Participants at a Women’s March Barcelona Event Photo: African Press Club
I went to see a theatre performance last Friday night at Centre Cultural Francesca Bonnemaison in Barcelona. At first, I hesitated only because it was accompanied with a tab of 10 euros. As a student, I unashamedly count my pennies. The city is not exceptionally economical particularly after paying the pricy monthly rent.
My friend Caroline who invited me promised a money-back guarantee, so I grabbed it. It turned out to be an absolutely fabulous evening. The production was top-notch – great lighting, stellar performances, pointed story lines, which meant no money-back. Tears!
The show which lasted about two hours, touched on the subject of violence. It was organized by Women’s March Barcelona to mark the V-day Barcelona 2019, a worldwide campaign that raises awareness about violence against women. It did a magnificent job of throwing a searchlight on an important topic. Remarkably, 100 women volunteered to organise the V-day, a strong indication of how passionate the womenfolk are on matters concerning them.
Violence against women is rife in Spain. I thought that this was mainly an African or Nigerian problem. How wrong I was. Available data indicates that a total of 98 women died in the hands of their partners in 2018 in Spain. They call it femicidios in Spanish meaning femicide. I learnt new things through this article because I previously had never encountered this word. According to Oxford dictionary, it means “the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man and on account of her gender.”
It must be horrifying to be pummelled by a spouse, especially one that has professed love to you. It’s worse when he is enraged. The battering can’t be pretty.
The accounts are markedly depressing and involve victims of all ages from 20s to 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. In one instance, a 90 years old woman was poisoned by her husband in the nursing home where they lived; a 71 years old woman was murdered with a baseball bat by her 81 years old husband, who thereafter committed suicide; a 56 years old man shot his wife and then killed himself; a 49 years old woman was beaten to death by her partner in a town square.
Some were stabbed to death, dumped in a ditch after being beaten to death, suffocated, beheaded, shot with a gun and strangled. Many of the women also left children behind. More information is available at: feminicidio.net.
In Nigeria, while concrete statistics may be hard to find, the situation is similar. Violence against women is prevalent and many women fail to speak up for various reasons: stigmatization; family pressure to remain in marriage; no help from authorities; inability to strike out on their own due to lack of financial independence, etc.
A friend who works as a human rights lawyer in Nigeria tells me it’s rough. She helps victims of gender based and domestic violence. Domestic violence is not only between a man and woman but from parents to children as well. Gender based violence can also exist outside the scope of domestic violence.
From her experience, help for women in these circumstances are limited. Law enforcement agencies nicely dodge such cases because it is regarded as “family matter”. Churches advice women to go and build their homes on account of the Bible being against divorce. Parents instruct their children to stay in marriage and endure.
There are different forms of abuse namely physical, emotional, psychological, verbal and emotional. She tells me that from her work so far, she can safely conclude that gender and domestic violence is largely fuelled by a culture of patriarchy. Also, environmental and social factors with regard to what one is exposed to during childhood plays a role. Others include psychological issues such as anger and then poverty. She further mentions that online groups now advocate for women to leave their marriages based on flimsy excuses, which she does not support.
I personally think no one should die in the hands of a partner for any reason. You need to acknowledge that a situation has become dangerous. My question for the menfolk is: where’s the love? You cannot kill someone you love. I’ve heard some men say the women provoke them with their mouth. I don’t believe that merits snuffing the life out of a human being.
Honestly, any man who tries that nonsense on me will get a frying pan flying across his face. I’m joking! But I may not be joking after all. If I’m pinned down and a frying pan is the closest item to me, I might just use it. Sorry.
More information on the activities of Women’s March Barcelona is available at: www.womensmarchbcn.org. Women in Nigeria seeking help in this regard can go to Project Alert: www.projectalertnig.org and International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), which is on FB as: www.facebook.com/fidanig/
What are your thoughts? What will you do in a volatile situation (both men and women as I learnt there’s also man battering)? How do we solve this problem or at least reduce it to the barest minimum? Enjoy and do have a great week!