By Itohan Ferguson
A very typical morning for me and I had to stumble on Lanre Gentry’s gaffe, all but advocating that the government should mind its business and not intervene in family matters involving domestic violence. The grimace on my face could have scared a baby, it is not enough that a man guilty of practically cracking open his wife’s skull after a round of beating, isn’t humbled after his stint in Kirikiri Apapa and like a conquering hero who having prevailed being ‘persecuted’ by his wife, all but tells the government to back off and mind its business.
What Lanre Gentry has given voice to is synonymic to the silent thoughts of so many men and even women, rationalizations they will never voice for fear of rancor. It is indeed a sad approach to our position on domestic violence. We would rather deny its existence and like ostriches bury our heads in sand, rather than acknowledge the reality of this problem. We resent a woman who courageously comes forward to not just talk about their experiences but expose her attacker, if the the comments of “attention seeker” is a cue. We prefer she dies in silence and not put before us an inconvenient truth.
The matter of domestic violence isn’t only restricted to being a plight most women face, but men can be victims as well. However government interventions rather than treating it like a family matter nobody should interfere in, is a step towards saving not just victims but shaming abusers as well.
It is a violation of a person’s fundamental human right and indeed government intervention, is welcome. A sad reality is the fact there are no provisions in the constitution for the victims of domestic violence and it is actually lauded as a necessary step in the chastisement of woman. I find the idea of chastising a woman offensive, women are adults and not children to be spanked to get them to behave themselves.
It is our hope the government continues to intervene, by treating domestic violence as a criminal offense, which it is, so men like Mr Gentry who takes joy in beating their wives will think twice about using their fists and adopt dialogue instead, in a disagreement.
Mr Gentry should sit down and not just be humble but stay humble.