SHE SHE SHE: Women: speaking against violence, expose perpetrators, save one billion women

Thursday, October 08, 2015
Since reports had revealed that one in every ten women are being beaten or raped, it is important for women survivors to come out and speak out against violence.

If a woman endures violence, no matter how big or small it is, she is telling the world that there is no such thing as violence against women, and more women will die in silence as a result of that.

The saying that marriage is a private family matter would no longer stand as the truth, when it becomes a source of violence against women.

When marriage becomes inconvenient as a result of one partner battering, it stops from being a private family matter to a public matter; but it could only be treated as a public matter when the one whose rights were being violated comes out and speaks about it to the relevant authorities for action.

In the past years, we have seen and heard success stories from our grandmothers and mothers in their matrimonial homes.

From the beginning to the ending of their stories, there was nothing like wife battering; there was nothing like violence from either the wife or the husband.

In the 21st century, the young people of today should ask themselves “why there is violence in every relationship, including marriage”.

Is it because there is little or no amount of sympathy left for husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriends to live in peace and look out for each other always? Is it because of the way people are being brought up in their various homes?

Should a woman be battered, because she has burn the food while cooking? Should a woman be battered, because she forgot to polish her husband shoes? Should a woman be battered over a minor household issue? Should a boyfriend batter her girl because she failed to visit him? Every minute, hour and day women are subjected to every type of violence from those they could not live without.

A gentleman will not batter her wife or girlfriend because she loved and cared for him. For a woman that you used more than D3,000 to marry her and bring her into your home out of love; that same love should stop you, her husband, from battering her no matter the gravity of the offence committed by her.

As a woman, since your man or whoever is battering you will not come to his senses to stop battering you, you should be brave enough to end it by speaking out against the battering to the world, because by speaking out you will give courage to other women whose rights are being violated on a daily basis.

As women living in their various neighbourhoods, there is never a day when you will not hear words like “womanhood is weakness” or a man telling his fellow man “stop walking like a woman”; “don’t think like a woman or don’t plan like a woman”; “are you as dumb as a woman”.

These are special stereotyped words and many more words used by men on women on a daily basis. These are nerve breaking words to women, and these words contribute to the fact that some women are not still brave enough to break the culture of silence.

In our law courts, the man-made laws had made it possible for a woman to be separated from her child and sent to prison.

Should a baby or a child be tortured for a crime committed by his or her mother? We have seen a breastfeeding mother’s bail being revoked and she is sent to prison and nothing was done about it.

The man-made laws have no regard for the bond that a mother and her child shares, especially the one that is being breastfeed. That baby is in a very crucial stage of his or her life, and in dire need of her mother’s breast milk.

Then I begin to wonder about the role of legal instruments that are passed, enacted, ratified and domesticated, both nationally and internationally, to protect, women, girls and children.

I value that woman who will come out and stand firm on her feet to speak against violating her right to survival.

We have also seen women who are in a traumatized life just because they cannot bear children for their husbands. These women become stigmatized, and are being stereotyped by the members of their husband’s family and even the community, who turn their back on them just because they were unable to get pregnant.

In some cases, the man happens to be the problem, but because when something goes wrong in a matrimonial house, the first suspect is always the woman for one reason or the other best known to the perpetrators.

Woman-to-woman violence is also very common in such situations, because the mother or the sister of the husband are always the driving force behind all the stigma and heartbreaking words to this woman, who is unable to get pregnant after years of marriage; to such an extent that she is suspected as a “witch” who eats up her unborn children even without fertilisation taking place.

Women and girls are victims of rape in the neighbourhood, communities and across the globe, especially in countries experiencing war.

Incest, father-to-daughter, brother-to-sister, step-father-to-step daughter and the list goes on always make the front pages of the newspapers.

One could tell that women in most countries live in fear of being raped in every second, especially those that lack toilets and have to find remote places to defecate; when that is the best opportunity for the perpetrators to do their act.

That woman or girl, who comes out and speaks against violence even if the perpetrator is a well-respected man and has vowed to kill her, would save others from being victims, and the perpetrator will be punished.

As a woman, speaking against violence no matter the cost, would not and can never make you a coward or an outcast. Instead, it will give you peace, make you a heroine and transform your life for the better.

As a woman, whose right is being violated on a daily basis, speak out against it; be free from being a slave to a perpetrator and save one billion women; thus initiating a new series “Building to One Billion Rising Revolution.”

Author: Halimatou Ceesay