By Deborah Akpede
Two Lagos-based lawyers, Mrs Kemi Ojo and Mrs Comfort Daniel, on Tuesday simultaneously urged spouses not to remain in abusive marriages to avoid untimely death.
The lawyers who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) enjoined spouses, male or female, in abusive relationships to run for dear life.
Ojo, for instance, urged victims of domestic violence not to become sacrificial lambs, adding that marriages are not worth life.
“Both men and women are culprits of domestic abuse. Do not allow anybody to terminate your destiny; walk out of a life-threatening relationship.
“Nobody should die while trying to make marriage work; if you discover you are married to a beast, run for your life,
“I’m not encouraging separation or divorce but I just want to save lives,’’ she said.
Ojo noted that religion had made some spouses to remain in abusive marriages for fear of being castigated and ostracised.
“Some clerics will tell you if you can’t hold your marriage you have failed God.
“In order not to be termed a failure, disqualified, banned or relegated, such persons keep enduring beatings and continue to put up fake smiles.
“Sometimes, we abuse the slogan `for better for worse’; this slogan should be considered in health and financial situations and not in abuse.
“It is your responsibility to make decisions for yourself by removing yourself from the toxic marriage; no pastor will force you to stay in a marriage when you have made up your mind to leave.
“You are the one feeling the pains and not the cleric; sometimes brief separation could be the remedy to abusive relationships.
“Prayer points may not change a partner who already signed with the devil to torment your life,’’ she stressed.
Ojo, who is also a marriage counsellor, blamed the society for victims’ refusal to leave abusive relationships.
“The society is not helping issues at all as it keeps judging and condemning people who leave their marriages, tagging them single parents.
“Consideration about tongue-wagging by friends, family members and neighbours has kept a lot of women in bondage.
“I wonder how someone whose life is in danger cares about what the society says. Save your life first; your life is not negotiable,’’ she admonished.
In a separate interview, Daniel, admonished women in abusive marriages to flee before losing their lives.
“Women are oftentimes the victims of abuse and should know the limit they can endure in cancerous marriages.
“If the man is not ready to change but is rather getting worse then separate, even if it involves going back to your parents’ house; do it,’’ she said.
The lawyer also told NAN that since marriage is not a do-or-die affair; spouses should part ways when physical abuse takes center stage.
She urged parents, especially in parts of the country that hold cultures sacrosanct to change their ways.
She explained that those who believe that once a lady gets married, she could no longer return to her parents’ house should have a rethink.
“Always give your daughter a coming back chance. It’s always better for your daughters to return alive than to return as corpses,’’ she advised.
Daniel also advised victims to report cases of abuse to the police who have the power and authority to protect them from further abuse.
She urged the public to be their brothers’ and sisters’ keepers by speaking up about spouses going through torture or abuse in the hands of their partners.
The legal practitioner noted also that while economic downturn should not cause domestic violence, it could trigger it.
“Factors associated with a bad economy such as job losses, housing, debt, and other factors contribute to higher stress levels at home, which can lead to increased violence,’’ she noted.
Daniel stressed that violence in marriages required the attention of faith-based organisations, families and governments. (NAN)