What did she do! ,who told her to do that!,She probably deserved it!,She brought it upon herself ! ,something is wrong with her! Yeye si mwanamke kamili! ,Its her fault !, She was weak! ,Hawezi zalisha! ,She did this ,She did that ,She! She! She! ……She is a woman!
We have all been caught saying those words as we shift blames on a woman who has had the misfortune of being a victim of something, I know the wheels are turning in your head saying “I don’t think we really do that….!” ,and you are trying to find a reason to justify why you did that. Such things make me think of how the moment a girl is born ,the society judges her and declares her guilty .
I have read several articles about rape and each of those articles always advises women, inorder to avoid being raped ,we shouldn’t walk in dark places and to also avoid wearing provocative clothes, not knowing the kind of blame they are shifting across to a rape victim mentality ,hence encouraging and justifying the act of raping itself ,leading to lack of accountability from the rapist .Each and every time a woman has been raped ,majority of the people will conclude that ,she was either dressed provocatively or she was walking in an unsafe area .The mere justification that us women are sexual beings and therefore we should be ashamed and cover our body because it drives men to uncontrollable urges and animalistic behaviours such as raping ,cat calling and sexual harassment ,is a scam itself. Several cases of old women and young children being raped have been reported,nobody wants to address that these victims didn’t wear provocative clothes or walk in dark places to warrantee such experience. To me a rapist is a rapist ,and no circumstance like ‘woman wearing a provocative cloth’ turned him into that person .People assume rapist are individuals who are lowlife or outcast from the society ,but they are actually, just ordinary people like relatives ,teachers ,lawyers ,guardians and maybe your boyfriend or husband.
We need to stop victim blaming ,we need to stop blaming women for falling prey to such predatorial acts. And when i’m talking about blame ,i’m not just talking about only men playing a part in shifting the blame to women who fall victims to such sexual offenses ,i’m also talking about those women who blame such victims and going to the extent of saying ‘she deserved it’ ,’she brought it upon herself’
Domestic abuse has also been on the core of women receiving blame from it as well as no justice when they go to court.Women have been blamed for actually causing a beating from a husband or boyfriend ,and even after the victimized women die due to such violence ,people still blame her for staying in such a relationship ,going to an extend of calling her weak for not leaving .What people don’t care to inquire about is who is the abuser? These kind of offenders don’t receive the same kind of attention that abused receive .And its so sad ,that in some cultures ,domestically abusing a wife is seen as a form of love “sisi wakalenjin bwana akichapa bibi kila siku inamaanisha anampenda” .For so long ,domestic abuse has been normalized and even seen as a sort of requirement for married men to participate in ,so as to show the wife her place in the house ,which basically means under him. I will go ahead and just quote Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi “A husband is not a headmaster. A wife is not a school girl ”
We need to stop excusing an abusers action and we need to end such direction of questioning :’what did she do?’ because its not the victim’s fault.
As women,we are conditioned and presurred by the society from a young age,that our whole purpose and our major price in this life is marriage ,the idea that ,that’s the only thing that can make a woman complete in the eyes of the society is unfair and irrational .Unfortunately ,this has led to women being blamed for failed marriages and relationships ,based on the argument that, ‘marriage ni kuvumilia’ which basically means ,the woman holding the relationship together while receiving harsh judgement from the society because of her cheating spouse and being the cause of it as well .The absurd reason surrounding a cheating husband or boyfriend is always how apparently ‘the woman is inadequate as a woman’ ,which excuses the cheating husband/boyfriend actions,hence just turning him into a serial cheater who is unable to take responsibility of their actions.
We need to stop the train of thought ,that a woman is the cause of a failed marriage/relationship and maybe other women will stop falling prey to married men antics of how he dint marry the right kind of woman ,and the rest of the lies they tell you to get into your pants.
The society rejects the idea of a man being inadequate or vulnerable in any way ,so that’s why ,since time itself,women have always been blamed for childlessness in the marriage .The notion that a man is impotent is rejected ,and even thought to be shameful by the society ,which brings the question of shifting blame to the woman by the in-laws ,even though the woman is not barren. The society is more welcoming to the idea of shaming and shunning a woman ,than doing that to a man.
Technology has been a miracle worker ,and through it ,couples who are having trouble conceiving have been able to get to the root cause of the issue ,hence knowing the solution to take after knowing where the problem lies, but still ,men need to come to terms with the fact that they are allowed to be vulnerable because its human ,and being impotent doesn’t mean ,you are less of a man.
Do you all remember Sauti Sol’s song Nereah “Mungu akileta mtoto ,analeta sahani yake.” We were all there when they sang it ,and we sang to it also ,waiting to belt out the Nereaaaaah! part.This raises the issue of pregnancy and when it is deemed tabooo especially if a woman isn’t married.
Pregnancy is beautiful ,but some circumstances have turned pregnancy into something women should be ashamed of. Alot of women ,have been judged harshly for ending up pregnant and a man being absent in the picture ,with the reminder of that she was warned not to get pregnant .What really baffles me is that ,nobody takes their time to sit down their sons ,to tell them ,if you get a woman pregnant ,it is your responsibility to step up and care for your child ,and don’t get a woman pregnant if you are not ready to be a father. The kind of behaviour and culture that we encourage of :a boy is allowed to be a boy until the day he decides he is man while a girl is not allowed to be anything less of a woman,needs to be changed.
The culture of encouraging men to birth several children without taking responsibility for them has diminished the sacredness that is involved with making of a child ,hence making it more of an act rather than a miracle.
What we need to remember is ,its not a woman’s fault for a man falling short on his responsibilities, as well as change on the concept surrounding the inability of a single mother to raise a child and the child to turn out right.
A child belongs to a woman and a man ,not a woman only .
The beast of a burden that a woman is saddled with for being a woman is not only suffocating but also painful .The society only labels you to be a woman if you allow to be shamed ,mistreated ,blamed ,become voiceless ,as well as being praised for the amount of pain you can take ,as if that pain qualifies you to be a women.
Its not right ,its not humane and there is no justification for a woman to be burdened when the society decides to fall short.
#GeneralEquality #orangetheworld #spreadtheword #Dontbethatguy #DomesticViolenceAwareness
A huge appreciation to my ever dedicated friends who contributed their thoughts and experiences to make this article happen.
Thank you for taking your time to read.