October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, hence a perfect time to remind ourselves about the need to continue to spread the word to create a violence free community, and also help victims regain freedom from their abusers.
This specific post was influenced by a post that I came across on my Facebook timeline, shared by Esther Ijewere, the Editor in Chief of Women of Rubies and the national coordinator of Walk Against Rape, Nigeria.
The post entitled, Chris Attoh and the Entitlement mentality of African Men” by Gabriel Olatunji-Legend reiterated one of the points that I usually make whenever I presented on the subject of domestic violence and its intersection with human trafficking.
I particularly liked a statement, that I have turned into a quote by Gabriel Olatunji-Legend. It stated: “It takes a man that is ready to die for her and a woman that is ready to submit to such a die-hard man” to make a successful marriage.
Unfortunately, Bible quotes and cultural beliefs are used to keep a woman in a domestic violence relationship. The man, as Olatunji-Legend rightfully puts it, feels entitled, forgetting that the woman is equally a human being with a fundamental human right just like him.
You even have the cycle of abuse going from generation to generation where mothers tell their daughters that marriage is like a, “School where you go to, but never graduates from, and where whatever is done to you, either good or bad, must remain a secret that you must not share, even with your own family members, talkless of outsiders.” For better understanding, let me rephrase this in my Yoruba language, “Ile oko, ile eko ni. Ohun ti oju re ba ri ni’be, ko fara mo ni. Eti keji ko gbodo gbo o.”
Starting from the Bible, as quoted by Chris Attoh, it does not only give instruction to the woman but also the man. Unfortunately, Chris forgot to quote the part meant for the man to tell whether he was sincere and did his part as a man has been required to do according to the Bible. You can read the Bible verse in Ephesians 5: 22 & 25:
“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord….25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;….”King James Version (KJV) Bible Gateway.
As you can read in the scriptural verses above, the Bible gave instructions to both the woman and the man. It is however, surprising that men from some cultures focus only on the “submissive part of the woman” rather than on the “love part of the man and giving of his life for the woman.”
I think that when we read this kinds of statement from a man, there is evidence of violence in the relationship. He has shown control in the way he negotiates in a relationship, rather than working as partners, and giving equal respect in order to have a violence free relationship.
This kinds of stories bring me back the memory lane when I was suffering as a victim of human trafficking and domestic violence. One of the manipulative ways used to keep me silenced was the same phrase that a woman must be submissive to her husband, and I was asked to kneel down and beg when I was the one being abused.
Imprisoned: The Travails of a Trafficked Victim was first published in 2009, and it is still a very relevant text today, eight years after. That is why I have published a second edition that does not alter any of the chapter, but included discussion questions for students, teachers, service providers staff, law enforcement, book clubs, and several other groups, who are interested in educating themselves about the subject of domestic violence and human trafficking, specifically labor trafficking.
You can pre-order your kindle version here.
Thank you for reading. Kindly leave your questions, comments, and suggestions below. Until next time.