Spare a thought for her

03 Dec, 2021 - 00:12 0 Views
Spare a thought for her the world marks 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence from 25 November to 10 December 2021, under the global theme Orange the World: End violence against Women Now.


Jeremiah Mudonha

GENDER-based violence (GBV) is a global issue which transcends borders, races and cultures.

It threatens lives, undermines families and communities and impedes the progress of nations. 

Unfortunately, cases of gender-based violence continue to escalate as males ruthlessly violate and exploit females. 

Essentially, GBV involves all acts of physical, sexual, psychological and finance-related violence among others, committed against women, men, boys and girls as a result of social norms about roles and behaviour expected of each gender and it often occurs within relationships.

Although men and boys are also subjected to abuse and violence, women and girls are more affected owing to power imbalances and the low social status accorded to them by society. 

Violence against women and girls (VAWG) will thus be the focal point of this article. 

Estimates published by WHO indicate that globally about one in three (30 percent) of women worldwide have been subjected to either physical and or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

It pains and baffles logic how females from as young as one month-old are being raped. 

Child, early and forced marriages (CEFM) are yet to end as some religious, cultural and community sectors still promote the practice.

Violence is also being witnessed in how married women are being heartlessly tortured by their husbands.

In times of crises, GBV cases rise as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic when in some parts of the world, women and girls too could be sold to generate income; sex could be demanded in exchange for food or girls forced into marriage to meet basic needs or secure their future. 

As the world marks 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence from 25 November to 10 December 2021, under the global theme “Orange the World: End violence against Women Now” take a moment to reflect on the general life of the   African female where the patriarchal system continues to rule the roost. Her story is riddled with thorns and tears as compared to that of her male counterpart.

For long, the world has dealt unfairly on her in virtually all spheres. 

Talk of things like sanitary pads, the story is hers and none is seemingly concerned except herself.

To them, such and her other numerous concerns are minor and negligibly less important. 

I suppose the time is now that we turn her story into our story. 

The girl-child

Never again does she see herself as a human being. 

Nobody treats her like one, anyway. 

Often times, she is dejected, rejected and ejected because of her being a girl.  

Like a donkey, she toils tirelessly from dawn to dusk on household chores while her male counterparts are at rest or concentrating on their school work.

Nobody seems to notice her efforts let alone her welfare needs.

Instead, everyone rebukes her for her natural feminine weaknesses. 

They unfairly and maliciously equate her with the boy-child. 

Her days at home are marred with beatings, segregation and general ill-treatment on the grounds of her gender.

 “Soon you’ll be married and leave home so you cannot own or do anything serious except practice motherhood,” they maintain. 

True to their word, they deny her education and any meaningful family benefits such as shares in family businesses in equal measure to the boy-child. 

Only if they knew that she was not created for marriage but it is the marriage that was created for her they would think otherwise. 

Sadly, her woes follow her all the way to school desk. 

Boys determinedly bully her for them to feel good.

She is labelled names and ridiculed for her gender.

Some academic subjects are ostensibly declared a no-go area for her. 

She is incapable, they erroneously think. 

Does she not deserve genuine respect, love, education and fair treatment? I suppose she does. The girl-life matters. 

The woman 

Her offence in the community, if any, is that she was born a woman- an offspring of Eve. 

To start with, her husband sees her as his disposable property – an object to abuse anytime anyhow. 

Sexually, physically, emotionally and otherwise, she is abused.  To report the felony or at least voice her concerns, everyone about her including her family members, friends and in-laws, warn her not to.  

She is constantly reminded that she is a woman and him a man with power and exclusive rights over her. 

“He paid lobola for you,” she is told as they silence her.

 As much as a bought commodity can’t resist or argue with its owner, so is she expected, as his subject, to surrender her whole being to him. 

She is now on his leash; he stalks her and does as he pleases with her. 

Her needs, views and feelings as his partner are largely ignored or neglected. 

As the marriage gets too hot to stand the man can quit but not her. 

By force or self-will, she endures all the marital blisters.

In fact, none of her kiths and kins are ready to accept her back upon any divorce. 

She was meant to stay with her husband, they argue.  

But should she die in silence? 


Unfortunately, she carries the inferior tag even to the workplace that is if at all she gets the job. 

Sexual harassment is the order of the day.

More so, tasks and benefits are allocated unfairly to her on the grounds of her gender.

She fights hard yet without much success to let them understand that her being woman is not a weakness, neither is it a curse or crime but exactly the opposite. 

It is time that the world changes its mindset about her. 

She is not a sex object, an object of pity nor a second class citizen, as they think. 

Tearfully but boldly we should all say a big No to such gender inequalities which are a breeding ground for GBV!! 

While pervasive, gender-based violence is not inevitable.

It can and must be prevented.

I urge you all to spare a thought for every girl or woman out there.

She requires not sympathy but empathy and not pity but respect as an equal being to her male counterpart.

Hailed and worth emulation are women and girls who have broken the ice and risen to be counted. 

They have risen to the higher echelons of leadership and shown the world than females too can do it. 

To name a few, we salute the Tanzanian president, Her Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan recently sworn in as Tanzania’s first female president following the death of John Magufuli and Kamala D. Harris the Vice President of the United States of America.

To these and other fortunate lot, know that it is game on till there is gender mainstreaming in all spheres of life. 

In view of an age-old proverb which goes “a shy cat makes a proud mouse,” I implore all women and girls to fight for the restoration of their true identity.

You deserve nothing but the best in life.

You have a constitutional right to protection of the law. 

Refuse to die in silence.

Your rights are your life.

They matter, claim them.    

My appeal, in conclusion, is that real men ought not to raise their hands to assault women. 

Let love lead. 

As the Holy Bible rightly says, men should love their wives. Violence is not and should never be our culture. 

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