Wife of the Governor of Lagos State, Bolanle Ambode, on Tuesday condemned in strongest terms instances of domestic violence across the country and asked women in abusive marriages to take a walk from the union.
She made the denunciation in Alausa, Ikeja, against the backdrop of the case of Lekan Shonde, who allegedly beat his wife to death in the Egbeda area of the state last week. Shonde has since been arrested by police.
Mrs Ambode lamented that domestic violence in the form of assault on wife, child beating and other forms of uncivilised behaviour against women and children seemed to have got fresh fancy from some men who she said are still living in the primitive times.
In a thinly veiled dig at Tiwa Savage’s husband, she described as totally unacceptable, a situation where a man would callously turn his wife to a punching bag on the flimsy excuse that the helpless woman had either insulted him or refused to carry out his orders.
Her words: “How do you explain a situation where the man you married and one who claims to love you would descend so heavily on you at the slightest provocation. If he is not complaining about delayed dinner, it is another flimsy excuse that is not tenable anywhere. They do it every now and then even to the extent of killing the helpless woman. For how long will this go on?”
The governor’s wife advised any woman who finds herself in an abusive relationship to retrace her steps when it is still possible, so that she could live to tell her own story.
She rejected the common excuse of societal stigmatisation of women who abandoned unpleasant marriages, retorting that “when the woman dies in such a cruel marriage, what then does the society say?
According to her, “many victims of domestic violence become victims of their own psychological realities. The world of these women is lonely, isolated and filled with fear, with no emotional outlet whatsoever. Sadly, victims wait until it is too late.”
She advised: “We should cease to treat domestic violence as a case of family affair and then decide not to become involved. The fact that our society is patriarchal and values sanctioned by culture is not enough reason for this epidemic called domestic violence.”
Speaking further, she said domestic abuse should be moved from being viewed as a social problem to being viewed as a criminal justice issue.
Mrs Ambode commiserated with all victims of domestic violence, including families of those that died, urging any woman going through such troubled marriages to approach the state’s Office of the Public Defender, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Youth & Social Development or the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation for legal assistance at no cost.