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Domestic Violence: Human not Gender

[ Masterweb Editorial ]

By Chief Charles O. Okereke

( Wednesday, June19, 2002 )

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"A gender blind network SAFE (Stop Abuse for Everyone) recently sprung up in the United States. SAFE has set up a website( ), where male and lesbian women victims of domestic abuse can share their stories with others."

Domestic Violence: Human not Gender Firstly, domestic violence is condemned in all its manifestations. Be it husband to wife or wife to husband. All efforts in combating this ugly inhumane, or will I say animalistic behavior are supported. There will be no abuse with love and respect from both sides. If one treats another the way he or she wants to be treated, the other party in their right senses will reciprocate. Sadly, the situation most of the time is not of reciprocity, but that of the survival of the fittest. We see the strong preying on the weak. This is both natural and human. The woman with changes in the law is not always the weak. Women have been protected in the civilized world with laws against domestic violence geared in their favor. This is a good gesture, provided checks and balances, are set up to discourage undue advantage of these laws. Unfortunately the laws are so porous, that domestic violence statistics are gradually changing. A national survey funded by the Centers for Disease Control in the United Sates found that nearly 40% of all domestic violence victims were men. This figure represents approximately 835,000 men a year, abused by intimate partners.

A gender blind network SAFE (Stop Abuse for Everyone) recently sprung up in the United States. SAFE has set up a website( ), where male and lesbian women victims of domestic abuse can share their stories with others. The website lists services that are sympathetic to this underserved population. It also provides a list of qualified professionals ready to provide training to law enforcement, health-care providers, crises lines, social service, etc., on how to identify, support, and refer male victims of domestic violence. SAFE is a 501(C)3 charitable organization based in Tualatin, Oregon, U.S.A. It is funded through donations, which might be as low as one dollar.

Africa, especially Nigeria, is known to always emulate or copy the United States. This is good provided she is copied accurately taking into account prevailing circumstances at home. Africa so far has not adopted the western style domestic violence laws. Just a handful of the countries have laws on domestic violence, even though other spheres of society of most african countries are dictated by the American lifestyle. If the United States is miscopied or selfishly copied that negates the original intent of such policy. Good examples of this in Nigeria include the adoption of a US style presidential system of government, creation of States, and government take over of schools.

Nigeria's presidential system of government is nothing to write home about. It has led to large, corrupt and inept government. Where so many are involved stealing or pilfering, not much will be left for national development. This has been the situation in Nigeria, and has led to military interventions that plundered the country further. Nigeria with all her human and natural resources is rated among the world's 20 poorest countries. Per capita GNP is $260, less than what it was at independence forty one years ago.

States were created along tribal lines, and were based on exclusion rather than inclusion. Non-indigenes are in most cases excluded from government and elections, even though they contribute to the development of the area. They do not have a voice in the system and legislation that daily affect their lives. They are virtually treated as strangers in their country. The federal government is yet to make effort in mandating the extension of permanent residency by states to non-indigenes, based on their length of stay in the area. Ethnic violence politically fomented to flush out or dispossess non-degenes is on the increase. Nigerian existence as a corporate entity is highly threatened with these tribal divisions. Religious divisions and violence are also politically orchestrated along tribal lines.

The government took over schools is Nigeria soon after the civil war. This though modeled after the US school system was miscopied. Generally in the United States, any policy that is not covered on the federal level falls under jurisdiction of the state government. This is how the state government took over control of schools in the United States, because it was not covered on the federal level. State governments have their schools (State Schools) while on the other hand allowing the co-existence of private schools. In Nigeria the government took absolute control of all schools from their original owners. A lot of schools, especially missionary schools lost their christian flavor. The result of this misguided action can easily be seen in Nigeria. There is a near complete decay of the educational system; buildings are falling, schools are ill equipped, and teachers not regularly paid. Some states are now handing back these schools to their original owners, in order to reverse this trend.

Policies and laws of the United States made her a great nation. The country has done a good job in formulating policies and enacting laws, and on the other hand equally good in reviewing them for amendment to reflect changing times. There is nothing wrong in copying provided it is based on national rather than selfish interest and reflects prevailing conditions at home.

When it comes to domestic violence, women should be protected since they constitute the larger percentage of abused victims. A window should also be created viewing domestic violence on an aggregate rather gender basis. This will help also protect those in the minority and punish perpetrators in the majority hiding behind good faithed laws. Anything short of this, is discriminatory and does not augur well for society. Africa should copy fast to protect its womenfolk and children, but this time should copy well.

A victim of domestic violence.
Photo Above: A victim of domestic violence.
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Related Links:- 
The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence

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