By Titilayo Olurin
“A man hits a woman, it’s called domestic violence; a woman hits a man, what is that called?”
When the question was posed by Nollywood actress, Empress Njamah, during a recent interview with Broadway TV, I wanted to scream, “Duh! Domestic violence!”
If it’s domestic violence for women, shouldn’t it be the same for men? Yes, that’s what I thought. Everyone knows that domestic violence, no matter who is at the receiving end (whether it is the man or woman) and as long as it occurs in a household, relationship, or among family members, will always be just that – domestic violence.
But the actress had a different opinion. The answer to her own question was “Mental abuse” because “headstrong” women mentally beat up their husbands with nagging and “push” them into acts of violence. Wait … what? What does that even mean? I cannot even begin to comprehend it. And as if she had not done enough to show her ignorance and confusion on the subject, the actress went on a rant about how a woman should help to control her man’s anger.
At this point, I have to say that Empress might have to stick to acting alone and refrain from talking about such sensitive and controversial issues, especially now that the media is rife with reports of domestic abuse even among her fellow actresses.
I also wonder where she got the false facts she shared about men being “more beaten up mentally than women who are beaten up physically”. Indeed, there is more focus on women than on men when it comes to discussions of domestic violence, but she couldn’t possibly claim to know as a fact that men endure more mental abuse than women. Yet, she spoke as if she had evidence to support her claim.
By saying that a woman should control her husband’s anger, she did not only downplay a situation as serious as domestic violence but excused the man for his actions and blamed the “head strong” wives for being victims. The only reason the victim is one in the first place is because they have been hurt or have suffered at the hands of someone other than themselves. So how does the victim end up getting blamed?
It is not the woman’s job to help control her husband’s anger. It is the man’s job to control his own anger and such excuse as “if the man is naturally a wife or woman beater” from Empress is plain stupid. There is just no such thing as a natural wife beater! It is like saying there are natural rapists, and of course, we know there aren’t.
Empress threw caution to the wind and thrust headlong into a topic perhaps too delicate for her. She now seems rather insensitive to the plights of victims of domestic violence, which should not be since she was also once a victim during her tumultuous relationship with singer, Timaya. If she learned anything from that sad experience, it should be that she cannot afford to be a supporter of domestic violence. Or should she also be blamed for being a victim? After all, men, according to her, are babies and should be treated as such.