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Intimate Patner Violence in Kumba Cameroon!

Kumba, Cameroon - Do you know who Van Persie is? I am told Van Persie Plays for Arsenal; He is a very good player; He is not violent; And most importantly, Van Persie will hardly or never leave the pitch no matter how badly he is injured. Then I came to understand why Nadege was nicknamed Van Persie.
Nadege is a beautiful girl living in Kumba, South West Region of Cameroon. She had a boyfriend whom she claims loves her to the fullest and on her part she loves him with all her heart. But there is hardly a week that Emmanuel does not bit her to point of blood. Either he suspects her with a guy, or she travelled without informing him (because he will obviouly stop her from travelling). It went to the point that she lost a tooth out of beating, but Nadege still remained the Van Persie of that relationship for the sake of love. She will never quit.
The irony here is that Nadege seem to be enjoying this violence against her inflicted by Emmanuel, her violent boyfriend.
“Sometimes I am to be blamed for the violence,” she says. “I do the things that he doesn’t like.”
I became very curious here and asked her to tell me some of the things that he [Emmanuel] doesn’t like.
Nadege told me that on one occasion she was supposed to attend her friend’s wedding in Douala, when she told Emmanuel, Emmanuel asked her not to make that travel. Against Emmanuel’s wish, Nadege travelled to Douala, on returning to Kumba, Emmanuel gave her the beating of her life; he broke her arm. She says he takes care of all her hospital bills all the same. I was only glad that he didn’t get to the point of paying all her mortuary and funeral bills.
“I was the cause here,” she says smiling. “I did not take to his orders and that is one of the things he hates.”
I became even more curious, and so I asked her to give me another instance where violence has escalated between her and her beloved boyfriend.
Nadege did not hesitate to tell me another story. Nadege says a friend of hers spotted her boyfriend with another girl going to his house. She immediately calls her boyfriend asking him where he was. Her boyfriend told her that he wasn’t in town. She insisted that he was in town and would love to see him. Emmanuel insisted that he was not in town. Nadege then told him that she was coming over to his house, Emmanuel warned her not to come over to his house.
“I insisted, I went right over to his house and started ringing the bell at the gate violently without ceasing,” Nadege says. “He came out in anger, opened the gate and dragged me to his house, and in the presence of his new girlfriend he beat me so badly that I lost one of my teeth.”
I shivered at the mere hearing of this story. I looked closely into his mouth and saw how the loss of one of her teeth on the front row of her mouth has affected her appearance; I saw how beauty faded at the loss of one tooth.
But then Nadege still admits that she was wrong, and that her friend who told her that she has seen Emmanuel with a girl is a very bad friend.
Like Socrates, I couldn’t stop asking her question. I tried to find out how often she receives beatings from her violent boyfriend. Nadege told me there is hardly a month that she doesn’t get beaten, sometimes a serious slap.
I imagined the degree of beating that Nadege has received in the hands of her boyfriend for 5 years (about 60months) that they dated. A relationship that she finally lost as she lost her tooth, to another girl.
According to the United Nations, the term "violence against women" means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.
The United Nations continue to say that, Violence against women is an obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of equality, development and peace. Violence against women both violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. The long-standing failure to protect and promote those rights and freedoms in the case of violence against women is a matter of concern to all States and should be addressed. Knowledge about its causes and consequences, as well as its incidence and measures to combat it, have been greatly expanded since the Nairobi Conference. In all societies, to a greater or lesser degree, women and girls are subjected to physical, sexual and psychological abuse that cuts across lines of income, class and culture. The low social and economic status of women can be both a cause and a consequence of violence against women.
However, the work of the International and national organizations and states become so difficult if women themselves do not see violence as a problem. Some women still think that a man has the right to beat a woman, because he is the head of the house, and the head of the woman as well. When the UN came up with the “Convention on the Elimination of Violence against Women,” it did not add a clause that justifies violence. The truth is “there is no justification for violence.”
The fight against violence has been a priority of governmental and nongovernmental organizations. In Cameroon the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and the Family is fighting hard to reduce and eradicate all forms of violence against women.
According to case file statistics I got from the Regional Delegation of the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment the Family - North West, Cameroon, intimate partner violence or domestic violence make up ¾ of the total cases received annually. And among these cases, it is always the men violating the women.
Cecilia Ngwene is working in the office of Family Well Being at the Regional Delegation of Women’s Empowerment and the Family – North West, Cameroon. She says every intimate partner violent action must have a cause.
“We must always try to diagnose the reason why the partner was violent to the other,” she says. “There is always a cause for violence. When the cause is identified, then the next step is to try to avoid those actions that provoke violence. If this is done, violence may be prevented.”
Brita Tamukong, is working in the office of Social Advancement of the Woman at the Regional Delegation of Women’s Empowerment and the Family - North West, Cameroon. She says she doesn’t condone with violence.
“If my husband beats me for the first time, I will forgive him after he apologises,” she says. “If he beats me for the second time, I will leave the house, while waiting for him to come and tender his apologies. If he does come and apologize I will go back home. If he beats me for the third time, behold, I will leave the house for a very long time, if possible leave the house for good.”
Vivian Epie, a widow, does not share the same opinion with Tamukong. She is working in the office of General Affairs at the Regional Delegation of Women’s Empowerment and the Family – North West, Cameroon. She thinks a man should prove his power and authority sometimes through violence.
“I was not happy with the way my husband treated me,” She reported nodding her head from side to side. “Sometimes I provoke him to shout at me, or even beat me, but he wouldn’t. My husband was too gentle to a point which I did not like. I needed him to shout at me and even spank me sometimes.”
Laughing, Epie said:
“He was a very good man anyways, I remember him all the time, I thank God that he wasn’t the violent husband that I wanted him to be.”
The truth is, Ladies, there is no justification for violence. Break the silence and report violence. Don’t wait until you lose your life before u speak out. For there is no ‘breaking of the silence’ in the grave. And remember, earning the name Van Persie may not fetch you the fame and income that the original Van Persie of Arsenal has gained for himself. You may just remain the direct opposite of the original Van Persie.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Heidi's picture

Never a Reason for Violence

Hi Nakinti,
Thank you for sharing these women's stories! There is never justification for violence and hopefully women like yourself and others in Cameroon can begin changing the idea that some violence is deserved. I find it so jarring that the woman Brita openly accepts being beaten perhaps once if her husband offers an apology yet works within a Women's Empowerment group at the same time. What kinds of resources exist for women to break the silence and report violence where you are? Have you stayed in contact with Nadege? You've done her a wonderful service in listening to and sharing her story.

Nakinti's picture

Thank you for reading!

Hello Heidi,
The issue of intimate partner violence is beyond understanding in Cameroon.
Do you know there is an ethnic group in Cameroon where women accept violence from their partners.
They do everything to provoke violence, and if they are not beaten it becomes a problem.
It is their culture and they love it.
This is because after the beating, their husband takes them out shopping as a sign of saying "I am sorry"....gosh.
It is just no problem to these women...
As for Nadege, i lost contact with her for a while now.
I am working on doing something on breaking the silence against violence against women.
Thanks again for the beautiful comment.

Nakinti B. Nofuru
2013 VOF Correspondent
Reporter for Global Press Institute
Bamenda - Cameroon

sarahrubin's picture


Thank you for sharing such specific stories and direct quotes from your experiences of being a friend and advocate for these women. The perspective you share with them is invaluable. They are used to the violence they experience and feel deserving of it making it impossible for them to imagine a relationship without this treatment, let alone feel they deserve better or have options. I hope for a way to get through to them which ends this cycle and finds a way for them to become a support system for one another where they can share their experiences while they discover examples of healthy relationships.

Warm regards,

Anita Muhanguzi's picture

Partner Violence

Dear Nakinti, Thank you for this interesting situation in Cameroon. You know in Uganda there is a similar belief that if your husband does not beat you then he does not love you. I strongly agree that there can never be any justification for violence against women however much it is provoked. There is a lot that needs to be done so that the culture is diluted otherwise women will be beaten to the point of death. Thank you for posting this story of violence against women in Cameroon.

Mrs. Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Head of Legal and Advocacy
Centre for Batwa Minorities
Skype: mrs_muhanguzi

Nakinti's picture

Thank you for reading!

Thank you for reading Anita.
We need to put up a loud voice to effect change.
Some women die out of ignorance, not that they really do admire the violence.
ADVOCACY; continuous sensitization may play the trick.
Wao, I couldn't imagine that Uganda shares a common custom.
Thanks for the information Anita.
Lets use our voices judiciously.
Lots of Love.

Nakinti B. Nofuru
2013 VOF Correspondent
Reporter for Global Press Institute
Bamenda - Cameroon

bronxesqmom's picture

Our Abused Sisters

Your are absolutely right. No one is ever justified in abusing his or her intimate partner. Having said that, we should all be mindful of judging our abused sisters. Many love their partners, but simply want the violence to stop. They may stay in, or return to, abusive relationships regardless of what we may think is best. So while we may know that there is never an excuse for violence, we have to remain supportive of our sisters who are still learning that truth for themselves. We have to continue support and stand with our abused sisters as we all work to end intimate partner violence.

Thank you Nakinti for sharing these stories with us.

Nakinti's picture

You are right my sister!

Bronxesqmom dear,
You are very right!
We need to stay supportive while we continue support our sisters who are already in the mess.
We should not judge, for you will never understand what your sister is going through unless you find yourself in her situation.
Lets continue to pray for all women.
Thanks dear for the kind and witty words.

Nakinti B. Nofuru
2013 VOF Correspondent
Reporter for Global Press Institute
Bamenda - Cameroon

missjenn's picture


Hi Nakinti,

I love your story, and I'm glad you shared this with us. It seems like there is a misconception that violence comes in one form - physical and direct. Even worse, if it's within a public sphere (domestic violence), violence is justified. This, of course, is completely untrue.

I read your comment on September 25th and it was really hard to fathom. But, I believe to the core that attitudes and customs can changed if enough people care to make that change.

Thanks again for your story.

Kind regards,


Nakinti's picture

True my dear!

Dear Jennifer,
We and only we can make the change.
These women are still locked up in some unrealistic culture, they need help in unlocking them
They can unlock themselves if people like us help them through the use of our voices.
They will then see a reason to detach themselves from this enslaved situation.
Thanks for reading my post Jenn
I am obviously happy to have you as my friend...request confirmed.

Nakinti B. Nofuru
2013 VOF Correspondent
Reporter for Global Press Institute
Bamenda - Cameroon

laurieariel's picture

partner violence

nakinti thanks alot for coming up with such a story and act which is highly practiced in our community but which evryone seems to ignore and consider normal.In our country today most women either marriedor in relationships suffer violence from thier partners and what raises questions in my mind is why these women decide to live insilence supporting these tortures......but with peolpe like you bring out stories about such acts i do beleive awareness is being created hence we all need to join hands to fight against this act.

Nakinti's picture

Lauriearieal dear, you have said.

My dear,
They say words can move mountains.
We need embark on an unending advocacy to sensitize women on this very pathetic situation that they find themselves in.
Some women do not even see it as a problem, they think it is normal.
I have vowed to raise my voice very hight. Let's join hands and fight this fight sister.

Nakinti B. Nofuru
2013 VOF Correspondent
Reporter for Global Press Institute
Bamenda - Cameroon

Ngekwi's picture

We Have To Keep Talking

Hello dear,
It is very painful to know that some of our fellow Cameroon women actually love to be beaten by their husbands in the name of love. I wonder when love and violence become such good and loyal friends.
Well, I hope Nadege steps out of that relationship for good.
Vivian Epie's feelings is just a representation of some of our women in Center Region of Cameroon. Sure they certainly believe that, if their husbands do not beat them up, then he does not love them. In most cases after a fight between these women and their husband, you will find out that the women defend and protect their husband. In most cases, they are the cause of the fight. To them, it symbolizes great love from the man.
Well, we really have to keep praying and continue talking, and believing that time should play its role where their beliefs will be deconstructed and true love without violence be given a chance to reigns.
Remain blessed

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