We hear, read, watch stories of domestic violence – wife battery, child abuse – and shake our heads in condemnation, even though a great many of us are guilty of same offence, in lesser degrees.
It is easy to condemn the acts of others, without first examining our consciences; without first looking into our households, into the lives of our friends, family, loved ones; without first removing the speck in our eyes before pointing out that which is in another.
I had a huge falling with a relative of mine and his wife who are guilty of child abuse (yes, it is child abuse to slap a child thrice). As I looked at him puffing with righteous indignation as he beat the poor boy, it dawned on me just how easy it is to be an oppressor. It dawned on me that domestic violence is a lot more common and rampant than we presume. It dawned on me that the statistics we have is a lot less than the cases on ground.
At first, I was dumbfounded then angry then ashamed then furious. Violence is never the answer! And to visit violence of any form on a child of 13 in the name of “correcting” him is not only unjust, it is pure evil!
I know that, in Nigeria, corporal punishment is an accepted norm, even recommended by some parents, but we should also ask ourselves: when is this violence called for? How do we monitor administration of corporal punishment? How many strokes per child of what age is okay? When is enough enough?
These, my dear friends, are relevant questions for every right-thinking human being who believes in making the world a better place.
I for one will never abuse a child, and I will not be in any arena where a child is being abused, except I’m chained to a post.
If you can raise your hand to a child without inner restraint or having second thoughts, then you’re one of the problems with the world, worse than Boko Haram and ISIS. If you’re okay with or condone domestic violence, then you’re a bigger problem than the abuser, much like the sponsors of terrorist organizations. If you comfortably stand by while a child is abused because you don’t know “what” to do or “how” to stop the abuse, then you’re not only a coward, you’re f**ked up as hell, and deserve nothing good from the world.
Egoyibo Okoro is a Lawyer, Feminist, Human Rights Advocate and Writer.
She is currently pursuing her Masters in Women’s & Gender Studies.