From the conducted survey and question posed “Nigerian women experience more emotional abuse than physical abuse”. Contrary to my expectations and based on some points stated in the previous post, I expected a different response. However, 78 people agreed that this is the case, whilst 22 people disagreed. This implies a significant number of Nigerian women believe they experience more emotional than physical abuse, which should be a cause for concern.
Physical abuse is obvious as the evidence is seen in the bruises, wounds, swellings and sometimes blood inflicted on the body which is detrimental to both the physical and mental health of the victim. Nevertheless, as detrimental as emotional abuse is, physical abuse dealt is deadlier and could lead to death.
Emotional abuse is not as obvious as physical abuse as it only affects the mind and unlike physical abuse, its scars are not seen, and the victims are often not aware they are being abused. Emotional abuse is a deliberate attempt at maltreating people, which could be a child or an adult. It could also be “a controlling or coercive behavior towards an individual in an intimate or family relationship”. Emotional abuse could happen between couples, partners, parents and children, friends among others. It could lead to chronic depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other health issues. Emotional abuse exhibits itself in several ways and its signs are not exclusive to a relationship or marriage. Thus, it’s not a one size fits all for all relationships. If you experience some or all of these signs, you could be in an emotionally abusive relationship.
This exhibits itself when an individual shout, acts aggressively or engages in actions that terrify someone. It could be a friend or partner. Examples are name-calling, isolation, intimidation, gaslighting among others. Bullying in the Nigerian scenario could be limiting the partner’s movement, for instance, stopping them from visiting family members and friends and vice-versa, confining them within the four walls of the house, controlling their dressing among others.
This is the situation in some families, as the husband withholds financial capability from the partner such as money, credit/debit cards, preventing them from getting a job or building a career and relegating them to stay-at-home mothers. Thus, they cannot make informed financial decisions. This does not imply that all stay-at-home mothers are emotionally or financially abused, however, it could be one of the signs of being emotionally abused.
Other behaviors are:
- Punishments and threats of punishments
- Lack of respect for privacy
- Dismissal of feelings
- Invalidation of opinions
One of the traits of abuse, in general, is its recurrence. The name-calling, yelling, gaslighting happen the first time, should be addressed, otherwise, they become recurrent. If they happen, which leads to the loss of self-esteem and sometimes, a cycle- emotional abuse to physical abuse.
Thus, to frontally tackle these two evils, here are some helpful tips: (Recommendations to tackle physical abuse can be found in the first episode of this series).
- Set boundaries: regardless of the situation, relationship/friendship ensure there is mutual respect.
- Address it the first time it happens to avoid a reoccurrence.
- Involve a third party if there are no changes to settle the differences and finally
- Seek counseling or therapy