Content Warning: This article discusses abuse.
Sometimes, the signs are right there and hard to miss. Other times, they are subtle. We are so aggrieved by the story of Osinachi Nwachukwu, who died from what we’ve learnt, was repeated domestic violence by her Husband. And recently, Augusta Osedion, who was sadly stabbed to death by her boyfriend. It is important that we take a step back to re-access where we are, and what lessons we need to learn from these real-life stories. Here are 7 Subtle signs your partner could become physically abusive and how you can protect yourself in threatening or full-blown physically abusive relationships.
1. Hostility Towards Other Women
If he’s rude and behaves nastily to other women, you cannot think that his world revolves around you just because he doesn’t act a certain way towards you. If he doesn’t respect other women or act kindly towards people in general, it’s a huge red flag on what his personality really is and best believe, you can be at the receiving end of that hostility very soon.
2. Talking About You In A Demeaning Way To Other People
On the flip side, a man could be extra nice and kind to everyone around him, but you. If he’s using condescending or demeaning words towards you and repeatedly saying hurtful things to you, whether out of anger, or as a joke – and worse, saying this to other people, in and out of your presence, it’s time to walk away. He has no respect or love for you. That man doesn’t need you; He needs therapy.
3. A Strong Desire To Control You
Is he constantly trying to control everything in your life? From your finances, to what you wear, where you go, what you do at every moment, who you text, who calls you and even goes as far as guarding you from having connections with your friends and family? One of the most beautiful things about love is that love in itself, is freedom. It’s freedom to express and be the best version of yourself, with your partner’s support. If he’s controlling, nothing about that is love.
If you ever find yourself saying “That’s just the way he is, we understand each other” – Stop it, please.
4. Verbal Abuse and Threats
Verbal abuse might just be words, but that’s where it all starts. If he’s saying to you, “I would hit you” or “ I would push you and your child out of my house”, then he has thought about doing it already, consciously or sub-consciously. It all starts in the mind, he says what he feels, and eventually – surprise, he does exactly what he says. Threats are not empty words, do not treat them as such. If he says he’ll do it, one day he just might.
5. Forceful Sex
If he is insisting on sex when you clearly aren’t consenting, or he is involving you in sexual activities that are clearly uncomfortable or painful for and to you, he doesn’t care, respect or love you. A man who is forceful during sex is a man who cannot control his mind, actions, and emotions. If he can hurt you in that way, he will easily hurt you physically.
6. Breaking Objects During Fights Or Arguments
Girl, you better step out of that toxic space before he runs out of things to hit. Better a broken heart, than a broken bone.
7. Seeing The Title of This Article Made You Think of Him, Because You Have Your Fears That He Actually Can Get Physically Abusive One Day
While we cannot cover the entirety of signs you need to watch out for in a physical – and emotional – abusive partner in one post, you know your partner and you know your relationship best. If you’ve had fears that your partner could become physically abusive, based on something he’s done, your fears are most likely valid, and you need to trust your gut.
How You Can Protect Yourself If You’re A Victim of Domestic Violence Or In A Physically Abusive Relationship
Get to safety. Safety might mean a trusted friend. Safety might mean your family. Safety might mean a rented apartment for a short while. Whatever safety looks like for you, one thing is similar. Safety is leaving. Safety can’t ever be found in the space of your abuser. Safety is bravery, but it’s a step you need to take.
Getting to safety isn’t always easy so while you are actively – very actively – drawing up your safety plan, here is what you need to do:
1. Avoid staying in small, trapped spaces or rooms that contain objects that could be used as weapons, with your
2. Create a list of emergency contacts who are aware of the current situation or your fears.
3. If you are financially dependent on your
partner abuser, immediately start to create a stream of income that can fend for you.
4. Collect all evidence – Text, Voicemails, Recordings. You need to arm yourself with enough information to throw your
partner abuser in prison, or at least a miserable life, when you eventually get to safety.
5. Do a research (on external devices) on Help-homes and Domestic Violence Helplines to reach out to.
Domestic violence/abuse helplines active in Nigeria:
Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) : +234 809 210 0009
Violation of Women and Girls : 0800 727 322 55
Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT): 0800 033 3333 | 0813 976 0048
Project Alert on Violence Against Women : 0805 200 4698 | 0818 009 1072
Society To Heighten Awareness Of Women And Children Abuse (SOTHAWACA) –
0807440 3088 | 0809172 8363 | 0902 3891168
Brave Hearts Initiative : 0706 191 0869 | 0807 398 9838
Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection (WRAPA) – For Legal Counselling
0817 212 5692 | 0706 380 7887 | 0803 702 6042
Pastor Bimbo Odukoya (PBO) Foundation : 0803 580 0201 | 0809 393 3439
This article has been updated .