbam,he's a woman-beater.an abuser. They destroy these women and some actually die from it. Thank u for adding ur voice to d 'violence against women'. I pray the Lord will touch deir souls and stop domestic violence.

  5. Α lovely piece.

    We have to say NO to domestic abuse of women.thumbs up Namie.

  6. A fi gba te je ko na pa! I think beyond the obvious moral of the story, this reminds us to "speak out" against all that's wrong around us. Tantalising gist is one thing, a lot of times the subjects of our gist are in reall, mortal danger. Please don't just walk by. Intervene. You might save someone's life.

  7. Lovely read, Wonderful point, one which i must say needs to be continuously emphasized. A 'boxer' of a husband does develop such a habit in a day, traits are there right from his childhood. My mother curbed every iota of a woman beater in me, my stubborn lil sis knew just how to bring out the fighter within(though i was and still am very gentle :D), i responded with slaps, kicks and punches; My Mum will have none of it, In Yoruba she often said 'If you beat your sister, you will beat your wife'. Am older, and i think she did an invaluable job. Women are the victims and also a huge part of the solution, sure u know what i mean.

    Tope, Mega Proud, Mega Proud.

  8. Nice piece Tope. Its time women are forced out of abusive marriages. If and when d man decides to get help, then d woman can choose to go back to d marriage.I have heard and read abt so many women who have lost their lives due to domestic violence.To ladies out there u shldnt endure in an abusive relationship.

  9. Lovely, touching piece. It's a beautiful blend of fact and fiction! Keep it up gal.

  10. I wonder why men choose to practice their punching skills on poor helpless women when they could have earned money throwing punches in a boxing ring.It is high time the society force abused women out of such homes,after all,the raison d'etat of the state is protection of lives and property.Mothers have a huge role to play in this,stop making your boys feel like they are the next best thing to 'Hercules' when they bully others.To the abused woman out there,if he throws a punch,run for your life.Thank you Tope for this beautiful piece.

  11. Its amazing how much this act is prevalent in our society, even in this modern age. Its a horrible, scary situation, and as a child its worse because you are helpless in protecting the one you love…but what exactly can one do? Some men change to be beaters while others change from beaters….

  12. Nice read Tope, very relevant in todays world. I've been arguing on the same topic all day, a womans actions or words are no excuse for his cowardice, why don't men beat up male co-workers when they disagree with them? The Nigerian system creates a loophole for wives to be battered and its time we spoke up and changed it.

  13. Violence against Women and similar vices have become commonplace in our society and the greatest challenge is in speaking out , I am very happy Tope has lent her voice in collaboration with the 'association of housemaids' to speak about this. Please speak out , speak to somebody about this or the world will speak about you , Also we encourage the legal system and the police to have a more private system of addresing domestic violence issues to protect the women and children who are vulnerable , Tope , Plenty gbosas for you

  14. Good one! Someone once said men that beat don't play around. Another said a wife beater is merely showing love! More precisely,to the woman 'a man who has never beaten you doesn't love you'.some bunch of fallacies. I think a wife beater is suffering from insecurity arising from a low self image and a deep sense of failure -whether real or imagined. He is sick and desperately needs help. As for the woman, the Bible advises 'FLEE from all appearances of evil…

  15. Very good read Tope!

    This is an area needing more focus and exposure not only in Nigeria but also the world over.Domestic violence rates are alarmingly high especially in Nigeria which has various frameworks for tackling such issues yet,progress is almost non-existent.Of good reference is the recent case of one MR Arowolo who stabbed his banker wife to death.

    God help us all.

    Kudos Tope! Keep the light burning

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