25 Causes of Domestic Violence

In a post that I read recently online, a woman warned her fellow women to be properly and decently dressed in order to avoid being raped but you can imagine the kind of comments/abuses that followed her admonition. Maybe in ancient times, it was a defence for a rapist to blame his victim's provocative dressing for raping her; it's no longer so in modern time. While I don’t support indecent or suggestive dressings by females, I also don’t see myself associating with any man who rapes any woman or girl under any circumstances. When a woman or girl says no to sexual intercourse, her no must be taken as no. No consent, no sex. And so, when I decided to examine causes of domestic violence (DV), I'm fully aware that there is no justification for DV under any circumstances. I know that issues around DV have come under focus in recent times and I also wish to contribute to the discourse by examining the causes so as to enlighten readers as well as learn personally through comments that may follow. I'm also of the opinion that a discussion of the causes of DV will help those who are single to watch out before formalising that marital relationship and also assist the married to prevent DV in their matrimonial unions. Remember, prevention is better than cure. Divorce or separation appears like a cure but it's better to avoid DV in the first place.

Personally, I've been married for eight years and I've had countless arguments and misunderstandings with my wife but it has never happened that a third party will intervene due to noise generated by our voices or by our physical combat. Even our children have never seen us shouting on each other. I have never beaten her and she has never beaten me either. This is possible because God helped and He is still helping my determination never to beat her. As for her, she may never be able to beat me because of my intimidating stature beside hers.

Before proceeding further, what's DV? I got these two definitions online and I shall quote and adopt them as my understanding of DV in this brief write-up.

1. "Domestic violence is the wilful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behaviour as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another."

2. DV is the "violent or aggressive behaviour within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner."

While some men erroneously believe that they possess the right to beat their wives if they misbehave, some others abuse their spouses by what they say, showing no respect or decorum. DV is not limited to beating; it could also be committed by degrading remarks about a spouse and this is known as verbal abuse and from the definitions quoted above, you'll agree that verbal abuse is also DV. For instance, if a spouse continually abuses the other spouse because of his/her infertility, joblessness or impecuniousness. Such can be psychologically and mentally traumatising.

It should also be stated that either male or female can be a victim of DV, though females are more often than not the victims. It therefore follows that as a man can be a perpetrator of DV so also is a woman. In fact, the law against DV is gender neutral. At the Federal level, it's called Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act. Note - not only against women but against all persons!

We must have heard about women who assaulted and even in some cases killed their husbands. I'm also aware that most times when a woman commits DV, it's reactionary, meaning that she must have been a silent victim of DV for some time. Many women suffer DV in silence because they don't want to face the judgmental attitude of the society by publicly exposing their abusive husbands. For me, it is better to speak out than allowing yourself to be killed prematurely or to become a murderer of somebody who has "killed" you over and again in the past. Murder is a capital offence which attracts a death penalty, if an offender is found guilty. Persons accused of murder are usually don't get released on bail in Nigeria, and while the trial is on-going which may last 3 or 4 years in court, the perpetrator will remain in prison custody. Nigerian prisons are not designed for human beings. So, try never to go there.

So what causes DV? I have tried to compile a list of predisposing factors here but they are by no means exhaustive. I have arrived at this list by dwelling on my experience as a Legal Practitioner, a writer, researcher, and a family man.

1. Incompatibility
2. Differences in social background and educational achievement
3. Intrusion of In-Laws
4. Children/Sex of Children/Disability of any Child
5. Financial Issues
6. Friends
7. Infidelity
8. Childlessness
9. Addiction to Social Media and Phones
10. Joint Property
11. Joblessness/Work
12. Ego/Pride
13. Division of Roles/Responsibilities
14. Lack of Trust
15. Irresponsibility
16. Drunkenness/Drug Abuse
17. Deception
18. Excessive Materialism
19. Neighbours
20. Personality/Psychological Disorder
21. Traditional Beliefs
22. Violent Upbringing
23. Extreme Jealousy/Possessiveness
24. Religion/Religious Differences
25. Sex

Feel free to use the comment tool below to add more causes. Thanks.

Written by Kehinde ADEGBITE Esq (LL.M., BL.)