On the 26th of February, 2017, Grace, a thirty six year-old mother of 2 children( a boy and a girl)received a call from her husband, Ernest, a business man who spends most of the year working outside the country.
Ernest sent a menacing text message to Grace that if he came back home and met her in the house, he would send her back to her parents in a body bag. Bearing in mind Ernest’s ferocious temper and how he has been beating her for years, Grace left the house and went straight to the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team to file an urgent complaint about the threats and beating suffered at Ernest’s hands. In her words’ I fear for my life… help me’ ! She was informed that Ernest’s actions were criminal and contrary to the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011 and the Prevention Against Domestic 2007
A DSVRT Survivor Advocate accompanied Grace to the Family Support Unit at one of our partner police stations. An email was also sent to Ernest, informing him that Government is aware of his threats. When Ernest returned to the country, he continued the threats and harassment. He was arrested by the police and held in custody. Ernest was eventually let go but police men were deployed to protect Grace at their home. Despite the presence of police men in the perimeter of the house, Ernest still continued to threaten Grace. He was arrested and detained again. Unfortunately Grace didn’t want the criminal aspect of Domestic Violence to be charged to court, she however wanted a restarting order against him. An application was swiftly made to the Lagos State Family Court.
Had Grace not reported to DSVRT, Ernest may have acted on his threats and she may have ended up dead. DSVRT has also referred Grace and her 2 children to receive psycho social therapy(professional Counselling) especially as their son, who is 8 years old has become very aggressive whilst their daughter, aged 13 years old has become withdrawn and a shadow of herself. Grace has also decided that it is time to walk away from the abusive relationship,as such she has been linked up with a public interest lawyer to assist her in filing for judicial separation.
Abuse does not stop unless checked. Rather, it escalates. Domestic violence is more than physical violence. It also includes emotional abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, economic abuse, deprivation among others. DSVRT provides a holistic response to RAPE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, CHILD ABUSE, MALTREATMENT &NEGLECT.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse in any form from a partner, relative,or anybody you have a domestic connection with, please call DSVRT on 0813-796-0048 or Lagos State Toll free line- 112 for help. You can also tweet at the team’s handle @dsvrt or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit the website- www.dsvrtlagos.org to receive vital information.
Remember: You can rise above domestic violence and attain a better life.