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I remember all of it! I can for certain say what it was!! It was a daily battle for survival!! It all makes sense to me now!!!! It was DOMESTIC VIOLENCE!!!!!!

A very long time ago, I was a little girl who lived in Lagos State, Nigeria. My very hefty neighbour who was married to a very slim, fair lady made her his subject of beating and punching bag. There was never a day we did not hear a cry for plea from their apartment. In tears, she would scream “Papa Chisom (pseudo name) I am sorry for what I haven’t done and what may offend you before you go out, while you are out and, on your way, back”. The kids would take turns to cry out for mercy because the pain they could see their mum go through was unbearable.

Papa Chisom was feared by virtually everyone who lived in the neighborhood such that even when he was out no one would even want to attempt giving her a listening ear to narrate her ordeal for fear of possible battery or rain of abuses from him. In her powerless and frightful state, she summoned the courage to invite her pastor. Oh, I remember how the pastor was sent out and mediation couldn’t take place. That particular night was terrible as all we heard from outside was the impact of items thrown on different parts of the house and her pleas.

On this fateful morning, we didn’t hear a cry for plea…. The entire neighborhood was apprehensive because it could only mean two things; death or only death…. Everyone was disturbed and decided to wait outside their apartment till it became dark and if no word was heard, the police would be contacted. Your guess is as good as mine! At dusk, there was still no word or cry of plea from Mama Chisom, so the police were invited. The police arrived and to our utmost surprise Mama Chisom was no more, she was murdered by her husband. Her kids were rendered motherless by their father…. Oh, what a loss!!!!!!!!! As a child, I wish I could do so much. I wish neighbors had intervened on time. It was too late… Sleep on Mama Chisom.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting, such as in a marriage or cohabitation.

It is a burden on numerous sectors of the social system and quietly, yet dramatically, affects the development of a nation. Batterers cost nations fortunes in terms of law enforcement, health care, cost of labor, and general progress in development. These costs do not only affect the present generation; what begins as an assault by one person on another, reverberates through the family and the community into the future.

Types of Domestic Violence

  1. Sexual Violence: The violation of an individual’s bodily integrity, e.g coercing sexual contact, rape, sex trafficking, sexual assault, sexual harassment. Sexual abuse also includes behavior, which limits reproductive rights, such as preventing the use of contractive methods and forcing abortion.

  • Physical Violence: the use of physical force against another. E.g. hitting, shoving, grabbing, biting, restraining, shaking, choking, burning, forcing the use of drug/alcohol, and assault with a weapon.

  • Psychological Violence: Intimidation, threats of harm and isolation. E.g. instilling fear in an intimate partner through threatening behavior, constant supervision or controlling what the victim does and who they talk to, Isolation, etc.

  • Emotional Violence: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth. E.g. constant criticism, name-calling, embarrassing, mocking, and humiliating.

  • Socio-Economic Violence: Making or attempting to make the victim financially dependent on the abuser. E.g. preventing or forbidding an intimate partner from working or gaining an education, controlling the financial resources and withholding access to economic resources, denying basic expenses for family survival

How to recognize Domestic Violence

Seek help when your partner;

  • Makes you feel like you’re never right

  • Is unreasonably jealous of other relationships

  • Questions time you spend away from them

  • Discourages other relationships, including with family

  • Shames you

  • Frightens you

  • Makes you feel like you can’t make decisions

  • Controls your actions and/or finances

  • Threatens your children or hurts them

  • Sexually mistreats you, or pushes you into sexual acts you’re not comfortable with

  • Physically threatens you, or hurts you

Why is Domestic Violence harmful?

  • It leads to loss of life

  • It can lead to depression

  • It can lead to low self-esteem

  • It can lead to Psychological trauma

  • It increases the risk of HIV transmission

What should you do when you experience Domestic Violence?

  • Report to the relevant authorities

  • Seek redress – It is your right

  • Access health services

Your rights against Domestic Violence

  • Right to life

  • Right to protection

  • Right to dignity of the human person

  • Right to justice

  • Right to personal liberty

  • Right to a fair hearing

  • Right to freedom from discrimination

Relevant Laws

  • Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

  • The Criminal Code.

  • The Penal Code.

  • Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act and Laws.

  • HIV/AIDS Anti-Discrimination Act, 2014.


Domestic Violence does no society any good. It is high time that perpetrators had a change of mind for us to achieve a more prosperous society.


by Roseline Oghenebrume.

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