TRIGGER WARNING: The following post deals with topics such as death, domestic violence, and abuse
If you enjoy African gospel music like me, you may have heard of the passing of Osinachi Nwachukwu. She lost her life last month, allegedly dying from domestic violence at the young age of 42. Osinachi was known for her gospel song Ekwueme. Initial reports gave other reasons for her death, but as more information became available to Nigeria and the world, it was alleged that her abusive relationship is why she passed on. Although her death is quite sad and tragic, as it is a celebrity death, it has given attention to abuse in Africa and the African diaspora.
Abuse is serious and deadly. It can take a toll on a person physically, mentally, and emotionally. It was not too long ago that Nigeria opened its first women’s shelter. Over the years, talking about domestic violence has become less taboo in African committees so much so that domestic abuse against men has also been portrayed in popular African cinema.
“Why didn’t she leave?” “Why didn’t she fight back?” These are often comments we hear about when the suffering of domestic violence victims is brought to public knowledge. Typically, interpersonal abuse functions in a cycle that includes a honeymoon or reconciliation stage (where the abuser makes up with the victim and creates a seemingly loving safe space) which allows it to perpetuate. Abuse does not exist between husband and wife but also between siblings, parent, and child, employer and employee, citizen, and government.
5 Things to Remember About Domestic Violence:
1. Domestic violence is not only physical. Verbal, financial, and emotional abuse are also a part of domestic violence. This includes isolation, financial manipulation, and cursing. The perpetrator uses these tactics to gain control.
2. Domestic violence can lead to death.
3. Men are also victims of domestic violence. Racialized men, especially Black men find it very hard to find the help they need in these situations. This is given the fact that Black men are seen by society as perpetrators of violence. More resources are centered around female and child survivors of domestic violence.
4. Indigenous women in Canada are a minority but account for 21% of women who were killed by their partner between the years 2014 and 2019. At the beginning of the pandemic, it was noted that of 53 women in Canada who were killed by their partners, 11 of them were indigenous. More work must be done in racialized communities to normalize speaking about abuse in safe spaces.
5. You can help a victim. By offering love and understanding alone, you can help someone experiencing this and while you may not be able to rescue them, you might plant a seed for change.
“The effects of abuse are devastating and far-reaching. Domestic violence speaks many languages, has many colours, and lives in many different communities.” – Sandra Pupatello
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