Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In Defense Of...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I read a terrible story today that touched my heart. A young lady who was married 2 years ago, has a daughter, was brutally murdered by her husband last week. This horrible monster, stabbed his wife, mutilated her, and by all counts tried to cover his tracks by dismembering her. This is gory, and just plain devilish. May her soul rest in peace, and may the Lord have mercy on her. I think about the fact that this young lady could have easily been a reader of this blog and I'm saddened.

However the reason for this post is not to just share my condolences but to talk about the way in which I came to hear of this story. Someone somewhere wrote about this story and understandably tied the tragedy in with "marriage people". I understand the intention and stemming from reports that this particular marriage had had a history of violence and physical abuse, I get it. Nonetheless, my reaction is to say wait a minute, not all marriage is bad. It saddens me to see something that enriches my life so much is the subject of hurt, pain, and in this case death for someone else. It is not marriage that caused this tragedy, it is uncontrollable anger. It is our societal policy of "need-to-know". Our dogmatic attitudes. Our penchance to revel in secrecy. Don't ask, don't tell. All these things are not planted solely in a marriage, they can be planted in any relationship we find ourselves in. So whether in platonic, business, or romantic relationships I think it's important we always check that we are staying true to who we are and be that person unapologetically.

I wanted to defend marriage today. It is an institution made up of two individuals. Sometimes despite our best efforts the other person just refuses to change, or to grow together. Sometimes despite our best intentions we just don't know what to do or where to go. Or worse still, we realize all too late that we've made an error. We're all human beings and are prone to making judgements in error. However, when God's grace does shine and you're lucky enough to tie yourself to the partner God provides for you, then it can be sweet, and loving, and challenging, and warm. I've heard some ladies say, "80% of married women settled [for less that is]" I'm a married woman and I settled for honesty, kindness, self-control, thoughtfulness, and sense of responsibility. That's what I settled for. If we really all sit down and decide for ourselves what it is that we want to settle for, and let it be positive non-physical attributes, then we're a good way to forming a partnership with someone who's stable, kind-hearted, and has respect for self-control.

This post is not to say "you can avoid a physically abusive relationship", no, but to say that because it IS possible to have a sweet loving and kind marriage, we should really all think about what qualities have to be present in both parties to have this and don't settle for less than those. Be aware that bad things to do happen, and no one is immune. Fortify yourself. But remember that good things can happen as well, and can happen for you. Prepare yourself.


Sugabelly said...

I don't think it has anything to do with secrecy or not telling people about your private business.

I agree with the person that said it is the fault of "marriage people" and "I must to be married" mentality.

Because most Nigerian women (and remember, most does not mean you, or the one aunty you know, etc - this is for people that are going to reply and say 'well my aunty isn't like that') but MOST Nigerian women settle for a lot of rubbish in their marriages rather than just divorce the bloody man and get on with their lives.

It seems that the glamour of answering Mrs and Madam is worth more to them than their own safety or health.

That being said, there is the possibility that in the case of women whose husbands beat them, they might not leave because of battered woman syndrome (which is not their fault) because they need therapy and counseling to help them leave.

Other than that, most of the blame DOES lie on the fact that Nigeria is a place where married women feel special and look down on single women and single women are pressured to get married in spite of all they may have accomplished in life.

It does not mean YOU personally feel that way, but I think the average single woman in Nigeria has encountered more than enough smug married women to last her a life time.

Myne Whitman said...

I read the news on a tell-all blog, and was shocked. I think those blaming 'marriage people' are of course entitled to their opinion, but I will not dignify them with a rebuttal.

The report said that the man appeared mentally deranged, and I'm guessing he became unhinged while in a fracas with the wife. This is an issue we hear a lot of hear in America, where sociopaths and psychopaths kidnap, murder and dismember even babies and children. While it used not to be common in Nigeria, the more western the naija society becomes, the more prevalent such mental health issues may become.

Bad things happen in all relationships. The man could have been her father, brother, friend, boyfriend, colleague, etc. Women are generally - in naija as well as other countries - physically weaker, and therefore prone to be the victims of attacks or abuse, domestic or otherwise. We all heard of a senator that was slapped within the halls of the Nigerian national assembly. We should make ourselves strong, physically and mentally, so as to recognize and get out of potentially dangerous situations, or defend ourselves to the best of our ability.

Let us not make this a married Vs single, or even a gender debate, it is about health and safety. Children are most times even more vulnerable than women. The report did not say anything about the daughter, and I hope she's OK.

My thoughts on DV for both married and single(in a r/ship) women: Get out, Get therapy/help, and if necessary, Stay out. Divorce is an option.

May the woman's soul rest in peace.

Kemi said...

Thanks @Sugarbelly and @Myne for your comments.

Myne- I agree completely with you.

Sugarbelly, I completely understand where you're coming from and though I don't agree with everything you said I can see how one can come to that conclusion. My point of view is that like Myne said this is something that can happen to anyone, the fact that this instance is about someone who was married is sad but is not causal in any way. The man was a monster, if not a wife he could have done the same to a colleague, or a business partner. My defense of marriage is that it IS a beautiful, wonderful, loving, thing, when it is between two beautiful, loving people. Therefore we should all endeavor to be such types of people, and to ensure as much as possible that the people closest to us are beautiful loving people.

Btw, a "smug married woman" in my opinion has less to do about her being married and more to do about her being a jerk (married or not) in my opinion. And an insecure single woman has less to do about her being single and more about her self-image (married or not).

HoneyDame said...

Very true. While I have not read the original story, I fail to see how this is a marriage issue more than a case of a nut-head and demented sadist. It is just what it sounds like, homicide!

@ilola said...

I guess the reason why they labelled it a marriage issue is because some ladies have made marriage a 'do or die' thing. and it is the sad truth. We see all the bad qualities but because of the 'me too, I must marry' mindset, we close our eyes and jump in. Mentally deranged or not, she should have left the house when he was beating her constantly. Her father even asked her to stay in his house some days before he killed her but she declined.
The moral they were trying to say is that, if you see rubbish in courtship, jump out. Period

Anonymous said...

she was a friend of the family, my mum called to tell me the news yesterday, i hope justice would be delivered to her husband. May her soul rest in peace

Aseni said...

There are tons of great marriages out there. The fact is that we only hear of the bad ones.

This isn't about being married or bad marriages, its about a man who does not have self control and probably needed to be kept in a mental ward.

That being said, the woman ought to have been gone way before this happened. Mad men don't change.

Sugabelly said...

Sorry I think from some of the comments it appears some people have not read the story.

The most IMPORTANT line in the entire story as it was reported is that "He beat savagely before and she left him BUT SHE WENT BACK".

It's not about "this could happen to anyone".

I agree completely that ANYBODY could marry somebody who appeared to be nice and then the person turns out to be a monster. That is just random.

However, what ISN'T random is what you do in reaction to the person's actions.

Her GOING BACK is not random. Her GOING BACK is what lead to her death unfortunately.

And that is my point.

And that is why I said that I will not blame her because there is a POSSIBILITY that she went back BECAUSE of "Battered Woman Syndrome".

However, I also am pointing out that it is not EVERY case in which the woman goes back because of Battered Woman Syndrome.

In many MANY cases in Nigeria every day, the woman goes back because she wants to be "married" and "answer Mrs or Madam". Or because her family wants to have a "married daughter" and so pushes her to return to a man that should have been given divorce papers.

lamikayty said...

difficult post. difficult topic!

but one that needs to be spoken about more often.

I think the emphasis should be on educating young women before they get married. The book of Timothy encourages older women to mentor the younger ones. I believe it is so they won't have fancy ideas about what marriage is/should be - they'll know the truth. and they'll also be able to help them when challenges come up.

I believe this is a key to helping young marriages. Domestic violence is definitely a No-No. I believe his anger was nurtured and not dealt with until it became this ugly horrific crime splashed on the pages of newspapers.
Men also need to be mentored and helped.

I agree with your post Kemi, because this crime happened does not mean that every marriage is hell! At the same time, women should not be made to feel guilty for reporting a violent abuser! Our society with its norms and 'silence' mantra has encouraged this vice! Violent men are weak men, period! said...

I haven't read anything about this sad story but I really love your post. Its good to hear someone speak up in defence of marriage. It is a beautiful thing and its problems come from the imperfect people that make it up. Not every so called 'happily married' person is truly happy and I give kudos to people who stick with their marriage through the rough times praying for better things ahead.

That being said the Good Book encourages us to be 'gentle as doves but wise as serpents', in an abusive situation especially where children are involved I don't think its selfish to think about you and them.

However, I have seen a lot of girls stay with and keep going back to abusive boyfriends and partners so I'm not sure if the 'exalted' marital status is really the issue. A lot of women would prefer an 'In a relationship status' over 'Single'. If a single woman will take back an abusive partner, I think a married one can be forgiven for doing the same. Though it isn't right. My decision is always to choose LIFE.

Muse Origins said...

That's true. Lots of people are having loving relationships. But from all the stories i'm hearing, it's like these are the blessed few. I suppose it's important to know each other first then be committed to each other

Adiya (formally The Corner Shop)

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