By Princess Pat Akpabio (Guest co-writer Julius Nseobot)
When you hear the word PHYSICAL ABUSE, what pops at you immediately? For me, it says someone has physically touched another person violently and has hurt the person in the process.
Let’ define physical abuse and put it in perspective. Wikipedia defines Physical abuse as any intentional act causing injury or trauma to another person or animal by way of bodily contact. What is worthy of note here is that such an act of abuse must be "intentional" before it can be qualified as abuse.
Therefore, we can authoritatively define physical abuse on women as any gender-based violence or emotional arm deliberately committed against the female folks. Are people still physically abusive in relationships in this day and age?
The answer is a resounding Yes. some folks are still suffering from insecurity due to lack of financial strength, low self-esteem due to background orientation or just dysfunctional mental attitude that they feel that in order to show supremacy and authority where someone is submissive to their dictates, they have to hit the person they are in a relationship with and I'll let you take a broad list on the type of relationships you want to consider.
If you are thinking like me, you would ask the question, are we still living in the days of our fathers where women were physically abused to force them to be submissive due to polygamy?
I have heard in our African communities and conversations with people of the African descents some ludicrous statement like ”when a man physically beats his wife in Africa, it is a sign of love.” I am yet to fathom in comprehension how that symbolizes love. I mean in my neck of the wood, if men want to show a woman some love, they buy them expensive gifts not limited to jewelry, cars, take them shopping sprees, private jets, Build their companies, paid vacations, money in the bank and the list is inexhaustible. Facts on Physical Abuse Population-level surveys based on reports from victims provide the most accurate estimates of the prevalence of intimate partner violence and sexual violence.
A 2013 analysis conducted by WHO with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the South Africa Medical Research Council, used existing data from over 80 countries and found that worldwide, 1 in 3, or 35%, of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or non-partner sexual violence.
Given the alarming rate of violence against women, even in Western society, one is tempted to concede that violence against women is premised on the grounds that they are viewed as defenseless and too weak to retaliate proportionally.
This manifests itself in the Intentional use of physical force with the potential for causing death, injury, or harm. It also includes, scratching, pushing, shoving, throwing, grabbing, biting, choking, shaking, poking, hair pulling, slapping, punching, hitting, burning, the use of restraints or one’s body size or strength against another person, and the use, or threat to use of weapons. It is a known fact that a woman is more likely to suffer physical abuse in an environment where laws of the land are the promulgation of antiquated religious tenets.
Saudi Arabia is a case study here. In the Islamic republic, it is considered an offense for women to report sexual abuses to constituted authorities. The law vests the blame of any form of sexual abuse on the victim, which makes the victims becomes the offender or criminal, as the case may be. In most cases, the penalty includes a prison sentence.
Consequently, it is better for victims of sexual abuse to live in silence. Research shows that mental illness is associated with a significant burden of morbidity and disability. Subjecting women to emotional torture is one abuse too many.
Depression, anxiety, psychological distress, sexual violence, domestic violence, and escalating rates of substance use affect women to a greater extent than men across different countries and different settings. Pressures created by their multiple roles, gender discrimination, and associated factors of poverty, hunger, malnutrition, overwork, domestic violence, and sexual abuse, combine to account for women's poor mental health. Action To Be Taken Though there is an improvement globally on the rights of women, as studies have shown.
However, more work needs to be done to checkmate physical abuse of women. UN member states should be pressured to make adequate healthcare provision for women and girls.
Authorities should create more awareness of physical abuse on women and their corresponding dangers. A special court for physical abuse on women should be adopted and pro bono legal services for women should be provided to encourage victims of sexual abuse to seek redress. Though physical abuse on women, just like any other man-made phenomenon, will never be totally defeated.
But with the constant aggressive approach by sub-regional, regional, and global bodies', the scourge will certainly be mitigated. Women become financially independent and you must not sell your bodies to get money because this too opens us up to abuses. There is profit in every labor, don't be ashamed to sell cooked food, raw food items, make hair, start a cleaning venture, start small and grow from there.
Women should arise and speak up against the physical abuse of women in their communities generally. It should not have to take the life of any woman again. No relationship, be it dating, marital, work relationships, friendship, etc is a do or die affair. Men stand up and speak up for your mothers, sisters, aunties, daughters, nieces, and neighbors stating that no marriage and no unhealthy relationship is worth the Life of any woman alive in your communities.
Together we must stand to fight this menace that has claimed the lives of innocent women in our communities. Ladies, Yes it is good to be a slay queen but much better to be a Queen Slayer.
I am Princess Pat Akpabio and this is changing minds changing attitudes.