DR MAYMUNA KADIRI: MY ADVICE FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS
“Oh doctor, help me. How do I leave my husband and care for my four children alone? Doctor, you know all marriages are not the same. If I leave now, where do I go? My parents wouldn’t accept me back and my friends will laugh at me.”
“Hmmm, Doctor, you talk as if you are not a Nigerian o. See, the grass is not greener on the other side. Don’t worry, after these therapy sessions with you, I’m sure all will be well by God’s grace, Amen.”
These are the kind of statements I get to hear as I counsel women who are victims of domestic abuse. All of this and many other stories, until we end up saying RIP for the woman, whether we know her or not.
I don’t care what anyone says or feels about women in abusive marriages. I’m an advocate for women leaving these houses (no longer homes) ASAP. Domestic violence shouldn’t be encouraged by those of us in the society, neither should we be on lookers/observers.
If a woman genuinely seeks for help from you, please don’t ever encourage her to stay back because the grass is not greener on the other side, that we are all in one bad marriage/relationship or the other, that it’s a sin in the sight of God, that the holy books don’t encourage divorce, and that they shouldn’t leave for the sake of the children. You’re more or less leading that woman to an early grave.
I, Dr. Maymunah can never be found in a home where domestic violence (DV) lives. I can’t be found there even when I’m unconscious because DV is a CPR that will awaken my spirit.
Women, let’s stop deceiving ourselves that without the men, who will help you. Where were you before that man came into your life? I’m totally perplexed when I see a woman in such a home still carrying on as if nothing is happening. Thank God to Tara, BMPro, Mary Kay, Zaron, Dabota Cosmetics and so on. If not for these concealers, foundation creams and red lipsticks, some women faces will look like plastic surgery gone sour/bad.
I will also like to appeal to all of us to stop putting pressure on our single girls and mothers. It is better to have a healthier single girl/woman, than to have an emotional and insane married woman. Yes, marriage is a beautiful thing, but what if things do not go as planned?
Being single doesn’t make a woman irresponsible. There is always a story behind the scene. Why don’t you listen more and talk less while trying to understand her journey?
We need to do better for our women. We need to raise better men. This brings me to mothers; please allow your children to cry when they are expressing themselves. It is actually therapeutic. Stop telling them that they are “men” and men don’t cry. Please allow them to cry; they are human beings too. Never, ever encourage your son to hit his sister or another girl as he is growing up. Preach it to him that girls are to be looked after, given love and affection. Show your sons how to truly love and act it out for them.
Let’s learn to empower our children (especially girls) in their early year. Teach your sons how to do domestic work. Stop telling them that it is a ‘girl thing’. A woman’s place is not in the kitchen.
Educate your sons about the various aspects of life. The proverb, a stitch in time saves nine surely plays out as they grow older. This is because it becomes a vicious cycle when our girls grow up and begin to speak out about their husbands beating them. The big question is, who brought up this man? The answer will, most likely, be a woman! After all, any bad child belongs to the mother.
To all daughters, sisters, mothers, grandmothers, wives, single mothers, wives, and carers, we need all hands on deck to check this trend of domestic violence that is increasing our maternal mortality. Remember, if we don’t take care of ourselves, who will?