Wife Beating: Ill-treatment or Discipline?

Since October began, it's been one wedding ceremony to the other; first it was Tayo and Kunle (my platoon members and fellowship members in Imo (NYSC)); then it was Desola and Emmanuel (one of them is my church member). I pray God will bless and keep both unions.

Now to the question of the day: Is wife beating right or wrong? I want y'all to be the judge. Is it acceptable to beat ones wife no matter what she has done? Is it an act of discipline or an act of ridicule?

Throughout history unlucky women have been subjected to the whims and brutality of their husbands. The colloquial phrase "rule of thumb" is supposedly derived from the ancient right of a husband to discipline his wife with a rod "no thicker than his thumb." Some religion even permit it - while browsing through the internet, I found many articles on how to beat your wife (http://atheism.about.com/b/2004/04/02/how-to-beat-your-wife.htm; http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/HowTo:Beat_your_wife) and it made me wonder if it is really permissible.

In Nigeria, the statistics are enormous - we find a lot of homes experience domestic violence and most times the woman (or wife) is at the receiving end. I want to believe that this is stemming from the mentality that men, as the head of the family, have the right to put their homes in 'order' even if it includes beating to straighten up things.

And most these victimised women, who are sometimes beaten to death or to the point of landing in hospitals, often endure because they want to 'keep their marriages' or because of their children. This category of women even deny ever being abused (or beaten) for fear of being beaten again, to pretend as if their marriages have no itches or to protect the image of their husbands (especially when the man in question is perceived to be a person of great reputation in the public).

Most surprisingly, the wife is not the only one that will be affected. The children and even some family members get on the affective side too - either physically or emotionally.

In South Hadley, United States of America (US), Barbara, 30, a middle-class housewife, was first beaten by her husband when she was pregnant. Last summer Barbara's husband hurled a dinner plate across the kitchen at her. His aim was off. The plate shattered against the wall and a piece of it struck their four-year-old daughter in the face, blinding the child in one eye.

In Miami (US), Diane, 27, a receptionist, said she married "a real nice guy," a Dr. Jekyll who turned into Mr. Hyde a week after the wedding. "Being married to this man was like being a prisoner of war. I was not allowed to visit my family. I couldn't go out on my own. He wouldn't even let me cry. If I did, it started an 'episode.' "

Some of these women act in self-defence. They fight back and in return, the whole thing often gets bloody and messy. In this case, some of these women gets killed in the process as they are perceived as disrespectful by their partners - and that invariably wounds the ego of the man in question.

This case of marital abuse has been going on for years, and will no doubt continue even amongst the unborn generation.

Sometime last year, I boarded a bus to the office. While we were in a rush to enter the bus (because that was the only bus available at the park), I stepped on a man by mistake. After we had settled down in the bus, he raised the issue, and I told him I was sorry, but that such situations were inevitable, given the circumstances with which we boarded the bus. Before I knew what was happening, he had removed his belt and threatened to beat me if I ever say that again. I was so surprised and furious that I wanted to continue talking, but the people in the bus told me to stop, just to avoid his troubles and embarrassment. Till we got to the park in Ikeja, he didn't stop talking and threatening, that I was so sure his wife cannot mess around with him.

The questions are: Is this act that of discipline or maltreatment? Should this act continue? Should these women die in silence? If it is wrong, what can be done to curb it?

Oh, she can't fight back because she's weak. She was created with delicate features - soft, meek, gentle and small. Those delicate features are made so she will be able to carry another human being for the duration of 9 months or more; and if treated badly, could be damaged and irreparable. The pains of 9 months and that of the labour room are enough already - adding to those can be traumatising. The endurance of breastfeeding and the thinness it will bring to her shape is more than she can bear. She is not like a man whose bodily features are solid and strong - as hard as a rock. Her parts of body are so soft and subtle that they cannot stand punches.

Although she nags - yes she does so, because she's created to be highly emotional. That explains why she is the first to dance and jump in times of jubilation; she has the heart and time to care for the household; she understands; she hurts easily and cries often.

God, in His words, made me understand that when a man is joined (married) to his wife, both of them are no longer two, but ONE flesh. That maths is a mystery we can't unravel. And with it, I can simply point out that when a man beats his wife, he is beating himself. If the beating results to sickness, then the man too is sick; if death, then the man too is dead (maybe not physically, but emotionally, spiritually, etc). Because his wife is not a separate entity - she was taken out of the man. Both of them are one. But do these wife beaters have an understanding this?

In another place, God likened marriage between a man and woman to union between Christ and the church. Now, if the only way to correct a woman is to beat her, why has Christ not been beating or abusing the church?

I am of the school of thought that believes in correcting with love and not with violence. If God had wanted the man to use violence, he wouldn't have described the woman as a weaker vessel. It is saddening that this act is becoming so rampant. I so wish, all men can think of this - no matter how horrible a woman can be or turn into; there is only one way to get to this world, and it is through a woman's belly. That alone is enough for a man to not lift his hands no matter what his wife (or any woman at that) has done.

I didn't write this because I am a woman. If I was a man, I'd have written the same. My bottom line is no human being deserves to be abused physically or emotionally. A woman should be cautious of how she talks to her husband during misunderstandings and she should, most importantly know when to stop and how to say 'I'm sorry' no matter who is wrong. That's the way to be at peace... And a man should learn ways of correcting the woman, other than beating (or sexual abuse).

God will keep our marriages...I still await your responses and opinions, however.



  1. Hi Bukky,

    Thank you once again for raising this issue...it's very very important this time.

    I think for whatever reason, it's absolutely ridiculous, perfidious, primitive, barbaric, cannibalistic, ludicrous and unacceptable in this space age to attempt to beat a lady, you wive or a woman talk less of battering her.

    Doing that amounts to you breaching your initial oath, promise and covenant that you'll always protect her physically and emotionally.

    Really I pray....that may God Almighty save our marriages today!

  2. Hey Adeola,

    I quite agree with you. And amen to your prayer. I pray these wife beaters will come to their senses and stop the barbaric act.

    Thanks always


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