Who speaks up for the women, that has no voice in her home?
Over the centuries, women have been playing major roles in the growth and development of the society . A nation without a woman, lacks social order. They act as an order, nurtures a child, imbibes moral behavior, and caution to them. Their role has become an unavoidable necessity. Many women in our contemporary world have made the female folk proud. They have contributed immensely to the development of the society. We live in a male dominated society. Therefore, it is difficult to suppress the excess dominant aura of masculinity in the world. Yes! There has been a lot of awareness, propaganda, projects, empowerment programs, yet, it could be said it has it limits. The United Nations has in a great extent funded projects to support Women Empowerment, Development, and Equity. Why do we still have cases of Abuse, Inequality, high mortality rate caused by childbirth, and enslavement? Having traveled to some parts of Nigerian states, I have been able to interact with some women. These aggrieved women who are victims, are in dire need of help but the fact remains that Abuse is a shameful tale to an average African woman. They admire other women in the diaspora who confidently express themselves verbally and physically. The hostile environment they reside does not encourage them to talk about their problems. Mrs Ajoke, a local trader was interviewed on issues of abuse, these were her words;
“My Daughter, it is good to talk about your problems but who will understand? Even if they do, how can they help? I cannot lose my home when I have kids to take care of. My pride is my marriage. If you take that away, I will lose my respect in my community. I will be called an Adulteress who couldn’t manage her home. My husband will be one of the persons telling false stories too. What legacy do I leave for my children especially my daughters?”
We are made to understand that if a woman separates from her partner, it might reduce the chances of her daughters finding a suitor. Even if she does find one, the man’s family discourages him because they believe that if her mother failed to keep her marriage, then her daughter will be incapable of keeping her home too. What these critics forget to ask is, why did this woman leave her marriage? It is unfortunate that these critics are also women who have been abused by their partners but chose to ignore it, just to salvage their marriage in order to protect their dignity.
Women should be taught to empower themselves financially and psychologically. If they are uneducated, they should be able to save some money, start up a business and become independent. Some of them starve with their kids if their husband withholds his support. Although it could be difficult to raise money, even when they do, their partners protest their effort to become independent. Most of them are threatened by their partners, thrown out of the house, beaten or go through worse scenarios. Fear and uncertainty of what they might become and the future of her kids in the hands of their father and a stepmother forces these women to remain in this torturous union. The psychological effect a chaos home has on these children is detrimental. Their behavior becomes a problem due to the negativity passed to them by their parents as a result of a turbulent environment becomes a global issue. She could opt for a divorce, take custody of her kids although,sometimes it is impossible for an average African woman who is without skills, uneducated, jobless and financially frail.
Verbal abuse is another form of abuse most men who are aware of the consequences of physical violence inflict on their partners. Most Women complain of the use of abusive words by their partners. Its effect is deleterious. This affects the complex of these women. For instance, when a man threatens to marry another woman, if she does not comply to his request, rules and desire, he goes ahead to tell her how fat, old, sagged and unattractive she has become. She perceives this union as a pillar to self-assurance. The opinion of her irrelevance in the society leaves her no choice than to stay committed to her partner as this will boost her self-esteem. When the extra marital affairs of their husbands is bare to them, they are forced to “overlook” them. Men are excused as being prodigal in nature but if women commit the same offense they are treated as criminals. Some men go as far as maiming them. On the 3 rd of May, 2015, a woman lost her life in Gwagwaglada municipal area council in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory,Nigeria, West Africa due to complications. Her husband was said to have abused her physically throughout her pregnancy, their five year old son testified when asked by the police. Her family member who has been aware of her ordeals arrested her husband when this young mother of two died with her baby. Three days before she died, he confessed to have hit her on the stomach when they argued about the excess pepper in the soup she prepared. This might have led to the death of the mother and child. We all know the craving of a pregnant woman and our tendency to make mistakes as humans. Yes, that was not the first time he abused her but she made a choice.She stayed back, maybe for her kids but eventually led to her death. This is another soul added to the countless list of our mothers, sisters, aunts, and daughters who have died in a union embarked with laughter and positive expectations.
Two men conversed about a girl, one of the men narrated how he tried to force himself on a lady he has been trying to woo. He made an attempt to kiss her against her will but she hit him in self-defense. The other man stood up from his sit and rebuked him for tolerating such an action from a female, he said it is an abomination for a woman who squats to urinate to hit a man. They are considered inferior and since this man stands to urinate he is superior to the woman. This obnoxious belief portrays how women are undervalued in our society.
To address these salient issues, a law should be enacted to protect the right of vulnerable women in Africa irrespective of the culture and religion. Financial support has its limit.Furthermore, financial support alone is not enough because over 60% of women die as a result of physical abuse, emotional abuse, which always result to high blood pressure, mental torture coupled with physical stress because most of them cater for their kids without the support of the husband . This and more remains an issue that needs to be tackled by organization that protects women’s right.
Women should acquire skills, invest and thrive in descent choice of business, after all, most successful persons in the world today are business tycoons. These cannot be gratified if women pitch tents in the shell of abuse, shame and fear. They should be encouraged to express, talk, seek help and accept support. Bills have been passed, protest made and many awareness programs but victims multiply daily.
A home where a woman is beaten for any reason, verbally and physically abused, forced to have sexual intercourse against her will in the name of fulfilling marital right is rid of any form of respect and dignity. When next a woman perceives keeping an abusive union without addressing it, she should choose another adjective not the word prestige. You deserve the best ,End violence today. The knife and the yam are in your hands, make a choice today. you are the change and help you seek. It begins with you! Divorce is not a good venture but when the life of a pretty, intelligent and well deserving woman is at stake then, it becomes an option. Marriage does not define self-actualization. It is good to fall in love, get married to the right partner and have kids but it takes a lot for a woman to reach the point where she can say “I AM FULFILLED”.
However, the question is still to what extent are women especially in ‘Africa’ willing to go in order to keep their “PRESTIGE”.