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Upcoming Event…
Violence in Our Homes: Tackling the Rising Incidence of Spousal Murders, and Abuse of Domestic Servants
Sat, 10th Dec 2022 -- Wed, 14th Dec 2022

The gathering will be at DRACC Enugu.

Enugu Workshop Concept Notes

Violence in Our Homes: Tackling the Rising Incidence of Spousal Murders, and Abuse of Domestic Servants

Background

The alarming escalation of violence in our homes, including spousal murders, and the inhumane treatment of domestic servants has raised serious concerns that calls for urgent action. An examination of the issue paints a picture of war on the integrity and wholeness of the family, and a blatant violation with impunity, of the rights and dignity of domestic servants especially the girlchild.

While domestic dispute is not new, the incidence of violent disputes over trivial things such as the texture of pap[1], leading to spousal murders is increasing at an alarming rate in Nigeria. The April 30, 2022, news by Sahara Reporters[2] citing data compiled by the Daily Trust shows that in the fifteen months preceding March 2022, there were officially reported cases of forty-nine spousal murders. Of the forty-nine murders, thirty-five were committed by husbands and fourteen by wives. The actual number is much higher, since many, especially those in the rural areas go unreported, and some die from the injuries they sustained after time lapse from the violent attacks. Far higher and in the hundreds, are the number of spouses beaten to near death or receiving long lasting physical and psychological injuries from violent attacks.

Regarding ‘house-help’ or ‘domestic servant’ – male and female, acquiring domestic helpers is a widespread practice among the middle- and upper-class families in Nigeria. These servants are metaphorically invisible, tucked away in private homes, unseen by others, and subjected to long hours of labor without break; cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, running errands, taking care of children, preparing children for school, and waiting on them for whatever they may need.

Many domestic servants are subjected to working about eighteen hours a day, and a considerable number are not allowed to eat the ‘prime’ part of the food served to family members. They are deprived of basic education and are often subjected to mistreatment including sexual abuse especially of female domestic servants.

In general, domestic servants are not forcefully ‘recruited.’ Yet a close examination of the recruitment process, shows that it is marred by deceitful promises of education, and a better life, put forward by recruiters as incentives that allow parents or guardians to give their children as domestic servants. This deceitful process, which is tantamount to human trafficking in many cases, affects children from poor homes, children who have lost a parent, or children who are orphans.

The abuse of domestic servants has long-term consequences not only for the abused, but also for children growing up in such families among which are that:

  1. It generates in the children growing up in such homes, a culture of violence and violations of the rights of others.
  2. Children growing up in such homes, see abuse as a normal way of life, as how things are or how things are supposed to be.
  3. The ill-treatment of female domestic servants influences the perception of, and the rights of women overall. Boys growing up in such homes are socialized into believing that one can treat a woman anyhow, that she is there at their disposal, and even expendable.

Violence in the homes and ill treatment of domestic servants have an overall negative impact on the family, which the Second Vatican Council describes as the domestic Church. As the most basic unit of any society or nation, the ‘health’ of the family and of individuals in the family is crucial for the overall health of a nation. The collapse of the family, and values associated with a healthy home directly impacts the health of a nation, as captured in the Ghanian proverb “The ruin of a nation begins in the homes of its people.”

Project Goals

To address this urgent situation, Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN) Washington DC, AFJN Nigeria, and Dominicans for Justice and Peace (DJP) in collaboration with the Justice, Peace, and Development Commission (JDPC) of Enugu Diocese plan to bring stakeholders together for a four-day formation and mobilize them to address the issues of violence in our homes and the consequences this has on the lives of individuals, families, faith communities, and our society. The gathering is aimed at the formation of a core group of fifty participants with leadership roles in the community, comprising twenty religious, ten men, ten women, and ten youths, and equipping them with basic skills to tackle this issue. Following their formation, the core group is expected to mobilize and engage others in tackling this issue.

Implementation

The training of the core group is scheduled for the second week of December 2022 such that it includes a weekend. The reason beginning at a weekend is allow for maximum participation, and to avoid the possibility of preventing the travel of participants by a Monday / Tuesday “stay at home” order.

More specifically, the schedule is as follows:

  • Arrival on Saturday 10th December 2022, and
  • Departure on Wednesday 14th December 2022
  • Venue is the Daughters of Divine Love Retreat and Conference Center (DRACC) Enugu

Expected Outcome

Participants, having been equipped with basic skills to address violence in the homes, are expected to:

  • mentor people in their communities,
  • serve as advocates for abused victims,
  • educate others on the benefits of build peaceful homes and
  • uphold and defend the rights and dignity of domestic servants.

 

 

Footnotes

  1. ^ Domestic Servitude and Gender Based Violence in Nigeria - Meeting of Minds — Meeting of Minds (meetingofmindsuk.uk) retrieved October 3, 2022
  2. ^ 49 Husbands, Wives Killed By Spouses In 15 Months As Domestic Violence Rises In Nigeria | Sahara Reporters - retrieved October 3, 2022

 


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