Does that title sound familiar to you? I guess not. Husband battering cannot be familiar to anybody especially in Africa. But wait a minute. The idea of men being beaten by their wives is slowly gaining popularity in Kenya. I am sorry if what I am about to say amounts to washing dirty linen in public.
In the recent past, the Kenyan media has been abuzz with news about women battering their husbands! How indespicable. But that is it. Men are being battered. One particular incident was that of a pitiable looking man whose face had been damaged, leaving only remote recognition. The man is said to have been cut using a panga by his wife after arriving home drunk.. The man has a lot of thanksgiving to accord GOD because his being alive is a welcome miracle. He survived those panga cuts and the stitches are working the magic. Other incidences are as terrific.
This new trend has attracted a lot of concern especially gender based. Some people are quick to blame the empowering of women. Others say all these is a result of the disintegration of traditional structures and many other things. I see all these through my own spectacles.
I have never been married, I know but they say, what a child can see crawling down, an elder who is seated on a chair may not be able to see. It is with this confidence that I write today.
This could be a reckless statement to quote now but I think that the only reason battered men are on our airwaves is "when a dog bites a man, that's no news but when a man bites a dog it becomes news." Or have women suddenly stopped being battered and that is why there is no news on that? I ask because anytime the news on a battered man hits the Kenyan airwaves, a lot of interest is generated. I am tempted to call it undeserved sympathy but I will not. You give me a term to give to a story that goes something like
"... he was hit by his wife after arriving home drunk in the morning..."
That is supposed to be a married man, most likely with children and a wife who need him. If that statement doesn't sound like the height of insanity to you then just stop here because we are less likely to flow together.
Well, well I am not by any chance suggesting that two wrongs make a right. What I am suggesting is that, when we agree that both parties have a mistake, then working towards a lasting solution becomes easy. But when we point fingures towards women as the problem, then I am afraid we'll keep talking. Can we now go on?
In the African setting, a lot of power within the family was vested on the men. Men were venerated, almost worshiped and they deserved every bit of the respect. These men were there for their families. They protected their families, they fended for their families, they recognized their wives and respected tradition. These men drunk whatever traditional wine was available but still, they acted well enough to earn respect from their wives, children and the society. Life was culturally defined and everybody respected that.
But something went wrong.
You may want to tell me that modern women have destabilized that. No problem, I am listening. Modern women clamor for power, prestige and generally disregard their male counterparts. I am smiling widely now. Men too have changed, the world itself has changed and we can not remain standing when things are moving. That is why we have changed. Even the food we eat is no longer what you used to know, the perfume is stronger now, our voices are higher and imposing. The skirts are a bit shorter... We are more empowered and we cannot deny that but at least get the proper idea of 'empowered'.
By the way why is the empowering of women a problem? Women are supposed to be the 'weaker sex', not so? What I am trying to point out here is that, women may not be the 'weaker sex' as some people made us believe for a long time. The fact that there is a general outcry in the country about the boy child being 'neglected' could be an indicator that, men are not the 'stronger sex'. They only take advantage of women being unaware.
Before I digress, let me go back to what I was talking about. If you have been keen, you may have noticed that an empowered women has never stooped so low as to beat anyone, let alone her husband. Okay, she could cane a truant child here and there which is not a cause for alarm. That simply says that ' husband battering' is not part of the empowerment package.
I read somewhere that the chairman of maendeleo ya wanaume encouraged men to ignore food prepared by their wives in order to express their displeasure. I really have no comment to that. I am laughing inside because I think it is a futile idea. Okay, its futile because if the men are truly guilty of the offense they are being battered for, then refusing to eat in their homes(whatever that means)will not take away their guilt.
But seriously, how can a man be battered by a women to the point of attracting media attention? I believe in equality of the sexes but in matters of fighting, I wouldn't dare. Men are strong! So really, by the time a man is relegated to that level, there is obviously a problem. No sober man who does everything that is expected of him can go through that. He will not even come to it because he will forestall and control everything.
Women are strong in their own way. They tolerate so much, they persevere the unimaginable. But be warned, this is just for a while. They allow time for reformation, they'll give you time to retract your steps, their hearts are always open for reconciliation. I am sure those who don't know these take it as a sign of weakness. They can not do anything. But when they come to a point I will call 'this is it!', all hell breaks lose.
Those who end up being battered go beyond that point. If you want to know what it feels like to have a scorned woman vest her fury on you, go beyond that point. It is a threat alright, but this one is 100% guaranteed.
Violence against whatever gender should not be given a place in modern society. It is barbaric and inhumane. Whatever the goings on in the recent past as regards to men being battered should be looked into by all the responsible organizations like maendeleo ya wanaume and other concerned organizations especially those that deal with gender issues.The solution should then be sought for from the roots because if we treat the wound and ignore the source of the wound, then surely another wound will show up. And most importantly, wisdom has to be applied. If we do these instead of the endless and useless insinuations, we are likely to have our nation whole again. The clock is ticking.