Opinion: It’s better to leave if you can’t deal with domestic violence

by James Amuta

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva

Men cannot give other men good advice when it comes to how to deal with an overtly abusive woman – men will often resort to scornful dissociation from the victim.

Seriously, I’m sick and tired of having to read stories of abusive spouses; of men battering women. Disgusting. Recently the ‘Blade Runner’. Oscar Pistorius was arrested on Valentine’s Day for fatally shooting his girlfriend.

Domestic abuse is a delicate subject, and many, for various political reasons have chosen to so graciously dance around the subject. But no matter how delicate a subject it is, and at the risk of sounding politically incorrect, domestic abuse is a ‘crime’ a majority of us are most certainly guilty of – either guilty as the closet perpetrators of this heinous crime against humanity or guilty as co-conspirators consciously or unconsciously redefining the scope and criminality of such a scourge.

We’ve rendered the definition blurry, for many reasons, but chief amongst them being that even the victims are often either too traumatized to come forward or by virtue of the kind of society we live in, afraid of being stigmatized. So, we’ve come to accept that giving your spouse a “non scalding slap” for instance threads on that thin line between culturally acceptable and criminally prosecutable.

We’ve all looked the other way when we hear or see our neighbors having a lovers’ spat. We’ve more often than not, ignored the tell-tale signs that our colleague is being abused.

In order to make my ranting as fair as possible, it may be wise at this juncture to postulate that victims of domestic abuse are not peculiar to any ethnicity, race, social strata, educational qualification, or even sex – yes, men and women are equally victims of domestic abuse – in all its forms – emotional, psychological, and physical. Though, it is considered rare to see cases of men being physically abused by their wives, but it is even more common to see men brutally abused by their wives verbally, emotionally, and even psychologically. But don’t get me wrong, this is in no way a justification or a rationalization or tacit endorsement of men who like barbarians raise their worthy-of-amputation hands on their spouses. But there is such a subject known as victimology – when you study the victim in order to successfully understand and solve the crime.

No doubt, women are the more recognized victims of domestic abuse. And mostly because of how our society have erroneously positioned men as the ‘superior sex’, it is unthinkable for an able-bodied man to admit or even hint at the fact that he’s been a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of his wife – imagine committing social suicide – he would be surely become a social pariah and the butt of every despicable bar room joke in his town.

Like the saying goes, there are two sides to a coin – two sides to every story. But in cases of domestic abuse, there’s only one rational side to the story – the woman’s side. It’s usually a black-and-white case of assault and battery – there’s never a chance for doubt, that maybe it was a more simple case of ‘two-fighting’ or even ‘self-defense’. No! No way! Because according to the society that has erroneously positioned men as the ‘superior sex’, it is UNTHINKABLE to defend yourself against an abusive woman – it is UNQUESTIONABLY your duty and responsibility NEVER to strike a woman, and rightly so. Because we have assumed that all women are ‘weaker’ than men, and therefore, it is a mortal character flaw induced by terrible genetics on the man’s part to raise your hands on a woman.

And society is right. It is indeed a character flaw for a man to be involved in any physical altercation with a woman, for any reason – at the risk of sounding sarcastic, as men, it is better to take the beating as men even if you lose your life in the process, because even if you defend yourself by striking back, your life as you know it is over – there’s no judge or jury anywhere in the world who’s going to hear your side of the story – the evidence is there for all to see – you hit a woman. And that’s that.

There’s a particular case that my friends and I often find disturbing as we joke about it – we’ve had these neighbors that have been on our radar for a while – now this couple are unique in every sense of the word – the wife is a towering woman who is at least 6”2 (six feet, two inches) with muscular bones, and a very loud domineering personality, while the husband is a little man of about 5”6 (five feet, two inches) with a calm, solemn, and gentle demeanor. Just imagine Will Smith and Jada Pinkette – but this time, the woman is Will, and the man is Jada. Now, without any attempt at sensationalizing my argument, let me just say that roughly, no week goes by that you don’t get to witness the blatant abuse of this man by this woman. This woman is a bully – she takes every chance she’s got to slap this man around – “why didn’t you park the car straight, get out of this car, let me park it myself you stupid good-for-nothing man” – and she literally dragged the man out of the driver seat to the chagrin of my friends and I who were having a drink just around the residential car park – but we couldn’t do or say anything but mutter to ourselves, wondering what would we could have done had it been us – did the man handle it like a man? But something hit me – had the case been reversed, and it was the man who dared to treat his wife with such barbaric disrespect, my friends and I definitely would have confronted him, and given him the talk of his life or maybe a well-deserved ‘spanking’.

From years of observing various couples in different dynamics, I’ve come to realize that women are emotional beings, and men are expected to be more rational and tolerant – since I was a child, I’ve been programmed to accept that a man can never win any fight with a woman – so, don’t even bother to engage in even the slightest of a verbal sparring session – if the woman starts gearing up for a showdown, just grab your wallet and car keys ( or whichever is within reach) and leave the house. Never give a woman the chance to aggravate you to anger, where you may say or do something you will regret for the rest of your life. Just FLEE THE SCENE. Even if you’re not a drinking man, just seek solace in the arms of a solitary bottle of beer.  And return only when you think the woman is calm enough to have a rational discussion with. Now, there are a few lessons I have learned as an adult, and they are as follows:


  1. Always APOLOGIZE even when you’re not wrong.
  2. NEVER confront an unfaithful woman in your won home. Because, when an unfaithful woman’s best defense is attack – and surely she would aim to hurt you or provoke you by smashing stuff that are dear to you. If you must confront an unfaithful woman, do it in a public place where you’re sure there’d be witnesses around – but whatever you do, don’t ever confront her publicly – never make your private business public.
  3. NEVER hit a woman. Not even a shove or a push – in fact, avoid any physical contact with a woman when she’s angry. Don’t even try to console her by petting her.
  4. If a woman has any reason to raise her voice at you, please do not do the same – and never tell her to keep her voice down. Just FLEE THE SCENE.
  5. HIDE YOUR ANGER BUTTON from your spouse. Never ever reveal your weakness to your spouse, if you know you will lose your cool when she decides to use it against you. When women feel physically powerless against a threatening opponent, they resort to EMOTIONAL WAR FARE – they attack your most sensitive weakness, and surely if you think that would render you temporarily insane – please by all means, don’t arm her with such a weapon.


My friends may have made fun of my neighbor  they may use inappropriate expletives to describe him, they may even say he’s not a man at all. But I ENVY HIM – I wish all men could learn from him, because in the four years I’ve seen him take all the abuse from his wife, I’ve never for one day heard his voice. I doubt he talks above a whisper. My friends think that by succumbing to his abusive wife’s barbarism, he’s less of a man but I think not. I believe he’s more of a man than most men I know. But then I wonder how he’s been able to take this abuse without letting his masculine ego push him off the cliff of tolerance. Simple. Though my friends and neighbors believe he’s received strict instructions from his wife not to mingle with the men in the estate, or even within his immediate neighborhood, I personally believe that he made that decision for himself because men are a bad influence.

Men cannot give other men good advice when it comes to how to deal with an overtly abusive woman – men will often resort to scornful dissociation from the victim, or worse encourage or influence him to TAKE CHARGE, which more often than not may result in domestic abuse. Because you can’t cheat nature. If it’s not in your nature to be the alpha in a relationship, attempting to adopt that stance with the already established alpha wife may result in fatality, because there can never be two captains on a ship. If your wife has made herself the alpha, please don’t ever challenge her authority – if you feel you can’t hack it, please seek an amicable dissolution of the union. No one can force you to remain in an abusive relationship.

And for the alpha males, who can’t tolerate insubordination from their emotionally charged spouse, please just before you become a serial abuser, or even a murderer, seek the immediate dissolution of the union.

In a nutshell, if you’re not happy in your relationship – or if you’re spouse provokes you unnecessarily, instead of using her as a punching bag, just WALK AWAY and find someone you’re compatible with.

Domestic abuse usually starts with minor disagreements over flimsy matters, then escalates to heated verbal fights over important decisions, before it devolves into barbaric brutality and uncontrollable rage. But you can choose to nip that in a bud today by severing ties with that spouse that makes you lose your cool.

Men, please take time to evaluate your stressors – check the stress factors in your life, and figure out how to resolve them with professional help. Beating your wife up is no way to exert control over your frustration at work.

Finally be honest with yourself, if you’ve ever nursed and successfully suppressed the urge to hit your wife, congratulations, but guess what you still need help. If you’ve ever nursed the idea of hitting your spouse even for a fleeting second, please be true to yourself, and seek couple’s therapy.


James Amuta is the co-host of Nigeria’s most controversial online TV show, Two Angry Men, exclusive online to www.battabox.com. He tweets from @jamesamuta


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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