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.