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Domestic violence – Latest Nigeria News, Nigerian Newspapers, Politics


Editorial

Whenever domestic violence is mentioned anywhere in the world, we intuitively conclude that it is a case of a male physically assaulting a woman. This, in the face of a series of evidence is as flawed as it is reprehensible. But again, it all happens due to the fact that most people assume that domestic violence is always about physical strength and it just means that because domestic violence is about physiological strength, it is only about men beating up their spouses.

Nothing can be farther from the truth. The social media has helped in exposing the fact that domestic violence is as varied as the faces walking our streets. There have been pictures and videos of women physically abusing women, sometimes on allegations of cheating with their spouses or partners. There are records of women physically abusing men, children and the elderly in their care. We also have bizarre cases of some youths abusing the elderly,  very often their parents or grandparents. We have cases of women abusing domestic helps, either male or female, over minor misdemeanors that could be punished in less severe ways as instructional grooming ideas.

Most domestic violence cases happen repeatedly in various forms, either from verbal to minor physical assaults that are seen as correctional options, especially in the African culture, or series of verbal, emotional and physical violence that remain unchallenged till a fatality occurs. There seems to be zero state interventions in most cases as many abusers have been getting away unpunished. Sometimes some domestic violence can be fatal in various ways, either through the victim’s death or permanent disabilities either physically, mentally or both.

It is in the light of this that the Lagos State’s avowal to prosecute 50 years old Rashidat Adeleke, a supermarket owner who scalded her employee, 29-year-old Bukola Akinola with hot water in her house, is commendable. The employee moved in with her about 18 months ago,  to cut the cost and inconveniences of commuting to and from her own house. She had accused the employee of negligence that led to a few broken bangles in her supermarket.

We find the rising cases of domestic violence, especially since the pandemic worrisome and call on all stakeholders to rise up to curtail this disturbing trend. We equally commend the Lagos State government for having the best official intervention agencies for checking domestic violence and prosecuting offenders and rehabilitating victims in addition to call centres for prompt interventions.

We are happy that the  Director, Citizens Rights, Oluwatoyin Odusanya, has announced that the suspect had been arrested and transferred to the Gender Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the state Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Panti, for prosecution. However, we equally hope that help can reach the victim who passed out in the course of the repeated assault by her boss that allegedly boiled water twice to pour on her and deliberately prevented her escape.

Beyond this heinous domestic crime, the same woman is alleged to have engaged minors aged 14 and 10 as workers, and it is alleged that a fight between these minors led to the damage to her wares. The child rights agencies must move in too to file charges against her. The Nigerian Labour Congress must equally fight beyond adult workers’ welfare and try to help check child labour in the country. International Labour laws prohibit the engagement of minors as a workforce demographic.

We are disturbed by the increase in domestic violence across the country at a time violence around the country is at an all-time high. A home should be a place of refuge for everyone, adult or child. To escape violence outside and come home to meet one is as ironic as it is reprehensible. Victims must be encouraged to go through due process in seeking justice and not resort to self-help. Our governments must also invest more in healthcare to address mental health that often leads to domestic violence.

Governments at all levels across the country must rise up to the primary responsibility of protecting the lives and property of citizens. The law must be seen to deliver justice as a deterrent. Agencies of government must be alert to their duties so that prospective offenders can be stopped in their tracks and citizens educated on what amounts to domestic violence. Other states must understudy and replicate the Lagos model and possibly improve on it.



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