About two in five victims of domestic violence – also known as intimate partner violence — are men, says a study by Men’s Right Campaign Parity Group. But many men are scared of seeking help in cases of domestic violence because they fear it may make them look weak.

This is not to discredit the fact that women are badly hit by this violence in Nigeria. But the plight of men should not be ignored.

A research conducted in Ajegunle – a very populated area in the heart of Lagos — attributes widespread domestic violence to poverty. But the alleged killing of Bilyamin Bello – a business man and son of a prominent politician – by his wife seems to challenge some of the conclusions of the research published in iproject.com.ng.

Bello’s death is coming on the heels of many domestic abuse on men in Nigeria. On August 20, 2017 an auxiliary nurse, Folashade Idoko, reportedly stabbed her husband, Lawrence Idoko, to death. Neighbors alleged that the woman had abused her husband for years.

Domestic violence on men, as well as on women, could take various forms, including emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

In fact, you could be experiencing domestic violence when: (1) Your partner calls you names and puts you down (2) Unnecessarily prevents you from going to work or seeing family members and friends (3) Acts jealously and constantly accuses you of unfaithfulness (4) Tries to excessively control what you wear, how you spend your money and where you go (5) Threatens you with violent weapons, divorce or other issues (6) Forces you to engage in sexual acts against your will (7) Constantly blames you for his or her failures.

These abuses take a toll on a victim’s physical and emotional health. Apart from medical cost implications, there are also issues of productivity. For instance, a harassing phone call received from a partner at work could result in loss of productivity that day at work.

There are laws to deal with domestic violence, but in many occasions they are poorly implemented in less developed countries.

So, apart from developing strategies to cope with domestic violence, it is important to encourage your partner to see a physiatrist or a counselor if you suspect signs of domestic violence. (A research conducted by academics in John Hopkin University and Michigan State University reported that many women with abusive partners got strength as a result of their spirituality and their trust in God).

Actually, domestic violence is a serious public health problem and it is associated with physical and mental health morbidity. It is common in psychiatric patients and often underdectected.

It is high time the government takes up this issue. Health workers need to be trained on how to evaluate and deal with mental health issues associated with domestic violence, which is now growing astronomically in Nigeria.

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