There have been many unexpected developments around the globe today. Even so, the idea that men will eventually flee for their lives from battering wives is revolutionary. The truth is that nobody saw this coming.
Despite its reputation as Nigeria’s cultural epicentre, the recent revelation that 340 men in the last year reported to the Lagos State Government that their wives were beating them to submission is cause for concern.
The Executive Secretary of the Lagos Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency or DSVA, Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, did reveal that more than twice as many incidents occurred between September 2022 and July 2023 as were reported between September 2021 and July 2022.
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is the term for this escalating problem. Nonetheless, conventional wisdom held that men regularly abused their women because they held monetary, physical, cultural, and religious sway.
Although the government and the general moral compass of Nigeria prohibit beatings started by men, the situation has progressed to the point where men are now on the receiving end, and this trend is only expected to accelerate in the coming years.
No vent spaces for women
It’s not too far-fetched, according to Adekola Julius, a marriage counsellor based in Ibadan, sexism is to blame for the disturbing rise in cases of women physically abusing their male partners.
According to him, husbands endure tough times in Lagos than women do and marriage alongside relationships come with a great deal of stress that requires only first-class tenacity to bear.
It’s no secret that Lagos is a stressful city. When under extreme pressure, men could go to viewing centres, clubs, or bars, but women hardly have anywhere to run to.
“It’s unfortunate that their husbands are on the receiving end of their mood swings. They basically don’t have many options to vent the inadequacies of Lagos traffic, stress or work pressures.”
He said that it is unfair to single out the city of Lagos because the situation there is representative of the whole of Nigeria.
Modern-day women seek positions of authority
Gender norms and expectations have shifted rapidly over the past decade around the globe. Women’s prevalence as primary earners in their households has increased
Lagos-based relationship counsellor Funmilayo Ayodabo told Prime Progress that some women are letting their expectations for romantic partnerships rise as they progress independence in the workplace.
“There have been significant changes in the balance of power in modern relationships, as you can see. These shifts are turning negative, rather than favourable,” she said.
Ayodabo, who has dealt with two cases of women beating up their husbands in the year 2023, claimed that many men feel threatened by their wives’ success, while their wives become enamoured with the power they have attained. In that case, two psychological perspectives cannot paddle a single canoe.
“A house cannot be made up of two egos. One source of friction is the fact that some men now have lower incomes than their spouses, which is by no means a terrible thing.”
Some women are tired
According to Ayodabo, women have become more aware of the cheating tendencies of some husbands in the last five years, when social media has formed the largest pasr of human lives. Instead of moping about, they’re choosing to take their partners on.
“I’m not condoning it in any way, but when husbands betray, it often leads to resentment, depression, and even substance abuse on the part of the wife. When things get to that point, they spark violence and lead to aggressive behaviours within relationships,” she said.
The flaw of Nigerian society.
According to Ayodabo, women in Nigeria take advantage of the societal mistrust between the sexes because men do not receive adequate social support from the country’s culture.
“Some people will still not believe you if you tell them that a woman raped you because they don’t think it’s possible for a woman to rape a guy. The same holds true for violence within relationships. Some women take advantage of the grey zones since they know the society will laugh at them that their wives beat them, or either criminalise them as women beaters if they lay their hands on their wives.”
She had the impression that males in Lagos were expected to actively seek out and rescue vulnerable women. Therefore, some women now have an outlet to beat their husbands into obedience, thanks to the same complicated cultural backdrop that has washed women away from most crimes.
“Someone in March came to me complaining that his wife was being unfaithful and abusive. He claimed that his wife’s brother told him he was being inept at home management when he voiced his complaints to him. We have created this additional difficulty for men, and now some of their wives are using it as a form of punishment for their husbands. You know, we’ve got rape cases all around the world where the woman said she was victimised, but it turned out that she wanted to rape the male all along.”
This should not keep happening!
Wives allegedly abusing their spouses in Lagos is one example of intimate partner violence (IPV) that requires a holistic response.
Ayodabo was enthusiastic about government spreading information about the menace of wives beating their husbands, its manifestations, and its repercussions.
“Spread the word that there’s an issue. Let’s have our leaders and non-profits speak out to dispel the misconceptions people have about intimate partner violence (IPV).”
Ayodabo says that marriage counselling and support services for husbands and women need to be more robust than they have been in the past, when the emphasis on violence and tranquilly was aimed at the husband.
“I believe that the judicial system must be strengthened in order to better protect male victims and bring their abusers to justice. Some men may be more likely to report incidents of gender-based violence if they are aware that the same rules that protect their wives as victims also protect them too.
As suicide is the most common escape for men, she suggests that more men should speak up and get counselling or leave abusive relationships so that no one is hurt.