LAGOS – It is estimated that one billion women will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetime. According to Care International, gender-based violence kills and disables as many women, aged 15-44 as cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined. These statistics are as alarming as they are saddening, one the International Day for Domestic Violence against Women and Children annually spotlights, and one Nomthi Odukoya intends to help confront with her new book entitled Help! They are Fighting Again.
According to UNICEF “Some of the biggest victims of domestic violence are the smallest.” And it is this small, but all important group, Nomthi Odukoya’s Help! They are Fighting Again turns its gaze on. The book, written in clear, uncluttered prose with clever visual aids, helps affected children make sense of violent disagreements, at all levels, between parents, and positions them to respond appropriately.
It is estimated that as many as 275 million children worldwide are exposed to domestic violence in the home.
Studies show that children who are exposed to violence in the home may have learning difficulty and limited social skills, exhibit violent, risky or delinquent behaviour, or suffer from depression or severe anxiety. Also, children in their earliest years of life are particularly vulnerable. A 2010 WHO report shows a common link between domestic violence and child abuse. Among victims of child abuse, 40 per cent report domestic violence in the home.
It is perhaps against this backdrop that Pastor Nomthi’s new book demonstrates its importance, particularly in a society short of statistics, given to a culture of silence, and plagued with too many issues to be able to treat this salient one with the urgency and care it deserves.
The book keeps to the tradition of Nomthi Odukoya’s two previous offerings, No Don’t Touch Me There, which focused on preventing child sexual abuse and a Bully is Not a Hero, a book that addressed the epidemic of bullying amongst children.
Nomthi Odukoya, who is a pastor at The Fountain of Life Church and wife of Senior Pastor, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, is the founder of FundaWazi Foundation, a non-profit with a mission to provide child-friendly and relevant resources and tools that will assist children and adults to “learn and know” how to address social challenges affecting children.
According to Pastor Nomthi, children are very attentive, observant and sensitive to their environment. The home should therefore be the first place they experience love and joy as these are vital for their overall development.
However, in some unfortunate circumstances, some children are exposed to domestic violence. This affects their emotional and psychological well-being, and the consequences sometimes extend into their future.
While women are more commonly victimised, men are also abused—especially verbally, emotionally, and sometimes physically. The bottom line is that the children, who witness their parents fight regularly, get traumatised and this affects them.
This book is therefore written to equip children who find themselves in this helpless situation with the necessary tools to cope with violence in their home. It also encourages children who are not experiencing domestic violence to support those who are.