Justifiably and rightly so, intimate partner violence (IPV) now has society’s spotlight brightly beamed on it.
It is also referred to as spousal violence or more commonly as domestic violence. More often females, usually termed the weaker sex, are at the receiving end. The reasons for IPV are myriad but, whatever the reason in a particular scenario is, it remains condemnable.
Some cultures, while not condoning it do not out rightly condemn it. In some of these cultures when it becomes by their, judgement, excessive, male relatives of the abused woman are encouraged to give her husband the same treatment in a tit for tat manner. But then, do two wrongs ever make a right?
IPV includes acts of physical abuse, sexual abuse, intimidation, controlling behaviours and emotional or psychological abuse. Controlling behaviours include isolating the individual from family and friends, monitoring their movements and restricting access to financial resources, employment, education or medical care.
Some government and non-governmental organisations(NGOs) have come to terms with the destructive capabilities of IPV and are making efforts at addressing it. Faith-based organisations are also beginning to quit playing the ostrich and have also now joined in efforts at addressing IPV.
While the majority of culprits in IPV are males, an increasing number of males are steadily becoming victims too. Unlike in the case of women, males who are victims often have and encounter difficulties reporting their ordeal. They are faced with the stigma of openly declaring – my wife dey beat me. Though seemingly funny, this is now a major concern. No one believes them including law enforcement agents because it is less recognised by society. Even the courts often times erroneously view the abusing women as victims rather than offenders.
The statistics of IPV against men is often disputed and we don’t seem to have a country prevalence rate for Nigeria. Our customary and magistrate courts following reports in the mainstream media are beginning to get inundated with men seeking divorce on the grounds of IPV. Features commonly cited include verbal abuse, refusal or sexual deprivation, physical attacks with household objects including knives, pestles, hot water, hot soup and the like.
Cases of injuries or attempts at severing the genitals have also been reported. To make up for the difference in strength the physical attacks on males are commoner when they are asleep or caught off guards. It is reportedly worse in intergenerational marriages where an old man marries a much younger lady.
Anthony Adebayo, in his highly cerebral paper published in 2014 in the American Journal of Sociological Research, declared that ‘domestic violence mostly leaves the victim depressed and anxious irrespective of gender. There may be a resort to alcohol abuse or drugs or engage in unprotected sex.”
He advocated that’ men should start by telling someone about the abuse, whether it’s “a friend, relative, health care provider or other close contacts.”
At first, like he rightly said ‘it might be difficult due to the male ego, but in the end, it is likely to bring about relief and the much-needed support’. Truly men also cry…make we helep them wipe the tears.