By Ayodele Lewis
One of the areas the Attitudinal and Behavioural Change Secretariat must seek to address in a hurry is the attitude of certain men to treat their women as mere tools, property, or something you can do whatever you feel, when and how they do with naked impunity.
With the understanding and knowledge that women in the homes are not mere tools but human beings with equal rights like every man walking the streets, a nine months pregnant woman, Fatmata Lavally would not have been beaten severely by her husband, Peter Lavaly, until she went into coma.
This incident happened at Mbawoma village, Senehun section in Kongbora Chiefdom, Moyamba District on Monday 22nd August.
According to information gathered by AYV Magazine reporter, Fatmata was beaten by her husband for begging palm kennel, firewood and okra from his uncle’s house for cooking.
Speaking to the victim at the Bauya Hospital on August 27, 2011 with her body still covered with wounds and bruises, she said that her condition is unstable as she has not eaten any good food for the past four days.
“After quarrelling for some hours for some domestic reasons, he had not been feeding me for four days. I went to his uncle’s house and complained, and I was given fire wood and groundnut. On my return, he said if I put up any fire in the kitchen he would kill me. He took the groundnut and wood from me and threw it away. I slept without food. He also warned neighbors not to interfere in our domestic affairs. On the following day, I was given okra, palm kennel and FooFoo by his uncle’s wife to prepare something to eat but he set fire to the food items and took me to his uncle to confirm if they are the ones who defied his orders, by providing food for me. On our way home, he broke two big sticks from the bush and flogged me severely until the sticks broke into pieces. He also threatened to stab and kill me if I did not confess that that I am in love with his uncle’s son, Ibrahim. I begged him not to kill me. As we approached the town, he hit me on my head, and I fell unconscious until I later found myself at the Bauya Hospital,” she explained.
The father of the victim, Henry M. Sam said this is not the first time Peter has been doing this to his daughter, and described Peter as a lawless and uncontrollable human being in the chiefdom who does not take orders from authorities.
“I took him to the Magistrate Court in Moyamba the last time; he was found guilty, sentenced and asked to compensate my daughter, which has not been done. I blame the section chief, Baban Ndoko; he has no control over his village. This man has been involved in several rape cases in this section with impunity,” he said.
When contacted, Baban Ndoko, the Section Chief of Senehun Kongbora Chiefdom angrily confessed that he is indeed fed-up with the behavior of Peters.
“He is the younger brother of my wife, I want him jailed. He has been taken to court for this act, and continues to abuse people in my section. If it’s not for one of the elders who saw them, he would have killed that girl in the bush. I know he is lawless. He is nowhere to be seen now; he is hiding in the bush; this is how he operates; he stays in the bush until everything dies down before he comes out,” the chief explained.
Chief Daniel Harding chairman of the Moyamba Human Rights committee said they are doing their best to see that justice is done to Fatmata, adding that they are taking the matter very serious, and that they will make sure no stone is left unturned to get justice for the victim.
We have been doing a lot of human rights education in the chiefdom and we will not relent until all those who do not want to change understand and see the need to do so.