by Azeez Adeniyi
The internet has been agog over the issue of domestic violence in relationships and marriages in the last few days.
What seems to have fuelled this discourse is the claim by Nollywood actress, Mercy Aigbe, that her husband, Lanre Gentry has been beating her all through their marriage.
Aigbe had alleged that Mr. Gentry threatened to deal with her and smear her image if she ever thought of quitting the marriage until she finally gathered the courage to speak out.
As if we were not angry enough, news of a South African man who killed and burned his girlfriend filtered in.
Sandile Mantsoe allegedly killed his lover Karabo Mokoena and burnt her body beyond recognition.
Mokoena had been declared missing for two weeks until the police discovered her charred body.
The story had sparked outrage on social media, with the hashtag #RIPKarabo going viral even across Nigeria.
Our Nigerian celebrities also felt the need to educate women on the need to leave an abusive relationship or marriage at the early stage of detection.
There’s no denying that women are usually abused, but shouldn’t we talk about violence against men too?
A popular Nigerian entertainer recently shut down one of her followers for asking a question about violence against the men folk.
She had put up a post about violence against women and deciding the right time to leave an abusive marriage.
A female fan in response asked about domestic violence against men, an opportunity she could have used to buttress her point but chose to attack instead.
While this article is not aimed at discrediting or being insensitive towards women who are or have been victims of domestic violence, we should also know that men suffer the same fate.
Yes, men are also victims of domestic violence and it happens far more often than you probably expect.
Men are typically perceived as physically, mentally and emotionally stronger but that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t become victims.
Female victims, however, arouse sympathy when they speak out. This may be due to the perceived high rate of domestic violence against women or the fact that they are believed to be the ‘weaker sex’.
Sadly, men are usually reluctant to report such abuses because they fear they will be embarrassed, not believed or worst called a liar.
Such fears have made men stay quietly in abusive relationships and suffer silently.
Many people have trouble understanding why a woman who is being abused doesn’t simply just leave.
When the roles are reversed, and the man is the victim of the abuse, people are even more bemused.
However, anyone who has been in an abusive relationship knows that it’s never that simple.
Ending a relationship, even an abusive one, is rarely easy.
Abuse is simply abuse and we have to start realising that there is a lot of it going on, whether against a woman or a man.