Monday, July 18, 2011

TFESS Assignment

It would appear that I have neglected my blog for about a month, but I have not really. I have been working to make it even a better place (that sounds like a very poor campaign slogan right?) Anyway. I found out The Future awards people were having a class for aspiring writers and yours truly registered and every saturday for a month I attended writing classes. It was fun. The facilitators were really cool and I took plenty notes, kai I don't think I was even that serious in school. I was very punctual for every class. :D (yay me!!)

Anyway on the last day one of the facilitators gave us an assignment. Write an article directed at an online portl and don't exceed 700 words..

I wrote it, writing teacher/friend extraordinaire/ supporter re-arranged my paragraphs and the result is what we have here

The Gnawing Ache Called Abuse

In 2011, at the peak of what we like to call civilization, it is rather depressing to know that women are still being abused physically and emotionally in Nigeria. A few days ago, the social media went agog with the tale of a man who brutally killed his wife and mutilated her body in the most inhumane way. It was reported that the perpetrator of this dastardly act had been abusing the victim for so long before it eventually culminated in her murder.

Some call it resilience, suffering long for love. Others call it stupidity. But for some reason, this woman stayed while she was being beaten black and blue till she was killed. There has been a large outcry in the media for his head on a platter, and this is not without good reason.

But the situation itself leaves a number of unanswered questions. Why do women stay with abusive men? Does a woman derive a sense of stability from being with a man? Does being with a man, irrespective of how badly one is being treated lend one a sense of belonging? Self validation perhaps? Does a woman tell herself that the errant man will suddenly see the light and stop beating her? Does a woman who stays with an abusive man believe that someday, the man who wooed her will return?

This author will be so bold as to hazard a few humble submissions in answer to the posers listed above. The ‘why’ will forever remain a mystery. The reason is that, years of evolution have conditioned our flight or flight mechanisms to protect our personal existences. The psychological end of the debate is another kettle of fish entirely.

Does a woman derive a sense of stability from being with a man? Yes, to a certain extent women, as should men derive a sense of stability and belonging from being together. After all, companionship is what the very essence of marriage and being together is all about. However, this should not be done at the cost of one’s sensibility. While every little tiff and disagreement is not a reason to jump ship into a canoe of separation and divorce. Zero tolerance should be given to abuse in all its forms.

However this is not the case, as we speak and our society is to be blamed at every level. The first of which is the rush (and the pressure) to be married in record time. Young women edging closer to the big three-oh are constantly reminded of the gradually winding down biological clock by friends, family and even total strangers in some case. Who is to say, that this alone doesn’t push women to settle for ‘less’? And stay settled in the mess the ‘less’ has caused?

A lot of women who remain in abusive relationships are plagued with the questions "Where will I go?", "how will the world perceive the fact that I am unable to stay in my marriage?", "who will look after my kids?" And so they stay; enduring the split lip yesterday, the busted gut today and the broken nose tomorrow. They do this till one day they take their last breath.

In an age where women liberation and the woman's rights are being screamed at the rooftops, women are still their own worst enemies. A woman will judge another woman by such intensely high standards that one wonders where the loyalty lies amongst the fold. The married woman would look at the single woman with immense pity, urging her to ‘settle down’. The single woman would wonder what craze possesses one to lose one’s freedom for the shackles of marriage. The ‘settled’ woman looks down on the feminist as being too vocal, the single and financially self sufficient as being unfulfilled. The feminist looks at the ‘settled’ woman as being a betrayer of the folk, willing to trade independence for the not so controlled environment of marriage and kids. So while women are busy tearing themselves apart, no attention is being paid to the scourge which cuts across all types of women.

It is not enough for women to stand on the soap box and "demand for equal rights" from men. It is even fallacious to assume or even say that men are the bane of the feminine existence, neither is it enough to constantly remind men that we are not the weaker sex. It is important for us as women to stand together. We should respect and cherish ourselves enough to support and not pass judgments on each other. It is only in doing this that an abused woman would find the courage to admit that she is being abused and refuse to stand for it. Only then will she find comfort in knowing that there's a world out there that doesn't condone the victimizing of women.

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