“Domestic violence causes far more pain than the visible marks of bruises and scars. It is devastating to be abused by someone that you love and thinks love you in return” – Dianne Feinstein

One epic drama television series that has taken the world by storm and put millions of fans at the edge of their seats is Game of Thrones. This is one medieval series that has left millions of minds in suspense as everyone is eager to know “what happens next”. A must watch drama series, I must say.

However, the character of the Lady Sansa Stark came to mind as I wrote this post. If asked our favorite characters in this drama series, the names Jon SnowTyrion Lannister readily comes to mind. The impression I got of the character, Sansa Stark especially in Season 1 was that of a naïve love-sick puppy who couldn’t see beyond her nose.

Her complex character resulted in her getting abused, exploited, used and picked on. I really loathed her. “Why isn’t she smart?” I would scream at my TV screen. The domestic violence she suffered at the hands of her first husband, Joffrey Baratheon and later Ramsey Bolton really riled me up.

And it got me thinking……. Really, how much do women have to suffer at the hands of man in the name of love? Over 85%  of women experience non-lethal domestic violence. As at 2015, it was recorded that 25% of women in Nigeria go through the nightmare of domestic violence. It has become quite rampant in recent times which raises the question – WHY?

How sad is this? And so I ask in the words of Black Eyed Peas“WHERE IS THE LOVE?”

It all begins with the sweet words and all-so romantic gestures….. He showers her with so much love and makes her feel like she is his world. He calls her beautiful, smart, intelligent, his eternal, his love, his heart. She reciprocates his love with every fiber of her being……what woman or human doesn’t appreciate been loved deeply?

It is all so beautiful and then down the aisle they march to go profess their love before God and His people. Everyone claps and cheers. “What a beautiful couple”, the remarks keep flowing from outsiders…. “What a perfect match” “Indeed! A couple made from heaven” and so on.

Then the changes set in…….

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First, the heated and angry words and verbal lashing out….. She is stripped of the very love that swept her off her feet in the beginning. She is stripped of even her own dignity and made to feel ugly, worthless and undeserving of any love be it from God or man’s.

This is followed by the beatings, blows, insistent violence, heart-wrenching words, never-ending hurts and aches.…. “Where did I go wrong?” she cries to God. “What has happened to my marriage and the man I fell in love with?” she wonders. “I want to leave. I can’t take it anymore….but he is my husband and I still love him. He really could be nice and sweet on those good days when he isn’t angry or pissed at me” she battles within herself.

Her sense of judgment struggles to overcome the cloud of emotions that seems to be swallowing her whole….. “We promised to love each other forever” “I can’t be a divorcee. I don’t want my marriage to be like my parents’” “I want to stay and fight for my marriage. Maybe if I act better and be all loving and good, he will change his attitude towards me”, she says as she takes on herself all the blame of the bad marriage and let her emotions get the best part of her.

But then the violence continues and reality sets in……

“This is not my fault”, she insists to herself. “I am very okay. There is nothing wrong with me” “It’s his fault. He has the issues” “I am deserving of love, respect and care” she continues to motivate herself.

And then comes the decision making part……

“I have had enough” “I will leave. I am a human being too not a punching bag” “I have to go. I can’t do this anymore”….. and with much uncertainty and fear of the unknown, she walks out of her home and marriage….she marches into a bleak future hoping to be going to a place far better than where she is coming from……she leaves her past behind to begin anew deciding never to go through such suffering again.

This is usually the trend the story takes when survivors of violence who were bold enough to walk out when they still could speak out.

The inevitable question remains: WHAT WENT WRONG or is it WHAT GOES WRONG after the bliss?

There is no moral justification anywhere that supports man subjecting woman to any form of abuse (I said as much on my Facebook page, Khuana’s Corner). It is completely and totally unacceptable.

ANY FORM OF ABUSE IS DOWNRIGHT OFFENSIVE!!!

Check out these different scenarios:

  • Sexual Abuse

“Dan, please stop. I am not in the mood” she pleads but Dan is too drunk and horny to even listen to her. He goes on necking and pecking her as she does the dishes. “Dan, please. I really am not in the mood for this”. She tries to resist him.

He turns her around sharply and gives her a slap that sends her head reeling in circles. Before she has time to recuperate from the slap, he pounces on her with blows and kicks. He rips her clothes off and brutally rapes her there on the kitchen floor. When done, he leaves her all bloodied up on the floor and goes to fall asleep in the bedroom.

The next day, he is down on his knees with chocolates, flowers and gifts begging her to forgive him as he doesn’t know what came over him. “I love you”, he says.

  • Physical Abuse

“Honey welcome back. How was work?” He ignores her as he storms into the bedroom to get changed. Her heart skips beat rapidly as she knows it’s not going to be a pleasant evening. She quietly goes to run his bath water and sets his dinner on the table.

All the while, he has not said a word to her. She dreads the evening and as though walking on egg shells, every hair on her body stands in fear as she anticipates a beating. She would be lucky to just walk away with heart wrenching shouts or a few slaps on her face.

Opinion - Domestic Violence/Bullying

                                                            Opinion - Domestic Violence/Bullying

He comes out of the room and goes to the dinning. He stares at the food set on the table for him with a scowling face, his eyes already dark with anger. Looking for an excuse to beat her, he says, “What soup is this?” “Vegetable soup”, she replies. He moves to her as she backs up the wall.

“Do you want to kill me?” He barks at her just about same time his hand kissed her face in a heavy slap. “Isn’t it the same vegetable soup you served me a couple of days ago and had me going to the loo non-stop for a whole day? You really want to kill me, don’t you?” he continues.

She tried pleading that she didn’t know the soup upsets his stomach and she is sorry. She even offers to prepare him another dish but he would hear none of it and beats her senseless before storming out of the house. She passes out. Her neighbor hears her children scream and rushes to the house only to find her unconscious. She is rushed to the hospital.

The next day, he is at her bedside in the hospital. She is all bandaged up, her lips cut and eyes swollen. He tried explaining himself that he was pretty angry and infuriated from the office and just transferred his aggression on her. Again, the chocolates, flowers and gifts come pouring in. “I love you”, he says.

  • Verbal Abuse

“You are nobody without me, you know that right?” He says to her. “If not that I picked you from your wretched family and cleaned you up, wouldn’t you have died of starvation alongside your excuse of a father?” “John, please stop insulting my family especially my late father” she says as hot tears wells up in her eyes and pours down her cheeks. “If I don’t, what would you do?” he continues his verbal abuse on her.

“Isn’t it a fact or am I lying? I sponsored your education, paid for your mum’s eye surgery, gave your brother the job he is managing now, bought foodstuffs for your family. All of you in your household are worthless. You owe me your life. I made you. All you do is sit at home all day lazing about and spending my money. Are your mates not out there working and contributing to the upkeep of their families?” he lashes at her.

“John please stop. The kids are home. Please just stop” she continues to cry. “I don’t care if they are home” he retorts. “So they can understand how worthless their mother is”. The teenagers stand in fear and peep through the slightly open door watching as their father verbally batters their mum. “How am I sure they are even mine?” he goes on.

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She just stands there staring at him as the tears flow freely down her cheeks. Too shocked for words, he leaves her crying, looks at the children at the doorway with disgust and goes into the living room.

The next day…..

“Sweetie, I’m home”. She comes out from the kitchen where she was making dinner. “Welcome” she says as she towels her hand dry with the kitchen napkin. “Is that how you are going to welcome your hubby? No hugs? No kisses? Didn’t you miss me?” he says as he walks up to her and gives her a hug and kiss. She just looks at him.

He pulls back and looks at her…. “I have been thinking about you all day” he comments as he hugs her tightly again and comments, “Hmmmm! something smells nice. My beautiful wife is at it again” he teases. She smiles weakly as she follows him into the kitchen. He takes a piece of fried chicken as she jokingly slaps his hand from the plate. He laughs off and goes to change from his work clothes.

They have an enjoyable evening with John cracking up jokes and using endearing terms on his wife while lavishing her with compliments. He fists knuckles with his son and lovingly strokes the cheek of his daughter. The children are confused about their father’s actions. They try to reconcile the man who had verbally blasted their mother the day before and the one at the table with them now being all lovey-dovey.

They are confused but heck, they would take what they can get after all, he is their father and this is just one of the rare good days. After they had retired for the night, John makes passionate love to his wife. No one mentions the hurtful words of the day before. He says to her, “I love you”.

  • Psychological Abuse

She looks at the time, 11 pm and still her husband is not yet back from work. The children had long gone to bed but she stays awake and waits for him. She has tried calling his cell but it’s switched off. She watches a movie to ease her mind and distract her from the fears, tensions and negative thoughts that had turned her mind into a playing field.

Soon she drifts off to a disturbed sleep where her fears turn into nightmares. Suddenly she hears the turning of the key at the lock. She puts on the light and checks the time….3 am. She stands close to the side table that had the statue of the Eiffel tower standing on it. Her intention is to quickly grab it and attack just in case it is an intruder.

The door opens and her husband walks in reeking of wine, a woman’s perfume and a visible lipstick stain on the collar of his shirt. He looks at her and just strolls into the room without saying a word. She stares after him and then falls on the chair as her body jerks with tears from the deep, bitter and hurtful emotions welled in her.

How long was she going to keep up with this? For how long would she endure this humiliation? Here she was praying that he is safe only for him to come back and couldn’t even respect her enough to hide the fact that he was with another woman.

For days, he had hardly been home and even when he was, he hardly spoke to her no matter how much she tries to strike up a conversation. The worst part is he no longer eats her food. She cries to sleep every night telling herself she would endure for the sake of her kids.

A few days later, he is all loving up to her. He plays with her, spends more time with her, takes her for romantic outings, shopping and lovingly tells her “I love you”.

Can you relate with any of the scenarios mentioned above? You can see that after every abuse, the abuser apologizes with flowers and gifts and claims he doesn’t know what came over him.

He plays on the emotions on the woman and backs her up a corner where she feels she ought to forgive him and guilty if she doesn’t. He beclouds her with sweet words and promises not to abuse her again. She believes him and gives him another chance. Sadly, the abuse is repeated over and over again.

Relationships, be it marriage or just courtships are meant to be safe havens of love and companionships where in the partners are mutually happy….they love, respect, care for each other and most importantly are friends. It is not now nor would it ever be an avenue to control anyone through fear and intimidation in the form of any kind of abuse.

Insults, name-calling, beatings and battering, threats, seizing one’s right to freedom – socially or personal, marital rape, etc., are all forms of domestic abuse and should be discouraged.

While both man and woman could be victims of domestic violence, women suffer it most on a larger scale. Intimate partners – husbands, boyfriends even direct family members like fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins  pose as channels through which the greatest risks of violence to women comes from.

Children are not spared the torture as well because in homes where domestic violence occurs, the children are also sometimes victims. 50% of men who are abusers also abuse their kids too.pic54

These children suffer tremendous psychological, emotional and even physical damage as majority of them most likely become intimate friends with alcohol or drugs…..seeking ways to overcome the depression and psychological trauma they suffer. A good number of them also grow up to be violent and become abusers themselves.

Hence the vicious cycle of domestic violence continues from one generation to the next.

Sadly, domestic violence is most often than not masked in silence and feigned smiles. Even extended family members keep mute about it or even sometimes deny its occurrence all because they choose to protect the so-called image of the family over the life of the abused. They refuse to interfere mostly out of fear or even loyalty to the abuser.

Why the pretense? Why the denial? What do you stand to gain by keeping mute in the face of violence at the expense of another’s life? This is a battle that must be fought by all and sundry because the better world we hope to live in begins from the home.

Thank you so much for reading this post. I hope you found it an interesting read.

Kindly visit my blog, www.khuanascorner.com for more inspirational and motivational articles that promises to put smiles on your face, happiness in your heart and fire in your bones to actually live right and not just exist.

Coming shortly is the second-part of this social issue on domestic violence.

It is the individual families that make up societies and communities. If the home front is ill, how do we expect to have a healthy society and a better world? Kindly leave your comments and let's get your thoughts and voices out there so that together, we put an end to this dastardly act.

Published by Omoakhuana Anthonia Imoisili