Written by Ekoh Eloho Angel
Yes, she died some months ago. It was a cold morning as it had rained cats and dogs the night before. It was one of those days one would wish was a public holiday. I lay on my bed thinking of what to prepare for breakfast when the thought of the ugly incidence that happened in my neighborhood flashed through my mind. My neighbor’s security man, Yusuf, had beaten his pregnant wife to death.
Prior to her death, I always noticed scars and swells on her face. She always had a story to tell anytime I asked about the marks.
“Na water draw me fall o, nobody beat me, Me? Fight Ke! Eloho you know say I nor get power to fight na.”
On the other hand, I would never have suspected that those scars were aftermaths of series of beatings from her husband. Besides, Oga Yusuf appeared to be a very peace-loving fellow. They would smile at each other and even call themselves sweet names whenever they were around people. This was a very rare thing to find among couples like them. “They must really love each other, I used to think. No one would ever have imagined that the supposed ‘cute couple’ had series of battles going on behind closed doors. Kafayat was suffering and smiling.
Kafayat was heavily pregnant as at the time of her death. She was a full house wife. Apparently, her husband was hot-tempered and always unleashed his anger on her anytime she made a little mistake.
On the day she died, she had served her husband dinner but just because the soup was a bit salty he pounced on her as usual. He beat her mercilessly and hit her head on the wall. She passed on some days after at the hospital.
We only got to know that she had long been suffering from domestic abuse from her friend, Rashida. Yes, Yusuf got arrested and has been charged to court for assault and murder of his wife.
Kafayat would have been alive today had she taken advantage of Edo State violence against persons prohibition law which stipulates a penalty for any reported case to the police, or a gender-based violence referral center or other organization working on the issue.
Kafayat is not the only victim of gender-based violence in Edo State and even across Nigeria. There are many other victims who have lost their lives after domestic squabbles with their spouses. Another example was Biliyaminu Bello who was stabbed to death by his wife, Mariam Sanda. Or do we not remember our very own Osinachi who was said to have been suffering abuse in silence until she was allegedly beaten to death? We cannot also forget the death of Mercy, 23-year old, whose stomach was allegedly ripped open by her husband some months ago. These Gender Based Violence issues are on the increase daily.
In spite of this though, we can curb the prevalence thereof if we keep at constantly raising the level of awareness and sensitization on gender based violence issues. We can do this by persistent awareness and sensitization not only to the male folk but to the generality of womanhood as well.
From the New Apostolic Centre for Development, NACD, we make this appeal: do not end up like Kafayat and thousands of other persons who die every day as a result of domestic violence. Most persons may have caring partners who may appear incapable of hurting even a fly, but it cannot be the same for other people around you. The next victim could be your sister, brother or friend. We encourage you to speak up and save a life, if you are to witness any case of Gender Based violence.
The NACD has a unit of gender based violence. Report cases of abuse to us.