BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

‘Some orientation on marriage is one of the reasons many women are victims of domestic violence’

Amaka Chibuzo-Obi is a confidence coach and the founder of Wives Roundtable Foundation. In this interview with NGOZI OKPALAKUNNE, she stressed the need for women to rediscover themselves in order to overcome low self- esteem, fear and self-doubt. She also spoke about relationship between low self- esteem in female folk and poor participation of women in politics. Obi called on women who are in battered relationships to seek help so as to find lasting solution to their predicaments. Excerpts:

Why confidence coaching for female folk?

Having lived through low self-esteem myself, l know what it can cause a person especially women. Based on that, l delved into confidence coaching so as to help career women and business women command attention and build influence through confidence speaking and confidence living.

I know what we as women leave on the table because we are not able to really stand out and ask for our dues. A lot of women who battle low self -esteem do not feel good about themselves, they don’t feel they deserve certain things that happened to them for good and so when these things occur, they begin to try to explain why it happened, they might attribute it to their being lucky, or because of the person they know, they do not own their awesomeness because they don’t believe that they can achieve or they can do so well. Some of them hide themselves for fear of being exposed.

Take for instance, you will see a woman that is highly qualified, but when she is asked to take up more responsibility, she will start giving one excuse or the other. I tell people that confidence in itself is one of the major components for success. In time past, once you are competent, success will find you. When we were growing up, we used to hear stories of students that organsations came to their schools to pick and offer them employment, these students never applied for any job, but it is not that way anymore; today, it is more of who is seen, who is standing out before anyone could ask of your qualification.

I discovered that a lot of women are not coming out, they are qualified, they are smart, but they are not showing up, they are not speaking, they are not visible and a lot of opportunities passed by them. Every time we are talking about women empowerment and gender equality and inclusiveness, but women have to speak out. On the other hand, the society does not really help. In the world we live today, when a woman is out there, vocal and assertive, it is easy for the society to call her names. The society will describe her as a rigid woman; as a result a lot of women want to remain where they are because they wouldn’t want the society to give them names.

Having been talking to women on how to build their confidence, what are the factors responsible for low self-esteem in women and what is the way out?

There are three major factors that cause low self- esteem and they include; background, l mean one’s up–bringing, life experiences. Some women grew up with strict people that expose them to abuse. Many of us were told that kids are not supposed to talk; as a result, such kids keep quiet even when they are sexually abused.

So, the background of such children became a programme that is running at the background of their lives, until they do the work that is required to heal their mind, it might be difficult for them to build a healthy self- esteem. Secondly, a lot of people would say they were abused sexually, verbally or physically while growing up and that they had terrible experiences.

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These people would also tell you that they have gotten over it; the fact is that they have not gotten over it because the conscious mind does not work like that. Such experiences might be repressed, but somehow somewhere, it would come up to affect how the person acts today. One can overcome such situation through coaching and therapy.

What is the relationship between lack of confidence in some women and poor representation of women in politics?

Politics in our country is different from that of other climes; having said that l would also say that, when it comes to poor representation, there is a quality that a good politician should require and one of those qualities is the ability to speak and share ideas with people. That is one thing that lot of women run away from; they will have ideas, but come out and say it before the public becomes a problem.

When you see women who are in leadership, most times, they have been selected to be in those roles because the process of running for office, manifesto and other things involve a lot of being out there, talking, sharing of ideas which a lot of women run away from, but we cannot also take away that politics is such a hectic domain to be in and so a lot of women that go into politics, will say, they don’t have enough time for their family.

The fact remains that most women in politics are not as good in public speaking as their male counterparts; so, a man would have little or no knowledge of what he wants to talk about, but he will not be scared to mount a podium to talk, but a woman who has ideas would be shy to hold microphone to address the public. So, most times some women wait for a position to be handed to them, but there are some vocal women that are representing us in politics. l feel we could do better and l also feel that some of these women that are already there should begin the process of grooming other women, build their confidences and their public speaking skills and help them to navigate that land space.

Despite much awareness on the dangers associated with violence against women, cases of the increased age long menace are increasing; what is your advice to women?

The way women were raised to view marriage is one of the reasons many women are victims of domestic violence. Women were brought up to view marriage as something that if it does not work, the woman becomes a failure. As a result, many women remain in dead marriages, they don’t want to appear like failures and it comes back to low self- esteem. Some women get into marriage with healthy self-esteem and because of the toxic relationships they find themselves, they will develop battered self-esteem. In situations like that, they will start thinking how they will survive if they should quit the marriage.

And it is not that some of these women do not have money. So, when people say, empower women so they do not remain in a violence or toxic marriages, I say no, it is not about money because many of these women actually are the bread winners in their toxic homes, it is not about money, but about a mental and physiological domination.

The fact is that these women have been dominated by their spouses, so my advice is that if a woman discovers that her self- confidence has been battered in a relationship, she should seek help by getting a coaching and therapy, once she gets these, she would begin to see life in a different way at that point nobody needs to tell her that her situation is not a good one. It is then left for her to decide what she wants to do because sometimes too, some of these men that abuse women do it because, they feel they have over-powered these women.

Sometimes, when these women go through therapy and coaching and rise up physiologically, the men respect themselves and do some adjustments. So, bringing a good third party into your relationship when things are not going well is ideal. There are necessary third parties that should be in a home that needs help; find help if you need and when you need it, do not die in silence.

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