i know, i've been avoiding the blogosphere for a while, but with good reason - reasons that i don't care to explain here. I apologize for the continued silence. I have a backlog of possible blog topics, so please excuse me if rehash something you've discussed weeks past.
few weeks ago, we all of the Nigerian diaspora within the United States shivered at the news of the cold-hearted Minnesota murder that silenced Mrs. Anthonia Iheme, 28, by her husband, Mr. Michael C. Iheme. Shortly after the murder, Mr. Iheme dialed 911 stating that he has "killed the woman that messed [his] life up." Bail has been sent at $1 million dollars and Mrs. Anthonia leaves behind and four-year-old son and three-year-old daughter.
unfortunately, the Iheme murder is part of a growing trend of spousal homicide, particularly of women, amongst Nigerian immigrants in the United States. First let me point out that Nigerians are not the only perpetrators of such acts - remember, the number one killer of pregnant women in the United States is homicide - usually by their husbands or significant others. However, incidents such as this, this, and this within recent memory should warrant some introspection amongst our people everywhere, particularly the United States.
earlier this week, I shared the details of this story with my hair dresser, a recent Nigerian immigrant. Of course, she like all others with a pulse, found this story to be horrifying. She wondered what the woman did to warrant such punishment.
why should the first concern be about what the woman did or did not do to warrant...what?...murder?
anyway, since she was much older than I, of course, I asked for her insight as to why such things happen and why they have been happening in the Nigerian community in the US. She gave the usual battery of complaints that life in the US to too stressful and increased expectations on men cause them to go mad and some murder their wives.
I proposed that the problem was not that life in America was unbearably hard (if so, I would gather that most Nigerians would have murdered their wives long before they reached the US....but that is a topic for another day). Rather, it starts with this notion that sometimes Nigerian culture (whatever that means...), does its people a disservice by placing undue power in the hands of one to control the fate of another in a lesser position of power. Such manifests itself in marriages, especially when there is quite the age gap between partners. (Not all of such unions are horrible, and some relationships I admire the most are those between couples of differing ages).
there exists this idea, that upon marriage, ownership of the woman is relinquished from the father and transferred to the spouse. With this ownership, comes the idea that one has the mandate to treat the newly acquired property as they please - particularly when it comes to issues of domestic abuse. America is a culture that openly threatens this ideal and pushes perpetrators and victims of wife battery into the dark until something more serious occurs. Yes in this case, Anthonia went to the police on a previous occasion, but I wonder how long it took for her to get to this point or how serious she was in maintaining the restraining order against Mr. Iheme.
i'm sure you're like "...not another domestic violence post...." But I've witnessed such themes repeat themselves in other relationships as well - master/househelp abuse and child abuse, such as this case where a man placed pepper in a child's eyes and genitals.
I noticed my hairdressers' chants of "you're right, my sister" started to die down into silence as I continued on my rant. I think in my excitement, I started to talk too much and challenge some long-held assumptions of who has which place in Nigerian society.
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