An NGO, the Joint Legal Action Aid,(JLAA) has raised alarm about the plight and continuing detention of a woman at the Kirikiri Female Prison for allegedly killing her husband, an allegation which the NGO decried as false and persecutory”.
According to the General Counsel of the JLAA, Barrister Kingsley Ughe, “We were in Kirikiri Female Prison ostensibly on Prison visitation and part of our Project 1000, which is to release 1000 prisoners before half of the year.”
“Then we met her. No. We didn’t stumbled into her. she was brought to us by sympathetic prison officials. Her name is Joy Joseph, tall ,beautiful with a face that could have passed any beauty contest.”
She is of Akwa Ibom extraction. She was married and living with her husband somewhere at Oke- Iranla, Idiroko area of Ajah. At 29, she has already seen it all; a victim of the most dehumanising mind boggling domestic violence of the type I have never seen in my almost twenty years career as a lawyer.
Her husband was a serial wife batterer and abuser. She got caught in a trap of catering to him, trying to fill a bottomless pit. But he was not needy. He carried on as one entitled. So no matter how much she gave him, it was never enough. He just kept coming up with more demands because he believed his needs were her responsibility, until she felt drained down to nothing.
He would not have sex with her except after a thorough round of beating and battering. The aftermath of the violence seemed to enhance his erection and stiffen his male essence. She would be battered, tied down and repeatedly abused and sexually violated by a man she ordinarily would have willingly given her self to. Yet he was her husband.
She has no family to run to in Lagos here and of course no friends to confide in. Prior to the incident that led to her imprisonment, she lost two teeth to his orgies of violence.
Events got to a head when he returned home on this fateful night. He was hormonal, obviously aroused and perhaps drunk yet again. His eyes flashed continually. It was a tell tale sign of a looming violence sequel to a depraved violent sex orgy. She tried to be calm and attended to him in terror and trepidation to avoid the violence and rape. But alas, it was too late.
At the flimsiest of excuses, he pounced on her. Gave her a heart wrenching beating. He dragged her to the bedroom and made to violate her again. This time she resisted and fled the house. It was late. She left her children and ran away. When she returned home the next morning, she found her abusive husband dead inside his room.
The response of the Nigeria Police was predictable. She was arrested, subjected to further dehumanization and subsequently taken to Magistrate Court 14, Oyingbo, Ebute Meta , Lagos. The Magistrate ordered her detention awaiting a DPP advise that may not come in years.
So Joy Joseph is a prisoner, serially raped, violated and abused by a man she loved and betrayed by a society to whom she had turned to for help. The whole thing becomes like this evil enchantment from a fairy tale, and it is even worse because Joy Joseph is made to believe the spell can never be broken.
Something is wrong with our world, our society. I am appalled that in practice the standard for what constitutes rape and abuse is set not at the level of women’s experience of violation but just above the level of coercion acceptable to men.
And the question I ask you all today is ;
Shouldn’t there be more distaste in our mouths for the abusers and for those who continue to to show cold indifference to cases such as these?
JLAA intends to step right into the heart of this matter. We call for support and assistance in this particular case. Our resources are sadly depleted.
You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up. A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.
You can only criticise when you have a heart to help and reach out to the broken, the deprived, the abused, the violated and those locked up away in their dark lonely cells.