Wife-Beating can never be Justified

Dr. Goke Akinrogunde
Wife-beating or what is known as domestic violence in the broader sense, has been described as a confrontation between family or household members that typically involves physical harm, sexual assault, or fear of physical harm.
The violence can come in the forms of physical and sexual abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse, coercion and threats, intimidation, isolation, jealousy and blame or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, occurring in public or private life.
My emphasis here is to take a closer look at the much more prevalent violence against women which has been acknowledged worldwide as a violation of basic human rights. A great number of studies, including those published by the United Nations on this subject have highlighted the health burdens, intergenerational effects, and demographic consequences of domestic violence.
I have often wondered what is it like for those men who engaged in beating and regularly assaulting their spouse. Was this enjoyable? Were there honest regrets thereafter and if so, do they think they require help from empathising professionals and experts? Or is it another backward mode of thinking that: ‘I married her, I paid her dowry and I can do to her as I please’. The psychology of wife-beaters is definitely worthy of in-depth research studies by psychologists and psychiatrists alike.
To be sure the question of who beats their spouses at the slightest or no provocation cut across the all region, race, creed, religion and class. However, it is safe to say that among the classes, what will prompt the rich to bounce on his wife is not likely to be in league with the underlining condition of poor economic footing and a clearly un-secure future confronting the poorly paid worker, who then transfer his frustration unto the wife, taking solace to punching her as he pleases.
In practice and in my social interactions, I have come across women who regularly got assaulted by their husband at the slightest provocation and it does appear that there is no barrier to which section of the society this men are likely to come from. In truth, a related shocking reality to me is the knowledge, some two decades ago, that a highly respected senior colleague (a Gynaecologist and prominent religious leader) regularly harassed and beat his wife (then in her late forties) with horsewhip at the slightest wrong.
Similarly, I cannot help recalling the faces of those ladies I have met in the past, who came calling to my consulting room with bartered faces and misty eyes with the primary complaint of the wounded face being the result of an assault from their man. The pain and the agony that these women felt are better imagined. For them, the pain is beyond the physically felt and obvious one but more appalling is the deeply seated and ever-lasting emotional pain.
The worst of all is the un-comforting reality that they will have to go back home with the existing possibility of another bashing accompanied by another round of physical and emotional pain in the foreseeable future. Some of these women never went back home; they plotted and executed their divorces and separations from the hospital bed.
The Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (2008 and beyond NDHS) included special module designed to obtain information on the extent to which women in Nigeria experience domestic violence. The analysed findings are well detailed and enlightening on the extent of violence against women in the forms of physical, sexual and emotional violence.
Expectedly, collection of information on domestic violence is challenging because women may not disclose these experiences out of shame or fear. Collection of such sensitive information for the NDHS report was achieved via establishment of strong rapport between the interviewer and the respondent.
Women and physical violence
Beyond saying the obvious, the NDHS report revealed that in Nigeria domestic violence cuts across all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. The report showed that 28 percent (about 1 in 4) of all women sampled across the country experienced physical violence since the age of 15, and 15 percent of women experienced physical violence in the 12 months preceding the survey.
However, the experience of physical violence varies substantially by background characteristics. The trend by age group indicates an increase in physical violence from the 15-19 age group through the 25-29 age
group, and a decrease thereafter. Thirty percent of women age 25-29 have experienced physical violence at some time since age 15, while 16 percent experienced violence during the 12 months preceding the survey.
Furthermore, the report shows that women who are employed but are not paid in cash are more likely than other women to have ever experienced physical violence since age 15 and during the 12 months preceding the survey (38 and 23 percent, respectively). It is interesting to note that unemployed women are the least likely to experience physical violence, with 23 percent having experienced violence since age 15 and 13 percent experiencing physical violence during the 12 months preceding the survey.
By marital status, women who are divorced, separated or widowed are far more likely to have experienced physical violence than other women. Forty-four percent of divorced, separated or widowed women reported experiencing violence since age 15, compared with 25 percent of women who are married or living together, and 33 percent of never-married women.
South-south leads in violence against women
The survey under review also shows a notable variation in experience of physical violence on women on a regional basis in Nigeria; it is worst in the South South and least in the North West. Experience of physical violence since age 15 is reported by the highest proportion of women in South South (52 percent) compared with only 13 percent of women in North West. The proportion of women experiencing physical violence in the past 12 months is again highest in the South South (24 percent) and lowest in North West (6 percent).
Other findings
In another development, it appeared that the rich are slightly more prone than the poor to unleash violence on their spouse. Coming from the report is that experience of physical violence by women generally increases with wealth quintile.
Another important note is that marital violence comes with some degree of marital control exercised by the husband over the respondent. Attempts by a husband or partner to closely control and monitor the activities of their female partner or spouse have been found to be among the most important early warning signs of violence in a relationship. Controlling behaviours most often manifest themselves in terms of extreme possessiveness, jealousy, and attempts to isolate the woman from her family and friends.
Meanwhile, beyond mere statistically analyses, these findings are expected to provide clear-cut scientific evidence that domestic violence is very much on ground here. It would certainly come handy for those advocating for improved legislation on domestic violence in the country, such as the now passed in Lagos state among others. The results should also expand on-going efforts of preventing domestic violence and improved services for women who experience domestic violence.
In the main, this discussion is all about refocusing issues on the subject of domestic violence, stirring up a debate on its socio-economic link, lending the victims a voice whilst also encouraging them to seek help and exposing spouse-beating as an unfashionable and a primitive act.
No Big Deal: Semen Pours Out After Intercourse
I so much need your help. I am 25yrs of age; I got married earlier in the  year.
There is this problem I am having concerning my health that I wish to share with you. Any time I have sex with my husband, the sperm pours out of me immediately.
Please, I want to know what is wrong with me. I am so frustrated as I am yet to conceived since we married.
Without much elaboration from you, I can infer from experience from clinical interactions that your main source of worry lies in the fact that you think that this complaint of yours about how “the sperm pours out…. immediately” after sex is most likely the reason why you are yet to conceived since your marriage early this year.
Although, you did not mention per se that you are yet to conceive; the frustration is inferable from the tone of your mail. On this, I should add that your complaint is not peculiar; it’s a recurrent one coming from women concerned about their fertility status or those desiring pregnancy. It is this set of women who see this occurrence of semen flowing back out of the vagina after sex as a proof of something’s gone wrong.
As for the validity of this occurrence as a proof of something gone wrong; I beg to differ. I honestly think nothing is wrong with this development in women generally speaking; indeed, this occurs in all women after sexual intercourse in different degrees. And the reason for this is obvious to a discerning mind.
The relevant notes here are that: the semen is deposited into the vagina during sexual intercourse; but the vagina really is a collapsible cylindrical tube that readily fits different sizes of turgid penis; it is not cock-tight cylinder and it is directed upward and backward in the lying or erect woman.
Hence, when sperm is deposited into the vagina, during sexual intercourse with the woman in lying position; with attempts to stand upright, the semen will definitely flow back or downward depending on the maintained position. When this occurred, it is definitely normal and it does not necessarily mean that it will compromise the ability to get pregnant.
The truth is that getting pregnant is more dependent on the timing of sexual intercourse during the menstrual cycle of the woman. Usually, if this happened during ‘closed-up to ovulation or at ovulation’, the entrance to the womb, the cervix, readily open to allow the shooting semen to enter the womb. With this development ,the process of fertilization can then take place.
So, my candid advice to you is not to get yourself worried unnecessarily with this ‘discovery’, it really amounts to no big deal. After all, a number of couples are aware of the fact that even when they cleaned deeply into the vagina after intercourse, pregnancy sometimes results in spite of this cleaning.
Hence, worry not; else you can easily fall victim to false professional interpretation and codified extortion under the guise that your complaint is something very serious, when in reality this is far from the case.
Wishing you the very best.