I am a man but it doesn’t bring me pleasure to say that ‘It’s a man’s world’. Of course I am proud of what I am, a young man. I do not wish I was a woman. However, I do wish women were treated better as most men are.
From ancient times women have been treated with disdain. Women became nothing more than concubines to sire children with. In almost all cultures inheritance could not be left to daughters. Tragically millions of female babies were killed upon birth because a male child was seemingly a better offspring. Grown men would summarily divorce the women of their youth in favour of younger women. Although in history there are women who achieved great feats, the likes of Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, Jane Austen and Rosa Parks, the mistreatment continues regardless.
Consider how what romantic relationships are like. How are women treated in general? It has become acceptable for men to cheat on their spouses. Infidelity is excused for men. Here I’m not condoning infidelity, I abhor it and it does not matter what gender the sinner is, however when a woman cheats it is different. Suddenly there are double standards of epic proportions. I see news reports from time to time of men who severely beat or even kill their wives due to infidelity. In some cases the woman is sometimes undignified by being paraded naked in the streets. She is cursed, spat on, beaten and worse. Family members shun and renounce her. If a man does the same he might even be admired as being skilled in ‘catching’ women.
Under the roofs of most houses, women are being assaulted by those who were supposed to protect them – husbands. They live in fear. Some are raped by their own husbands and other close family members but they do not speak out. It is infuriating as well as hurtful to hear some individuals accusing rape victims of leading men on or wearing provocative clothing. Majority of sexual assault cases are unreported and undocumented. We know too well of the truth of this matter in light of the #MeToo movement. High ranking men were perpetrators of sexual assault on women we would think are immune to such inhumane treatment. Rape is a shameful scourge that should be eradicated. But come to think of it, even in our time it is sickening how rape is still being used as a weapon of war across the globe.
In incidences where a man dies, leaving behind a bereaved widow. In African communities it’s a well-known fact that sometimes most members of the men’s family greedily grab the estate. They chase away the widow and accuse her of things like witchcraft and adultery. They leave her with nothing. All of the assets she and her husband, in some cases mostly her, worked for go away along with her husband. The legendary singer Oliver Mtukudzi for example sang about the plight of Neria, a woman whose husband had died.
I recently came across a number of posts that talked about 16 days of activism against gender based violence. Well-meaning efforts indeed and it is to be commended. But what about the other 350 days left in the year? The violence continues. The ostracism, bigotry & misogyny against women continues. This problem affects all of us. I am deeply disturbed by the injustice against women. I was once a man in a woman’s body, in my mother’s womb. I have sisters. I have a girlfriend. I have female friends. I can’t imagine one of them going through abuse. If you are a man please think about your loved ones who are female. Maybe put yourselves in their shoes. If you are a woman, I have addressed some women who unwittingly aid and abet abusers. Do not be one of them. You may also unfortunately be caught in the net of society’s ‘good social standing’.
The issues concerning the abuse of women are bigger than most people think. No doubt we all agree the problem needs to be addressed. For any solutions to be effective, they must address the root causes of troubles, not just their symptoms. In fighting crime, governments enact laws, install video surveillance, and strengthen police forces. These measures, while effective to some extent, do not address underlying causes. After all, behaviour usually reflects attitudes, beliefs, and desires. In a nutshell, perpetrators of abuse against women have deep rooted issues like sexual addictions, self-control, anger issues, dangerous fetishism and other problems. Some religions falsely teach marginalisation of women, and enact severe, unreasonable restrictions on women. Children grow up in dysfunctional families where their mother is constantly abused. All these people grow up with warped view of how they should treat women. That’s where we should direct the cure. On an individual and family level.
The problem is global. It knows no race, wealth, fame or status. Women everywhere are suffering in a man’s world. This needs to change, and I’m starting with the man in the mirror.
Featured image | Stop Kavanaugh Action | The All-Nite Images | flickr
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.
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