A lover’s blind rage
We are undoubtedly living in extra-ordinary times. The curtain was drawn eventually on the trial of Yewande Fatoki Oyediran, a member of staff in the Department of the Director of Public Prosecutions in Oyo State, charged with the murder of her husband in February last year. She stabbed the husband in their home at Ibadan. She was sentenced to seven years imprisonment on conviction of manslaughter. There are now fresh cases of domestic violence within a week. Nigerians woke up two Sundays ago to learn of the brutal murder of a young man a few days to his birthday. He would have been 36 exactly a week ago, November 23. He was stabbed to death, accused of infidelity by his wife. On realising the gravity and implications of what she had done, she strove to save his life by rushing the man to hospital where he died. Both the young man and the wife are from very prominent families and they lived in Abuja. The other disturbing incident is that of a young man who is reported to have killed his wife, a 28-year-old mother of three, with machete. And yet, another from Birmingham in the United Kingdom. Birmingham Mail reported that Norbert Chikerena murdered his wife, a mother of four, and dumped her body in a supermarket in a car park. Earlier in the year, a young lady in far North similarly killed her husband on a charge of not providing feeding allowance.
These are horrific gory stories. They are reminders of the frightful signs of the times, the intensification of the chaos of these times overrunning the globe. In matters of this nature the shocked and watching public may not know enough. In our country these must sound as a novel development, and come to think of it, for the brazenness. It is not in the nature of women to fly into a rage and getting driven to stab their husbands to death. It is women who have mostly and disturbingly been at the receiving end in most countries but they have been known to demonstrate the capacity to absorb it all, not surprisingly, because of their enduring, but delicate nature.
According to a study in the United States, drawing materials from Bureau of Justice Statistics, although women comprise more than half her population, they committed 14.7 per cent of homicides noted over a 10-year period. African-American women who constitute 13 per cent of U.S. women fell into about half of homicide victims. They are hit by domestic violence at a rate 35 per cent higher than white women. In England and Wales, two women are murdered each week by a current or a former partner. Another study covering 2003 to 2012 shows that the vast numbers of crimes were committed by men, with about 88 per cent of homicides and 75 per cent of felonies. Males made up 96 per cent of Federal perpetrators on domestic violence. Surprisingly, these are countries where men are brought up to believe that it is absolutely wrong and unacceptable to hit a woman, even in self-defence. It is the job of the man to protect the woman. That belief is so ingrained such that women who are aggressive towards their husbands know that if the police are called in it is the man they would arrest. Yet, 85 per cent of domestic abuse victims are women and 15 per cent men.
Data from the office of National Statistics (2016) reveals that between 2013 -2015, four times more women than men were killed by their partners or former partners. It was the homicide cases studied over 10 years. Women go through domestic violence with greater intensity—with 89 per cent of people who experience four or more incidents of the violence being women. Crown Prosecution Service Data shows that 93 per cent of defendants in domestic abuse court cases are males and 84 per cent of victims are females. In the United States, the rate of female homicide is 1.09 per 1000,000 women.
In Mali, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Chad, India, Somalia, Iraq, Chad and Guatemala, hardly do women rights exist. Forget it.
I have gone this far to demonstrate that it is not in the nature of women generally to go as far as committing brutal murder in dealing with their husbands. In fury let loose, they could damage a few things in their homes, but not that young girls would go as far as stabbing their husbands to death. Yes, no one can predict how far either party would go, the man or the woman when the matter of infidelity is involved. It would depend on the nature of each person, the tolerance level and culture, prevailing behaviour and what is acceptable in the society, and, of course, the deterrence consciousness of the law. From the studies referred to in the foregoing, women are known to be long suffering, borne out of their capacity defined by their delicate make-up. The man could shoot and the woman could break things to compensate for the differences in physical strengths wielded by the man, and she packs out. But stabbing as was the case in the Ibadan and Abuja is novel in Nigeria. If a woman must go overboard, it is usually more subtle. On the whole, even though it is the woman who is at the receiving end most times, their tolerance level has been proven to be higher.
Whatever it is, when the deed is done and the scale falls off the eyes the gravity of the tragic blind rage dawns. One then begins to wonder: What does a woman tell her daughter or her son killed his or her father later in life—that he died during two fighting? The same question can be posed to the man. What does he say later to the children? What does he say when the five-year-old son asks: Daddy, where is mummy? In the Lagos case, the son even witnessed the macabre incident and gave a graphic, blow by blow account of it. How does that child live down the trauma and gory memories in future? Little wonder, studies show that 73 per cent of male abusers in the U.S. were abused children.
Marriages, from ages past, are governed in most lands by cultural and religious beliefs, upbringing, but rarely by love and true knowledge of the meaning of marriage. In some lands, including Nigeria, there is the prevailing tradition to arrange marriages between people who are simply going to be unhappy living together. In marriage, there is something, undefined, deep down both man and woman that drives them in search of fulfillment, in search of happiness. For a man the search is for a woman who is a mother, a friend, a companion, teacher, a guide, the pathfinder, a nurse and wife to the husband, the foundational qualities peculiar to women. She is expected also to be a confidant and his world, a woman of equal worth. The woman looks for someone who is caring and who protects; she desires a responsible and respectable companion. Where this is fulfilled, the foundation, if we dig deep, must be love. It is love that moves the world, that drives a man out of his mind. It is love, therefore, that should drive a marriage. Unfortunately, that is not the case. There is calculation. There are all kinds of considerations. When the excitement and novelty of the marriage wane, either party begins to look out to fill the yawning gaps in quest of fulfillment.
The Birmingham Crown Court heard that 42-year-old Norbert Chikerena believed that his wife, Nyasha Kahari, a mother of four, was seeing another man. He then hired a private detective to follow her and heard a video recording of her meeting another man whom he knew. The prosecutor told the court: “Unable to cope with his belief that his wife was having an extramarital affair, Norbert Chikerena armed with an axe, took his wife to an unknown location and launched a frenzied and fatal attack on her. Our thoughts are today with the family and friends of Nyasha Kahari.” Chikerena also damaged cars of two men he believed had been seeing his wife with the axe.
In nearly all the cases, it is the thread of infidelity that runs through them. Chikerena was sentenced to life imprisonment and Yewande Oyediran in Ibadan was jailed seven years. In Western Europe and America the cases have more to do with irreconcilable differences, temperament and unfulfilled expectations. With the woman in those places it is not much of waywardness on the part of the woman, but unfulfilled expectations. Acts of indiscretion have more to do with the men, and what the woman does is she packs out and files for divorce.
True love, which ideally should form the basis of marriage, only sees and wishes the best for the loved one, always seeking that which will be of benefit to the either party in the union. This in a majority of cases the foundation is non-existent. The world generally speaking is far from the right path where only love governs the union. When a man pulls out a gun, a machete and the woman reaches for the knife in a young marriage, how does one explain the novelty, the excitement associated with the newness of a marriage flying out of the window so soon, within two years? Sociologists are wont to say that the most trying period of a marriage usually is from the third anniversary to the fifth year when the strengths and weaknesses in the union begin to manifest or labour under strains.
There are two common forms of marriage widely recognised—polygamy and monogamy. These are governed by cultural, traditional and religious beliefs. There are educational, economic, exposure and social standing factors as well. Polygamy sometimes arises from a longing for children in a childless marriage. The senior wife out of lack of exposure, rather than adopt a child or two, looks for another wife for her husband. As we grow in knowledge of the immutable principles of life all mankind will be able to decide by themselves what the ideal form of marriage is. The harm inherent in any other form will indisputably come clearly to the fore for all to see. In the unique times in which we are with abundant powers from On High pouring into our world there will no longer be a hiding place for all wrongs. Every aberration will manifest and prophesied separations will be complete including in marriage in preparation for the new time of Millennium.
However, before we get to the crescendo in the intensification the abundant power exerts to clear out all wrongs we will continue to muddle up the waters. What then do we do to manage the situation before we are forced to recognize the wrong doings and change our ways from what is to what should be?
There are cultural beliefs that permit polygamy. If a man is in an environment where polygamy is not frowned upon, how do you have two, three or four wives if he does not communicate with them through calls, through nocturnal meetings, text messages or letters as it was in the time of old? I am talking about where having multiple wives are not regarded as an offence against the law. In other sections of our land where there are religious or social constraints, the emergence of a polygamous home often begins surreptitiously. Boys begin to hang out according to the common parlance. Boys begin to long for adventure. The adventure by the young man at a certain stage of his marriage is ignored; it is regarded as part of growing up, and we often hear, “boys must be boys” and also the saying of the elders,’’Agba, bi ewe ko ba se e ri, wa so.” That is, the elder is asked to remember his past philandering days before castigating the young ones. Indeed Ebenezer Obe put it more poignantly, “ …wa wi ooo!” Come and say!
What this suggests is that parents have a role even though they themselves are groping in the dark since they do not have the right knowledge of the meaning of marriage. If they had had it they would know that the union of their wards is absolutely none of their business, that only two souls are involved in a marriage. What role is then expected of the parents at this stop-gap stage of human recognition, at least to reduce the heartbreaks and the tragedies we are witnessing? Two persons are involved in a marriage, both bringing their strengths and weaknesses into a union. It is self-evident that many parents do not sufficiently equip their daughters in particular with knowledge of what they may expect from their husbands of their marriage from their husbands, what they should ignore. Ile oko, ile eko, again as the saying goes. Literally translated, it means a marriage is a school, a place of learning. Because of lack of proper grounding in possible tendencies they may encounter until they settle down well and added to it, compatibility, many marriages end up being a gamble.
There are, of course, exceptions as in all things. There are young wives that do not experience anxieties from their husbands. The longed-for happy upbuilding union is their lot. These are a minority. In the times we are in which a great deal has gone upside down, it is expected that there are and will always be pressure from girls who also want to be hooked, who have stayed long on the shelf. If they do not have a home they want children. They cannot understand why some have husbands they can call their own and they do not have. There are those on a vengeance mission: He met me before her. Consider again the times: scantily dressed ladies populate the streets to stimulate thoughts and seduce. They are on television; they parade fashion gallery. There are all kinds of platforms in social media for single girls seeking companionship. It is an era of shamelessness. Proper counseling therefore becomes an imperative.
We as human beings will always stand at different levels of inner maturity dictated by the choices we make using our free will. With richer inner maturity we see the world differently. We seek the ideal. Certain things in life’s experiences are overlooked with understanding smiles. The capacity to tap and absorb from the Rays of Love flowing through Creation increases and you find that there are many things that glitter, but are not gold. With robust maturity also comes wisdom. To distinguish worth from worthlessness requires growing up, that is inner maturity. At that point, the men abandon the pastimes and fun if that is what we may like to call it. Extreme provocation which is usually pleaded in homicide cases will also be tamed on the part of the women as well as the men. Inner maturity comes with knowledge and experiencing which in fact is the true knowledge.
Understanding these stages of development would spare many a parent heartaches, and couples tragedies. Parents would need to admonish their children until they come to knowledge that at a certain stage in marriage boys will always want to be boys. In the eyes of purists, it may not be right, but that is the reality. It is what our world has to live with until we familiarize ourselves with knowledge that spells out the implications of all actions, not only in marriage, until we recognise that the laws of nature does not place count on the various excuses.
All said, the tragedies we have witnessed only go to demonstrate the truism that no man can fall in love as deeply as a woman will, and no man can match a woman in cruelty either. The simple reason a woman’s fall could be spectacular is that women stand higher than men spiritually by the virtue of their higher make-up. With dark shadow encompassing them they lose connection with help. It is the make-up which facilitates her being able to distinguish right from wrong and wrong from right. This gift draws her closer to Nature. But she is disconnected with help once through shadows enveloping her through wrong doing, permissiveness a contributor to it. Her fall, therefore, is like a person coming down from a 10-storey building whereas for a man the fall is from the steps leading to the first floor. He bruises his knees and gets up. Not so for a woman. And thus in extreme provocation, reason is paralyzed to pave the way for rampaging vengefulness.
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