Happy Easter to you all dearly beloved people.
Since Sunday, February 16, 1997, when I had an unforgettable encounter with Jesus Christ in my room at Number 8, Niyi Close, Okokomaiko, Lagos State, Nigeria, Easter began to make an eternal sense to me. Therefore, I am able to say today and always, ‘O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?’
I do really hope that Easter makes to you same eternal sense it makes to me today.
I am here to conclude the conservationi began last week on the scary issue of Domestic Violence, which has been escalated during this COVID-19 era.
Last week, I dwelt on what I suspect to be the root cause of the social menace.
Today I want to dwell on what I consider to the immediate and long-term solutions to the issue of Domestic Violence.
My social consciousness and sense of communication for development instruct me that we cannot find meaningful solutions to the issue of Domestic Violence without considering our social and economic status as a Third World country.
Do not forget that according to the World Poverty Clock, there are 86.9 million Nigerians now living in extreme poverty, representing nearly 50% of our estimated 180 million population. These indigent people live on less than $1.9 per day.
One thing that comes with poverty is hunger. Hunger is the forerunner of anger. Anger is the number on precursor to violence, domestic or otherwise. It was Professor Anthony Kolawole OLUSANYAN, who reminded us in a conversation a while ago that rationality ends when hunger starts.
Therefore as a Third World nation, we may not be fair and truthful to ourselves to attempt or pretend to address the issue of Domestic Violence without addressing the issue of poverty and Social Protection as the globally recognised immediate solution.
Now, here are some personal efforts that may reduce Domestic Violence and share this from my work with families both in underserved and upper-crust communities as part of our efforts to strengthen families for the purpose of Securing A FRIENDLY and PROTECTIVE Environment™ for the precious children under their care.
I am aware that many families do not have family constitutions, which set our the basic tenets of the family life, beginning addressing the question of individual and corporate identity and core values of the family.
The best way many families address issue is through avoiding to communicate and escapes. Escape to work, escape through trips, escape by coming back home late, escape through infidelity, escape through gossip with neighbors, colleagues in the office and so on.
This is the first time some families are really forced to address issues and the families do not have this in their culture and practice. Therefore, there is tension. Parties may also be demanding that issues the other parties thought they have escaped from should now be discussed. A spouse, who do not understand the principle of accountability, is now being held accountable because he/she is present and there is no where to escape.
In tackling the foregoing and finding some sanity, couples may need to take the baby steps of agreeing on basic rules of engagement as a family and one of the provisions in the rules must be what they define as disputes, internal and external mechanism of resolving same. Couples must accept that they may not know what to do in the time of crisis but they must know who to call.
We must understand the times in which the entire world has been thrown and it’s uncanny potential of same to create pressure and same can escalate to tension and violence. Therefore we must avoid issues that can increase pressure and create tension.
We must deliberately look after our physical, social and mental well-being. We cannot afford to lose ourselves to the circumstance. We must innovative and invent alternative ways of finding fun and letting off steam. Now that we are in each other’s face, we must deliberately find personal moments from spouses and children to unwind and let off steam. It may seem impossible, depending on the composition of our accommodation. But I tell you, where there is a way, there will always be a will.
One of the ways this situation weights us down is excessive consumption of news materials about the virus. The World Health Organisation has warned that we must deliberately reduce our news intake at this time as same has mental health implications.
One of the definitions of ill-treatment for children is for them to witness Domestic Violence. It constitutes a form of emotional abuse to children and a form of dehumanisation. It also defines marriage for children as a violent institution and sets them up for a violent relationship and marriage in the future. I therefore urge you to think about the children before indulging in giving free reign to the social demon of Domestic Violence.
In rounding up, parties must understand that this time will not last forever but the way we treat ourselves at this time may last a lifetime.
Therefore, we must avoid by all means necessary avoid violence. We must understand that the law of the land and human emotions have not been suspended as result of the visitation of the COVID-19 pandemic. I think instead of playing into the hands of violence, we can embrace peace and begin to learn skills that will lead to MEANINGFUL, HEALTH and HELPFUL conversations. We must decide that our marriages and children will come out stronger of this situation.
While men are sometimes affected by Domestic Violence, children and women are mostly at the receiving end. One of the evils of our societies is how we see women and children. We see women as inferior to men and children as inferior to adult. The evil has succeeded in selling silence to women and children as the remedy for Domestic Violence. So we see women and children suffering and smiling.
It is time to break that evil chain. Men, women and children are created and loved equally by God. We must respect the individuality of a woman and personhood of a child. Therefore women and children must speak and report domestic violence to appropriate authorities.
Seperation may be necessary at this time if couples are matured enough to live together. The affected person, man, woman and children must cry out and insist on being helped. If you are in Lagos State, you may want to reach out to the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT). Their contacts are online for immediate help.
Silence is a more brutal killer than Domestic Violence. It is not less brutal during lockdown and lockdown must not be an excuse for silence.
I know that one of the reasons people do not report Domestic Violence is lack of Social Protection, but I believe that when we speak up something will give one way or the other. Why? God did not create any man, woman and child for violence and He does not accept it when they cooperate with their tomentor through silence.
I think I should sign out here, looking forward to seeing you next week and read your comments.
Thank you, stay SAFE and do have an INSPIRED week.
I am Taiwo AKINLAMI and I remain Sober on My Knees this LORD’s day