Sunday, 3 July 2011

Domestic Violence. Aren’t we all guilty?

Akolade Lukeman Arowolo allegedly beat his wife and the woman died. Titilayo Oyakhire was a beautiful hardworking mother. Now she’s dead. Her three year old daughter will grow up without a mother and a father.

Domestic violence in Nigeria didn’t start with this family unfortunate lady and sadly won’t end with them. But it is not only Akolade that should be tried for Titilayo’s murder but the entire Nigerian society. From the mother who insists there will be no divorce in her family to the church who constantly harps on submission to the journalist whose only question to celebrities is the date of their marriage.

It’s easy for us to all play sanctimonious now and rebuke the late Titilayo for not leaving her husband while she could. But could she really? Had she gone to her family or any of her friends, would they have taken her in?

An acquaintance of mine was being battered by her husband, one day her brother walked in on them, gave the guy the beating of his life and took his sister out but as soon as he returned to his abode in Canada, the mother took her right back, claiming there was no room for divorce in their family.

When Monalisa Chinda walked out on her marriage, the media went crazy. She was labelled names that I cannot type here. Nobody wanted to know the reason, because the reason didn’t matter, in Nigeria you are supposed to marry and stay married. Period. The name calling even extended to the friend who took her in.

I just read excerpts from a Genevieve Nnaji’s interview in Tell Magazine. You would think that with all the lady’s achievements, the interview would centre on her works, but it doesn’t, it’s the same old marriage questions.

We have made marriage more important than life, than happiness, than the fulfilment of dreams.

We’ve lost Titilayo but we don’t have to lose another woman at least not by the hands of her husband. We die from too many things already in Nigeria, accidents caused by bad roads, during childbirth due to poor hospital infrastructures, and very recently bombings and more.

Several women have been wounded, maimed, killed in marriages. We can help stop or reduce this by reducing the pressure on women to marry. It would be nice if the media were not so interested in the marital status of our celebrities, if our parents were not so eager to marry us off and hear the cries of their grandchildren, and the church, oh, the church did not make the man feel so superior and the woman the greatest sinner for not attending to his whim.

As Akolade gets charged to court, let us each charge our conscience.

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