Daily Trust (Abuja)

8 June 2007

Nigeria: The Home Front - Dilemma of 'Abused' Men

opinion

The heading of this article may be incongruous because if you hear of abused victims you automatically think of them as women. This is what is usually the case since women are more susceptible to abuse; being under the control of men in marriage and in some families they are made to feel inferior to their male siblings. Then in the work place and other institutions they are subjects of sexual harassments. Above all, they are victims of rape, either when they are visited by armed robbers or unfortunate enough to fall into the trap of such wicked and lewd characters.

So from the above it is easier for a woman to become a victim of domestic violence, being beaten by her husband. But even though you hear rarely that some men (?) also suffer abuse from their wives, you will not think that it is serious, afterall a man is much physically stronger than his wife, so how could he allow her to abuse, slap or beat him? It is quite unthinkable. But you really give it a second thought when you begin to hear it more frequenlty, as a result of which one man joked that men really need a ministry of men affairs to look after their problems.

The man made the remark on seeing a sticker against women abuse. He said men too were being abused and nobody is doing anything about it. And to think that those that abuse them are women! Those human beings that are supposed to be 'weak', gentle and soft.

Another thing that has made me to take the issue of men abuse seriously was when I read recently that in one African country it was so serious that they were raising alarm, because since many people believed that only women could be abused, the abused men are suffering without anybody to officially come to their rescue.

Even though in Nigeria I haven't yet heard such outcry, there are indeed cases of men abuse and something should also be done to them. Though many people would think like me that the solution is simple, that is the man should just get out of the marriage. Or is it also difficult for men as it is for women? At least women stick to unhappy marriages because they don't want to be separated from their children, and some are pressurised by their parents to stay in the marriage, which could not be brought to bear on men.

In any case, definitely such 'weak' men are not behaving like men with responsibilities, for example one man told me that his friend's wife would slap him at the slightest argument and lock him out of the house when he came home late. Well, in some way he set the stage for his own humiliation, for one, he lives in her house, rides her car and eats her food. Apparently this reversed position made her think that she owned him, body and soul.

Such men are so lazy and undignified that they cannot or refuse to work for the upkeep of the family no matter how little they provide. At least the effort makes them manly. But when they prefer to sleep and laze around while their wives work hard, they are courting trouble. One of the reasons that makes women to lose respect for their husbands is for the husbands to rely on them financially, not once in a while, but to be permanently so without making the effort to get job or something doing to feed their families.

Were men to come out and say they are being abused by their wives will not only ridicule them, but also make their fellow men to regard them with contempt.

By the way, why should men go into relationships with women that have stronger character than them, or are they so spineless that they prefer to be cowered in order to live off the wives?

Thereafter, if such men should form a 'a cry for help' organization and advocate for ministry of men affairs, fine, but they should also be taught what it takes to be a man, and some of those qualities are to be brave and to provide for your family. By this, a woman can hardly feel that you are beneath her and trample on you in the process.

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