Recently, there has been many cases of women stabbing their husbands to death in Nigeria. One of the most recent incidents (which shocked the nation by the way), involved the late son of former PDP’s national chairman, Haliru Bello. The young man was stabbed several times and killed by his wife [Maryam Sanda] after she suspected he was cheating on her. In the aftermath of the unfortunate incident, many observers took to Social Media to blame it all on feminism. Perhaps the situation does not look very good for the feminist movement in Nigeria after all. But that notwithstanding, it is important to first critically examine these developments before casting aspersions. This way, we can all have better-informed perspectives on the issue.
The known Cases…
Back in early 2016, an Ibadan-based female lawyer by the name Yewande Oyediran stabbed and killed her husband. The incident sparked a national debate about domestic violence, especially as it affects men. Most Social Media commentators also painted a very brutal picture of Yewande, calling her an entitled, control freak who took the laws into her own hands and killed her unfortunate husband because she believed she could get away with it. Mind you, none of those commentating on Facebook knew the truth as to what was really going on in the couple’s home. All that was known for sure was that a man was stabbed to death; allegedly so by his wife. The woman was eventually sued to court. And after a protracted litigation process, she was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to a seven year jail term.
Yewande’s case is one of the high profile incidents of women who killed their husbands in Nigeria. Another example is Maryam Sanda (the daughter of some high profile government officials) who stabbed and killed her husband in November. Unfortunately, there are several more of such cases which involve lesser known individuals, and as such hardly given the much needed media attention. A typical case in view is that of a girl in Egbeda Lagos who stabbed and killed her boyfriend earlier this year. Back in late December 2016, one Mrs Romanus Odo killed her husband with a kitchen knife because he had failed to provide money for Christmas dinner.
The most recent case of domestic violence against men in Nigeria happened barely a week ago. A woman in Northern Nigeria was reported to have stabbed her husband with a broken bottle for reasons that are yet to be known. Luckily enough, the victim survived this time around and is currently in a stable condition at a hospital.
It is important to note that without any form of equivocation, all of these cases are very unfortunate. I do not condone them, and I sure hope nobody does.
One thing is peculiar to all these cases, asides the fact that they are all about women killing their husbands. The public was ever quick to speak out and judge the women, perhaps a little too loudly than they ever do when men beat up and kill their wives. They blame feminism for all these senseless violence. I can safely estimate that nearly eighty percent of commenters on across all the Social Media platforms where the news trended (especially Facebook) blamed feminism for the violence. They said things like “feminism empowered them to defend their rights”, “Feminism is destroying Nigerian homes and Nigerian men”.
While I understand the need to rant and blame someone/something for such unfortunate incidents, I must point out that it is wrong to generally a movement of something that it is not guilty of. That said, I do not think feminism is to be blamed for all the violence against men that have happened across the country of recent. The reason is simple- feminism does not advocate violence. Instead, feminism advocates equality of the sexes. This is the very reason why it’s been severely attacked for centuries and across cultures; attacked by the deeply-rooted patriarchal values of societies.
It is important to bear in mind that men have been battering and killing their wives in this country since time immemorial. Violence against women has become such a norm in our society; perhaps the very reason why it hardly ever makes the news when it does happen. On the other hand, it is quite unusual for a woman to be the villain in a case of domestic violence. Culturally, it is expected of her to be the victim! But just as the truism goes, change in the most constant thing in life. This is the very reason why it should not be much of a surprise to people when women decide to defend themselves every now and then.
Now do not get me wrong; I am not in support of women who kill their husbands. As a matter of fact, I am not in support of any form of violence at all. However, one thing I am bent on making clear is that feminism shouldn’t be blamed for the senseless violence of those women who have killed their husbands. And even though the incidents may somehow mean bad business for feminism (no thanks to the utter ignorance of some people), the criticisms most definitely will not mean the end of it.
Let us all shun all forms of domestic violence.