Thursday, April 28, 2011

Women who beat men

It is hardly a new thing to hear of men who assault their wives. After years of advocacy and encouraging women who have been domestically abused to speak out, their plight is hardly unknown to the world. But an interesting phenomenon is emerging. The tables appear to be getting turned. We are now hearing more about women who beat up their husbands.

We seem to be oblivious to this fact because the shame and ego-bashing attached to the idea of a wife (woman) beating her husband (man) will not allow or encourage some men to report such abuse. The notion that men are victims of domestic violence can be unimaginable to the extent that some men would rather not report.

The impact of domestic abuse is less apparent when it is men who are at the receiving end than women. For instance, when a married man is seen with bruises or burns or any sort of injury, it is always assumed that he got it in a bar fight or domestic accident. No one ever thinks his wife might have given him that black eye as is the case of women with bruises.

There was a report on website about a 75-year-old man, Fatai Bakare, who appealed to an Ikeja High Court to save his life from his wife. He wanted his 18-year-old marriage dissolved on grounds of domestic violence and “wickedness”.

Mr. Bakare alleged that his 55-year-old wife was very violent and would beat him up at the slightest excuse. He said he was scared for his life since he was an old man.

When one reads or listens to stories like that, the image of a giant woman pounding a small man comes to mind. “Just how huge must this woman be to successfully beat up her husband?” many of us would wonder.
On March 1, 1999, The Oprah Winfrey Show aired a show on wives who beat their husbands. On that episode, it was ascertained that while men beat their wives to shut them up, women beat their husbands to make them listen. Some abused men who spoke at the show said the reason they did not speak up was because they felt they were supposed to take it like a man. So like women who have been physically abused by their husbands, they usually cover up for their wives when people ask them about a bruise or injury.

Gone are the days when women were referred to as the weaker sex. Most women now want to take up the mantle of leadership in every sphere of their lives, including their homes. Some do that in the most derogatory ways as they abuse their husbands both physically and verbally. In a way, what women do not consider domestic abuse almost always comes across to their husbands as abuse.

Domestic violence to both men and women involves physical acts like beating, shoving, hitting, kicking but domestic violence can also be emotional or mental. Unkind and cruel words hurt and linger longer in different ways for different people. According to an expert, men hurt more from emotional abuse than physical abuse.
Many women no longer find sitting at home to bear children and tending the home comfortable. Most have taken charge to the sad point of flexing muscles with their husbands. They have forcefully pulled the pants from their husband’s waists, replaced them with wrappers and amended the pants to their own size.

Where women lack physical strength, they make up with verbal power. Sometimes, you are left aghast at the words some women use on their husbands.

How much more abused do you expect a man whose wife calls a coward, impotent or lazy, to be? Domestic violence in any form is bad and even more cringe-worthy is the fact that more women seem to resolve to the act.

It is an evil that needs to be flushed out because it ends up having an adverse effect on the seeds of a marriage. The children grow up believing that a normal home is one defined by a feisty and fire-spitting mother.

There is a dire need for domestic violence to be discouraged, regardless of who is giving or receiving it, in order to breed saner generations of men and women.

Originally published in on April 18, 2011
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