Posted by: zebbook | June 8, 2012

My wife, My property: Our Society and Domestic Violence – by @deboadejugbe

My wife, My property: Our Society and Domestic Violence – by Adebowale Adejugbe

Liberty is the right to do what the law permits. ~ Montesquieu

A lady was used as the display picture on a friend’s blackberry messenger recently with an earlier status saying her husband had beaten her. It turned out to be a different story entirely as the picture depicts someone that was involved in an accident, but it provoked an argument/discussion on the subject of domestic violence. A heated argument ensued on the issue of a spousal abuse that occured at shoprite, where the husband turned “Jackie Chan” on the wife.

A friend of mine on hearing about the public Chinese film acted by the husband on his wife asked about the woman’s offence, so that we could judge the merit of the case. I had to ask him if it was justified for a man to beat his wife, to which he said YES and proceeded to give me an example of what the woman could have done to deserve a merciless and thoroughly embarrassing beating at Shoprite. He said the wife could have embarrassed the husband or somehow disrespected him. He went further by saying women deserved to be beaten to make them “tow the line” and respect their husband’s wishes because sometimes they needed it. 

Another twist was that his fiancée was there. She added her two cents to the discussion by telling me it’s normal for guys to beat their spouses. It generated a lot of bad blood and tension because I was of the opposing view which I defended vehemently. I’d rather lose a friend than compromise my principle because I wanted to make him feel justified or cool by endorsing spousal abuse. Not even if his fiancée supports domestic abuse which he confirmed to everyone there. He even described how it happened and put one of the episodes down as testing her perseverance and reaction when abused.

I understand people have opposing views on these situations, I even understand why people have to do it sometimes (which I’ll explain later on) but I don’t support, endorse or would ever see it as appropriate irrespective of what anyone thinks.

Let’s get some facts:

Using’s description: Domestic abuse, also known as spousal abuse, occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person. Domestic abuse that includes physical violence is called domestic violence.

Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser doesn’t “play fair.” Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her thumb. Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.

Domestic violence and abuse does not discriminate. It happens among heterosexual couples and in same-sex partnerships. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more commonly victimized, men are also abused—especially verbally and emotionally, although sometimes even physically as well. The bottom line is that abusive behaviour is never acceptable, whether it’s coming from a man, a woman, a teenager, or an older adult. You deserve to feel valued, respected and safe.

Myths about Domestic Violence:

There are many myths that surround the issue of domestic violence. Common beliefs are:

*Domestic violence is something that only affects a few individuals;

*Domestic violence only affects women;

*Domestic violence only happens in heterosexual relationships;

*Domestic violence only affects individuals from disadvantaged, marginalized and deprived areas of society;

*Domestic violence is a cultural matter;

*Domestic violence does not affect older women;

*Domestic violence manifests itself in individuals who have been the victims and / or witnesses of violence in their family;

*Domestic violence is provoked;

*Domestic violence should be solved within the four walls of the home;

*The family should stay together for the sake of the children.


Some signs of domestic violence:

*Destructive criticism and verbal abuse: shouting/mocking/accusing/name calling/verbally threatening

*Pressure tactics: sulking, threatening to withhold money, take the children away, lying to your friends and family about you, telling you that you have no choice in any decisions.

*Disrespect: persistently putting you down in front of other people, not listening or responding when you talk, interrupting your telephone calls, refusing to help with childcare or housework.

*Breaking trust: lying to you, withholding information from you, being jealous, having other relationships, breaking promises and shared agreements.

*Isolation: monitoring or blocking your telephone calls, telling you where you can and cannot go, preventing you from seeing friends and relatives.

*Harassment: following you, checking up on you, opening your mail, repeatedly checking to see who has telephoned you, embarrassing you in public.

*Threats: making angry gestures, using physical size to intimidate, shouting you down, destroying your possessions, breaking things, punching walls, wielding a knife or a gun, threatening to kill or harm you and the children.

*Sexual violence: using force, threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts, having sex with you when you don’t want to have sex, any degrading treatment based on your sexual orientation.

*Physical violence: punching, slapping, hitting, biting, pinching, kicking, pulling hair out, pushing, shoving, burning, strangling.

*Denial: saying the abuse doesn’t happen, saying you caused the abusive behaviour, being publicly gentle and patient, crying and begging for forgiveness, saying it will never happen again.


Some Effects of Domestic violence are:



*Difficulties with attention and concentration

*Emotional instability

*Anxiety abuse of alcohol

*Fear and lack of faith in others

*Difficulties with sexuality

Over time, if adequate support is not received, more structural consequences and disturbances can develop, such as;

*Panic attacks


*Eating problems

*Sleep disturbances (nightmares, recurrent dreams)

*Psychosomatic disturbances

*Substance-dependency (alcohol, drugs, psychotropic drugs)

*Self Harm


There are also several barriers that makes it hard for people to seek help when abused, they include:

*Shame or Embarrassment i.e a professional working lady who wouldn’t want people to know.

*Discrimination i.e a sex trade worker.

*Afraid of being judged i.e someone in a same sex relationship.

*Dependency problems: someone dependent on alcohols and drugs etc might feel they’ll not be believed.

*Being Disabled: it might be hard to get by without the abuser’s daily help.


How to help those affected:

*Remember to believe the individual;

*Be available to listen to them. Listening is the first concrete action that you can take to help them out of this situation;

*Keep what you’ve been told a secret; you could put them in danger by talking about their problem to someone else;

*Do not judge the individual or try and blame them for the situation.;

*Do not impose advice or make decisions for them;

*Be there for them.


Conclusively, I promised to explain why I understand their justification for doing it sometimes.  People who find it hard to deal with anger and frustration constructively, often channels such to their spouses. In effect it glaringly betrays them as weak, unreasonable and incompetent. Spousal abuse to me, betrays a weak individual trying to mask his weakness by all means necessary including physical and emotional abuse.

As a man, imagine giving your daughter out in marriage and the husband continuously destroy her confidence by abusing her in all forms possible (beating inclusive). How would you feel? Why do it to someone else’s daughter?

Please, let’s make our world a better place.


Adebowale Adejugbe

I’m on twitter (@deboadejugbe)



Additional reading can be found here:














  1. Thank you dealing deeply with this cankerworm…..What gives an individual to abuse another?

  2. Wow!!! Adebowale you’ve done so much justice to this and I hope more people will join the crusade against domestic violence & abuse because it not only affects the grown ups but also psychologically affects the kids as well, bravo and weldon sir

  3. Even though I am neck-deep in stuff, I made a mental and digital note to make sure I read this. Comprehensive, factual and very much timely. The case of domestic abuse and accidents in Nigeria is very complex given the near-open endorsement of it.

    I know someone who believes it is a sign of love to be abused by her partner. Their game is so sick that she would provoke him to abuse her even. He then says ‘it’s all her fault’ to which she lovingly nods. In these instances, you have to physically look away. Sick

    Well, I think this piece brings us closer to stamping out those long-held backwardness that ail our society. Fact: domestic abuse is no less worse than slavery and that got wiped out eons ago. It has no purpose in this age

  4. Good piece again Once again Mr Adebowale, i say a great congratulation as you have dealt with this topic adequately enough.

    No doubt, females have been spoken about as having ”issues” or ”the issue clause”. An average un-cultured,unmannered woman is nothing less than a provocation because, all you likely feel is anger if not disgust over her behaviour. I’m a female so i know what i’m saying.

    This reminds me of a fiasco that ensued between my male lecturer and a female lecturer from another department. I was to help him out in invigilating a junior class’ test. Few minutes before we started to distribute questions, the woman entered ready for war! Our offence? The period was clashing, so she insisted that we were impostors. She started to shout to the embarrasment of my lecturer, and later, she went out threatening to come back. She did come back, with two male lecturers. One would have thought that the ”men” being men would have tried to pacify their colleauge. This was not the case. They insisted that we left the venue. The amazing fact in this thing is that her students were a handful compared to our own oceanful of students. There is a saying in law that where two equities clash, the first in time prevails. This means that since the two parties seem to be right, those who got there first should have a say, not to talk of the fact that we were to have a test while they were to have a normal class which could be postponed. To cut a short story long, the woman refused vehemently. What should have been a 20 minutes test ended up being 15 minutes- under tension an duress. And the woman? She assembled her students at the entrance of the class where she continued to teach them. I wonder the kind of wife she is anyway. Your guess is as much as mine.

    I painted this picture because i want to state the fact that females can be very very very difficult and exasperating at times. But pray tell, no matter what degree a woman’s bad behaviour runs, is it enough for her to be battered, assaulted and beaten to a pulp?

    I pity Debo’s friend’s fiancee who supported a man beating his wife. In fact, i won’t be surprised if he has been ministering to her to that effect.

    Did she say its normal?…excuse me? That totally abnormal!!! There is no justification what so ever for you as a man to raise your hands against your spouse. Not only is it weakness on your side, you forfeit your blessings and prayers from God by so doing.

    If you as a man feel like showing the world that you are Johnny Bravo, please just go ahed and slap a danfo driver who has done nothing wrong. Better still, hitt a conductor for not giving you your change. Then wait and see if you would have a story to tell. If you do, then heaven must love you dearly.

    I once saw a woman fighting with a man and she tried to hit him with a bottle. I infact, have seen a situation where a woman actually hit a man on the head with a bottle. This is to say that women can be insane at times. Very crazy at that.

    However, i bet it has not occured to our men that a man who withdraws or restrains himself from fighting back at a woman has shown enough wisdom, maturity and strength. Unfortunately, fellow men, friends of such man would see him as a fool and tell him he is a dummy in not ”teaching her” a lesson her mother did not teach her.

    I wonder if blows,belts and the likes are ideal ….or any object for that matter in traning a woman to hold her tongue. A female Pastor i respect once told us a story of a woman who was complaining about her husband’s assault on her. When asked what awlays caused it, she said she used to abuse him. HOW? She called him asinwi,oloshi,oloriburuku,were..(insane man,wretched man, poverty striken fellow,mad man) and so the man showed her he was perfect for such names.

    As funny as this story might sound, its very real! Some women cannot tame their tongues. We are more of talkers why men are more of actors. But where your wife is yet to learn how to tame her tongue, why do you torment her physically, psychologically and mentally?

    In other cases if not many, the women are always innocent. Quite,gentle epitome of peace they are. Yet, their husbands never respect them for a day. He would rather slap her when she asks how his day went but when he gets to his mistress, he becomes a dummy.

    Its not impossible that a man went through hell while growing. As such, its better he goes for counseling before getting married. Again i say, there is nothing Normal,usual or conventional in abusing a spouse. No justification for it!

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