Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
Forgive Our Violence To Women
January 26, 2006
Africa values relatives or community support system throughout the onerous miraculous period of child birth in recognition of women unique reproductive power. The same may be true in Asia or old European countries. The more industrialized the country is, the less the support system at the perinatal period of our makers. Western European countries and Canada make up for this African hospitality by providing working mothers paid-time off during this awe inspiring function they render us.
In spite of all the laws and protection available to women in the Western countries, many of us are surprised that American women do not enjoy the benefits provided to Western European women. I was surprised that a judge waiting to be confirmed for United States Supreme Court claimed that he did not realize the intention of Family and Medical Life Act is to provide women with more required time at home from work. A subtle but important point made by Senator Joseph Bidden. Yet more Americans champion women’s right outside United States.
There is no doubt that we have to channel our strength to more productive endeavors. If we trace the origin of raw power that alienates us from our lifelong partners, we will find out that women have always been able to neutralize it by superior prowess or maturity. Even the Abraham religions taught us about how Eve was able to get Adamu to taste an agbalumo, the spices of life we live today. Delilah betrayed Sampson by disclosing the source of his power. It is not clear if we got any smarter since then. We do not know whether to do with or without women. Once we get to the stage of doing without one another, it is the end of procreation. Yet, there is much more to our relationships.
It is this incredible prowess of women that makes it difficult to understand how the sheer brute force of men have kept our makers at the background for so long or if this is a new phenomenon developed in the last few centuries. Dr. Spencer, one of the researchers on X and Y chromosomes told us that the Y for men came much later than the X for women. Some cultures have blamed power on the environment that permits polyandry (a woman with more than one man) in some cases or polygamy in many cases, resulting in power reversal between men and women. I do not want to go deep into animal behavior: asexual amoeba, bisexual worm or black widow spider that devours its male partner after mating.
A friend of mine landed at Murtala Muhamed Airport in Lagos after many years abroad and kissed the floor. He exclaimed – welcome to Nigeria where men are men and women are women! Most Nigerian girls were married in the seventies and he fought hard to keep his, sent from home. Many of us had some disagreement with our non-Nigerian partners at that time but never had to fight in public or in front of anyone. In my case, it happened with only one woman. You see, no woman put her finger at the face of an African man. I slapped the finger and whatever was nearby. As I recalled, I recoiled in embarrassment. These days, there is no cause for fight or any set up used to throw our young men in jail. Before that stage, seek elderly help. If you can not settle it, take a walk on the good side.
I had a principal once who would come to school with fat lips. We all knew whenever he got a beating from his wife. When I told my Dad, he said they used to rescue him when they were working under the old Western Region. That was even a bigger joke amongst the students, than a shameless boy fighting a girl.
The fact is in any society where a man controls the economic resources, most women prefer a good provider to a loafer. It has been suggested that some women do not mind fighting a good provider because making up is sweeter. I had a girlfriend once who wondered why I never fought her. How could I?
Abuse of women can be subtle as in emotional pain where both partners suffer in silence. Some claim that this is worse than physical abuse. One may even lead to another. Luckily women and the society are better sensitized to these signs than ever. One has to be careful about underlying causes that can be treated, like an alcoholic. In a few cases, some men would come home and take out their job frustration on their partners. The other extreme are those who encourage women of color to leave home for any little problem while they stayed with their own husbands until they get killed. They leave children without fathers in the home leading to multiple of social problems.
Obviously, men are built stronger than women. I do not think the purpose of this strength over women is to bully them to comply with the norms dictated by, of course men. It is to provide for the family and protect them from home invaders. Aliens invaders from space?
There are too many shootings in American cities and women are no exception to this violence at home. I nearly claimed that Africans do not kill our women but for a few cases where Nigerians have done so outside Africa, that would make me a hypocrite. I just could not understand the link between sex and violence then. It was strange to me.
Why this animalistic rage against our makers? Can it be based on Freud sex theory, jealousies, retaliation message, crime cover up, or lost investment? Some African (American) women use these as reasons to marry men from other races, ethnic groups or travel to Caribbean or Africa to find their grove. The same is true of some white men who think that American women are too liberated. They travel to their old countries too to find a mate. In Nigeria, you find all kinds of imported suzies from as far away as Australia, China and India. After the novelty wears off, these men and women find out that people are people adapting to an environment. Any man can leave you pregnant and barefooted.
Some women also complained that some African men in Diasporas are not the marrying type. Why? They are too domineering, some are gay, or with criminal records, and the rest of them are married. So there are more of them in jail than in the universities. Is that the fault of African men or the oppressed society they live in?
Some years ago a friend at work took me into confidence after asking me if he was prejudice. He was not because he hung around Africans? He told me about this African who always got the best blonde girls in town. He was jealous and hated him for that. This reminded me of Vicky when we were in college, who preached to those who went for white girls. One of us, like the guy complained about had an excuse. He was doing to white girls what their great grandfathers did to our great grandmother during slave trade.
Vicky would not buy that excuse: unlike your grandmother, these girls were having fun.
Growing up in Nigeria, I heard stories of boys’ fantasies with Fulani, Calabar, Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa girls etc. As a Yoruba, I also know how disgusting some people feel when a Yoruba girl marries outside her ethnic group. I later became familiar with how disgusting other ethnic groups feel when a girl marries an outsider. I read some ranting, and laughed at serious complaints of guys about “our” women dating other men. This feeling about preservation of culture, including the use of brute force by men, is universal.
While it might be easier for the oppressors, usually men to break the norm, how do we explain the African mating with the mistress realizing that the punishment for allegation of looking at white woman was hanging by the tree during slavery? The King of Monaco has assured his Kingdom that his African son will never be king. They must be reminded about the history of their African rulers from Sudan and Egypt including Roman Emperor Septinus Severus, Irish King Gormund, African Popes Victor, Gelasius and Mechiades. Europeans still have drops of blood from African Moors’ melanin visible on their skin.
It does not stop there; we also have the class system within our ethnic groups forbidding marriage. The real owners of Africa, the ORU, ERU or OSU depending on where; are like the American Indians or the untouchables of India that are relegated to the bottom of the social class after their lands have been taken over and treated as captured slaves.
A lady once said that when she was growing up, she prayed for a man who could buy her a house and a car so that her children could be happy. Alas, she can now buy her own house and her own car. So what does she need a man for? With better education and jobs than ever, women can provide for themselves, do they still need us? As for kids, the extremist are now saying they can replace us with sperm banks. Ouch!
Africans in diasporas are only too happy if their children can marry one another and do settle for any responsible boy or girl. After all the parties and gathering so that they can meet one another, they end up marrying who they want. One boy refused to date a beautiful girl that just came from Nigeria because she had an accent - like his parents!
Actually with the divorce rate in Western countries about fifty percent and even more amongst Africans there, Africa still looks like a safe environment for marriage.
The Igbo and Yoruba culture are very familiar with Moremi’s beauty and the wonders that came out of it. The Yoruba throughout their history have powerful women that have
been Queens. Apart from Bilikisu Sungbo, the Queen of Sheba, Africans have warriors that fought and captured men. Queen Nzingha of Angola fought against slave trade. Indeed many lines of Kings and Queens all over the world chose the line of their mother to ascend the throne for obvious reason that a bastard will never gain the kingdoms.
Even Zsar Zsar Gabor could teach us a thing or two, that a smart woman never let a man know she is smarter. She leads him on to belief he is the best. That culture of women entered the nursing profession where experienced nurses know how to nudge on the fresh doctors just out of school but not contradict them.
Women have made some progress everywhere. We have women head of state with executive powers in some countries including our own Helen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Eva Morales of Chile and the powerful African US Secretary of State Condo Rice. They convey the message of do not fool around me because I am a woman. They have to work twice as hard to prove that they can just be as strong as men or as super mum. We had Golda Meir who was just as willing to wage war or Indira Gandhi or Iron Lady Thatcher.
Nigeria with all its faults has a great deal of respect for women. While some men may abuse their wives in the house, the same men will not tolerate it in a public place. Call them hypocrites, but they follow the general norm of the majority in the society. We had cases where some unruly man would slap a woman in public. Most passersby would give immediate discipline to that man as it is forbidden in our culture. No respect for them.
Since Nigerian leadership went to the dogs, we noticed another new phenomenon in our midst. Many Nigerians up to today can not understand why the wife of Abiola had been murdered in cold blood. Another happened recently, wife of Abubakar Rimi. Even hired mad killers reject women assignments in our culture. The militarization of our polity has reached a stage that has bastardized our culture - wiping women on our street, attacking women demonstrators and bundling them into cars while their family fear disappearance.
I noted the fight between soldiers and female police officers, in Effurun, Delta State over traffic offence. The female traffic officers were dragged, beaten and bloodied by soldiers. Whose children are these soldiers and who raised them? Could they have been cloned or products of text tubes, amoeba, worms or spiders? It seems to me that they could not have been children of our makers because if they were, they would have mothers and sisters.
Violence begat violence and Nigerians can only take so much before we apply mob discipline. Since the police are now in charge of collecting twenty naira, soldiers have been jealous that they are cut out of the show. So they take it out on police at any time they feel like. But these are female traffic police! Don’t provoke naked demonstration!
The treatment of women in any society reflects the civility of that culture adapting to times. Africans have a great deal of respect for women which provide a healthy environment for our dignified children, seeking progress and success. Any society where a man has lost his ability to function as the protector and provider of the family sees an aberration in the behavior of women and children. A man is a man who respects the aspiration of women towards the furtherance of the good of community.
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.