Violence Against Women! It’s Our Issue

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Several years ago, I saw a social media status update from a girl complaining about some loud noises that was preventing her from sleeping. Curious I asked what the problem was, she informed me that her neighbors were making noise again. Again? This meant that this happened often, so I pressed further…that’s when I found out that the noise…the loud noise keeping her from sleeping…disturbing her at night was the sound of her neighbor’s husband beating his wife! I was shocked…me a JJC just coming to Nigeria…I was like why don’t you call the police or report the case and the answer she gave me was quite startling “wetin concern me” aka “it’s none of my business.”

IMG_9940It’s never been anyone’s business, cause we feel like it cannot happen to us or to our sisters or parents. Or maybe we are too pre-occupied with battling our own worries so we ignore the abuse. And tick it down as “noise.” Just another daily I mean nightly husband beating his wife silly.

But sometimes the ordinary beating takes a different turn. You see after years of telling the abused spouse to go back to their other half, after years of silence by a community, by family, by you and me…the perpetrator gets arrogant, gets confident, and then goes all Mercy Nnadi on their spouse.

Don’t know Mercy Nnadi…well her husband after repeated abuse and beatings, finally snapped one day and used a hot iron to burn her chest and a screw driver to take the burnt skin off only to re-apply the iron again. She survived, but her son did not. He died…

Does it make you mad?
Does it make you upset?
Does it piss you off?

I am sure it does, you probably even want to ensure that her husband gets to die not by electrocution or hanging but by a hot iron pressed all over his body (idea credited to Ofili’s evil side). But we know where that takes us…nowhere…just more violence. So what can we do?

projectalertLast year a friend of mine Ngozi Ilondu (my unofficial stalker) got hired to Project Alert, an organization that helps battle against domestic violence. Since she joined she has shared numerous horror stories about violence against women that occur in Nigeria. But the violence is not the sickening part, the sickening part is the silence from the community, not just a passive silence…but an active push by local authorities and community to silence the voices of the abused. All for the sake of preserving family and community pride!

So it is no surprise that project alert faces more opposition than they get help. But yet they keep battling to get voices heard but they cannot do it alone. They need you and me.

Ngozi stalks me everyday with email requests, from article edits of articles, mailing of sponsorship forms and others. So I thought, what if she could also stalk the ofilispeaks.com readers…Mercy Nnadi has also joined them because she understands the devastation of domestic violence, but we don’t need to see another person go through it before we help support. They need help from graphic designers, to bloggers willing to spread the word about what they are doing and they also needs funds. So here’s how you can help:

1. Send an email to ngozi.ilondu@projectalertnig.org with the simple words “How Can I Help You?”
2. Make a donation to Project Alert Survivor’s Fund | 1013113653 | Zenith Bank or via paypal at http://bit.ly/IvkhZg or with paypal email projectalert@projectalertnig.org
3. Can’t make a donation, then tweet/facebook/instagram this article and help spread the word for the organization.
4. Lastly, I will personally match any donation made (up to N75,000 ($500)) this weekend.

Now, all the above we make a difference. But the lasting difference is by us changing the conversation. So when we talk to people, we let them know that it is not about not marrying Muslim or Igbo or Yoruba, but rather about marrying someone who loves you, who will take care of you, who will respect you. By spreading this message and channeling our anger into something meaningful then maybe, just maybe we can change the conversation and save a life.

twitterWritten By Okechukwu Ofili. Follow him on twitter, Facebook or subscribe to his blog for more honest talk and as @ofilispeaks on instagram for more sketches! To bring Ofili to your school or organization as a speaker simply go here. His third book How Intelligence Kills will be coming out in December of 2013 pre-order here http://bit.ly/intelligencekills

 

Ofili

Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
Follow him on Twitter
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Read his crazy titled books on konga or okadabooks
Feed his children at…no wait he has no kids…. 

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29 comments on “Violence Against Women! It’s Our Issue

  1. Maimuna on said:

    Actually, I am not sad or upset for this woman.
    She chose to stay in an abusive relationship, so what did she expect? For him to one day come on a horse and kneel down and start acting like a prince?
    If this was the first or second time, I’d be sorry but she decided to stay in and nurture a violent environment. I actually think shes lucky shes not dead.

    • Maimuna,people like you need orientation. Like seriously? *smh vigorously* I just pray u (and members of your family) don’t fall victim to domestic violence. We all have our part to play in eradicating domestic violence. We shouldn’t leave it to God to solve for us. Even if you don’t have the money to donate, there are several ways in which we can support this movement. Let’s us start DOing!

      • Maimuna on said:

        Two quotations from her story:

        “Family sources hinted that signs of danger in the marriage reared its ugly face early after the two love birds fell in love 16 years ago, when Mary was barely 22 years old. But she was apparently blinded by love, hoping that her heartthrob would outgrow his anger someday, which was never to be.”

        “One of them said, “ Since they started living as husband and wife, there had never been a time we did not experience shout or crisis from their one-room apartment. It is worse any time the man came home drunk. We have even gone to report to the police when it became too much because we did not want a situation where he would kill her one day and we would be held responsible. Even at that, he did not stop.
        “Several times, the woman had wanted to go back to her family but she wouldn’t. Even her father-in-law had advised her to leave when she travelled home last December because he was tired of the endless reports of his son battering his daughter in-law.”

        How is she not her own worst enemy?

    • huh? That’s the problem. You need to read her background, her story. She wanted to leave, but family told her to stay, community told her to stay, police officers told her to stay. Its easy to comment from the comfort of your laptop but if you are not in that situation you will not understand. So rather than criticize her actions, ensure that you are pushing those around in abusive relationships to leave.
      Okechukwu Ofili latest post is Violence Against Women! It’s Our IssueMy Profile

    • Come on!!!! Are u kidding me? Are we playing the blame game right now? Nobody is saying you should applaud her for staying in that abusive relationship, but don’t justify her husband’s behaviour. She chose to stay because she was in love. People love hard. Have u considered the reasons why people stay in these relationships? It could be because of battered esteem, societal pressure even religion.. Your response was just cold, shallow and unbelievable.. Its hard to believe that we still have ur type..
      ifeomanwawe.blogspot.com

    • You should watch leslie steiner’s video on youtube, to find out why she stayed in a relationship that was abusive. You may not fully understand their predicament until u hear it in the words of someone who has being there. Please watch it on youtube, leslie steiner’s speech on TED X. Thanks.

  2. Pingback: Mercy Nnadi Survives Her Husband’s Attack With a Hot Iron and now Campaigns Against Domestic Violence | What Nigerians are Talking About Now

  3. ire.obatoki@gmail.com on said:

    Maimuna, read your comment again.
    Read it over and over again till you fully realize you wrote like her ex-husband would write. You wrote like someone who would not only justify that sort of barbaric act of wickedness but commit it. Maybe, this story doesn’t shock you because you’ve heard worse or you’ve seen worse in your environment or worse still, you are an empty-head who knows nothing about real human relationships. I don’t know which it is. But, whichever way, you may have lost touch with compassion and hatred for gross demonstrations of evil. What did you say about the husband who burned his wife’s chest? What did you say about the fact that he committed even more unimaginable things to her after that? No, where others are see hideous crimes, you see the woman as a fool who put herself in that position. Shame On You. You would probably also argue, given your predisposition to defend the criminal, that armed robbers are only smart, the people who they rob are just foolish enough to let them in. Oh yeah, rapists are normal friendly guys! It’s the girls they raped who seduced them? and poor, dear paedophiles are just normal dads or mums, its the little kids they molested that are to blame, who send dem message? why were they that cute?? SHAME ON YOU

    I will still give you the benefit of the doubt, seeing that you are a human being and can change for the better if you want to. First, you have to accept you are a long way away from being a decent human being, You and whoever has influenced your world view to think this way. Accept that and learn to sympathize.

    • Maimuna on said:

      Two quotations from her story:

      “Family sources hinted that signs of danger in the marriage reared its ugly face early after the two love birds fell in love 16 years ago, when Mary was barely 22 years old. But she was apparently blinded by love, hoping that her heartthrob would outgrow his anger someday, which was never to be.”

      “One of them said, “ Since they started living as husband and wife, there had never been a time we did not experience shout or crisis from their one-room apartment. It is worse any time the man came home drunk. We have even gone to report to the police when it became too much because we did not want a situation where he would kill her one day and we would be held responsible. Even at that, he did not stop.
      “Several times, the woman had wanted to go back to her family but she wouldn’t. Even her father-in-law had advised her to leave when she travelled home last December because he was tired of the endless reports of his son battering his daughter in-law.”

      How is she not her own worst enemy?

  4. Winter-Nights on said:

    You wonder why the woman stayed? It is the attitude of people like Maimuna, judgmental and just plain crass. If she left at the first go round, they would say you are being a modern woman and not enduring like our mothers. I always say domestic violence is encouraged in Nigeria and by women most of the time. A lot of women need orientation and a sense of “stop passing unnecessary judgement”. Mercy, thank God for you and to all the women out there suffering and some men as well, I pray for you. It is not easy but I pray for the strength to walk away, get help and lead a healthy life away from your monstrous spouses.

  5. Maimuna has just proven again that it is we women who cause ourselves pain. In a long winded round about way, I somewhat understand your point. Done people lack the education, will power or even the point of view to realize they are being abused. This year I have heard about several women who died from domestic violence, one was thrown down from a story building. She had apparently run to the house of a married fellow church sister who told get that it’s against her (church sister) culture to house a married woman. When I went on a mission trip to Jos last year to do some trauma counseling, I came across several incidences of domestic violence, and my coordinator was like would you ask them to leave the house? I was heart broken. This thing about God hates divorce as the excuse for women to stay in abusive relationship is what exactly? God hates divorce but there is the option of separation. The one that gets me is the stupid sentence ‘protecting your home’. What does that even mean? Your husband is sleeping with your 8 year old and you are still there protecting your home. What are you protecting? There is no home. Meanwhile, as I always say it’s our desperation to get married and stay in the marriage at all costs that is killing us. I have vowed that I will neither get married at all costs nor stay married at all cost#nuffsaid

  6. Maimuna has just proven again that it is we women who cause ourselves pain. In a long winded round about way, I somewhat understand your point. Some people lack the education, will power or even the point of view to realize they are being abused. This year I have heard about several women who died from domestic violence, one was thrown down from a story building. She had apparently run to the house of a married fellow church sister who told get that it’s against her (church sister) culture to house a married woman. When I went on a mission trip to Jos last year to do some trauma counseling, I came across several incidences of domestic violence, and my coordinator was like would you ask them to leave the house? I was heart broken. This thing about God hates divorce as the excuse for women to stay in abusive relationship is what exactly? God hates divorce but there is the option of separation. The one that gets me is the stupid sentence ‘protecting your home’. What does that even mean? Your husband is sleeping with your 8 year old and you are still there protecting your home. What are you protecting? There is no home. Meanwhile, as I always say it’s our desperation to get married and stay in the marriage at all costs that is killing us. I have vowed that I will neither get married at all costs nor stay married at all cost#nuffsaid

  7. Thanks for sharing this Ofili. Unfortunately domestic violence is very common in Africa and worse still, it is also accepted in society. People being abused are told to endure, ‘marriage is hard’. No one likes to talk about it and there is so much stigma around the topic. There are so many different reasons people stay in abusive relationships, some of which have been mentioned above. We’re so image-conscious as a society and nobody wants to admit that their life is not perfect. But we need to speak up; parents, teachers and adults in general need to let their daughters (and sons I guess- men get abused too) and wards know that any form of abuse is not acceptable and should not be tolerated. Self esteem plays a huge part too. I really think it starts from childhood. A man that hits his wife probably saw his father hit his mother. It’s about letting people know from a young age that it is not OK to hit another human being and that no marriage is worth losing your life for. It’s about teaching self-respect and respect for people. I could go on and on…but thanks for sharing.
    Renny latest post is The Singles’ Ten Commandments…My Profile

  8. Its time we all raise up to this rubbish. I was a victim of domestic violence and soon, my divorce will be fianlised. Its traumatic for the woman and the children involved in that union. Victims should realise that it may not be easy leaving a violent spouse but it pays in the long run. It is better to be alive than end up dead and that society that told you to stay and endure will turn around and call you a fool for staying. Bottom line- you are nobody’s punching bag. You are beautifully and wonderfully made. No human being has the right to subject you to any form of maltreatment all in the name of marriage. I have moved on, I have healed and I am helping women who are victims. Thanks Ofili for sharing the word.

  9. Thank you Ofili for using your blog as a platform to shine the spotlight on Domestic Violence. We have gotten a lot of support from people who read your post and decided to act. Thank you.

    It is easy to play the blame game from the comfort of our own realities but the truth remains that victims of domestic violence are up against the police who refuse to do their jobs and insist that it is a private matter. Police who know about the Domestic violence law and yet refuse to implement it. They are up against families who believe it is a shame for their daughter to be single or divorced and Religion that continually does more harm than good in assisting women and young girls who have fallen victims to domestic or sexual abuse. Finally they are up against themselves in a battle of “Do i leave or do i exercise more patience maybe he will change?” That is not a good place to be because without the right support structures women can make drastic decisions that can mar them.
    We need to lend a hand to these women and realize that they are going through a lot. Even when they leave like most of you have suggested, they still face ridicule in their communities, workplace and religious organization especially from fellow women. In a country where people believe that getting married is like winning a Nobel prize, people hardly want to know what it feels like to walk in the shoes of these women. Nobody even considers how the children feel watching their parents fight.
    We have a long way to go to nip these issues in the bud but we will get there and we need everyone to join us in this fight. And while we are at it, if you are still single please read this article and know the signs that you are dating an abusive man http://www.stelladimokokorkus.com/2013/07/from-project-alertsigns-you-are-dating.html
    If we marry right, we will reduce the risk.

  10. Speechless…great work and am in for this but…this war can’t just be fought on social platforms…are we targeting the institutions that great influence comes from? We have nollywood (who promote what we are fighting in the name of exposing the ills of the society), schools (whose focus is to get 5 bright students academically and make money from the rest without emphasis on building value systems), religious bodies (who buy the emotions of the citizenry to achieve selfish goals) and more…we need to target and engage these institutions.

  11. Ulochi on said:

    Hi Ofili

    Curious to know, the picture on your article, is that Mercy currently? I’ve been searching for the update to her story but to no avail. I hope she survived and was able to find strength

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