I was seated at my desk one particular day when the cell phone of my colleague (the gentleman across the table) rang and he stepped out to receive the call. When he came back to his desk, the look on his face showed that the “sky had fallen”. I was initially worried for him as I beheld him seated, head-bowed and deeply worried.
After few minutes, I asked him if he wanted to talk about the issue and that I hoped all was well with him. My colleague took a deep breath and told me a story about his childhood friend who just called him; “he is a brother from another mother” he said. The junior sister of the friend had been murdered by her husband; she was 6months pregnant.
The full story is that the deceased young lady had been experiencing domestic violence in her marriage. The husband always acted savagely; he would beat her mercilessly whenever there was disagreement. At some point, the lady reported the violence to the police and a case file was opened for the matter. Yet, the husband was not perturbed; he continued with his slave-master attitude.
The issue got to the first crescendo when the lady decided that the violence was too much and she decided to move out of the marriage. She moved on, rented her own apartment, started a business to fund her moderate lifestyle. Lagos, Nigeria could be very expensive when you need fun distractions but she coped. Life was beginning to make sense when the husband and his family came back begging.
“Your husband is a changed man; he would never lay his hands on you again; he has learnt his lessons and has become a better man etc” were their pleas. Nobody cared to address the obvious anger issues the guy had; no recommendations for anger management or serious soul searching for the guy; all that his family wanted was for this lady to go back home.
Despite all their pleas, the lady refused until her own brother (my colleague’s friend) intervened. The lady had utmost respect for her senior brother and made it clear that she was going back into the marriage solely because of the intervention of her brother. So, she went back. Barely, one year after going back, she was found dead in her matrimonial home with many flogging marks on her body.
The case was reported to the police and the husband, who initially was on the run, was arrested. Now, his family is pleading with my colleague’s friend and his family to withdraw the case against their son. “The deed is done already; God knows best” they said. The response from my colleague’s friend is that their family had no case against their in-laws; the matter was between the government and the accused.
Marital issues in many African countries are very sensitive as the institution of marriage is considered sacred. The question is: “why should someone have to die because of your anger?” This particular case and many more are those of husbands killing the wives; we have heard about the cases of wives killing their husbands too. It always starts with the anger issue. Many people will blame the devil; they may not be totally wrong, but where were our senses when the devil used the individual’s anger or other weaknesses to cunningly get them from the smiling spouses who said, “I do” to the cold-hearted murderer they have become.
No one should have to die. I say that again, no one should have to die. If your relative complains about domestic violence or feel there is a threat to their lives within the context of marriage, be careful how you judge or handle their situations; they are better off alive than dead. Hey, are you in a relationship that threatens your life, I have a quote for your consideration: “a living dog is better than a dead lion”.