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NJERU: It’s a tough time to be a woman

Friday February 1 2019

Couple arguing. Leaving a toxic marriage takes courage. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP

Couple arguing. Leaving a toxic marriage takes courage. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP 

LILYS NJERU
By LILYS NJERU
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“It’s a tough time to be a woman,” I posted on my WhatsApp status.

“It has always been,” someone responded.

In the past recent years, the waves of domestic violence have hit the society like never before bringing the futility of some of the marriages to the fore.

But it’s the disguised misogyny entangling these unfortunate events that have fostered this article.

Presently, a man and his girlfriend are being held in connection with the murder of his wife.  On social media platforms, messages of condolences continue flooding to the family of the deceased but so are the questions.

THE QUESTIONS

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Why did she stay? Why do women find it difficult to leave their failing marriages?

In the wake of this tragic event, it reminded me of an acquaintance who had stuck in an already crumbled marriage for five years and only left when the ex-husband threatened to "finish her"  if he found her in the house.

She had wanted to leave for a very long time.

She confessed that there were days she would pack her clothes only to unpack them after receiving counsel from some of her friends and relatives.

She was told to pray for the husband, stay for the child she was carrying and was advised that men are like babies and needed pampering. She was also asked: “What did you do to deserve such treatment?”

NOT A SAFE PLACE

The society is not a safe place for women who dare leave their marriages for one reason or another.

It has no sympathy either for women who lose their lives when trying to fight for their marriages. Women are expected to own up to their mistakes and are also held accountable when their husband err.

They are mocked when they stay, pointed at for not leaving and questioned for daring to raise their children as single mothers.

SYMPATHETIC HUGS

If a man woke up today and decided he had had enough of his wife and wanted out, the society would be ready to receive him with embraces and sympathy.

A number of potential wives will most likely be lined up for him too.

He would be hailed for taking such a brave step and offered advice on how to move past it.

On the other hand, a woman would be advised to persevere, to fight for her marriage, watch “War Room”, to focus on herself and her children.

Don’t get it twisted. This is not about the type of feminism that advocates for women to be given some sort of privilege, no, this is about creating a safe place for anyone who needs it.

BLEEDING INSIDE

Most women prefer to die on the bed of thorns that is their marriage than come out to talk about what they are going through.

Although bleeding inside, they paint an image of a fulfilled and happy person to the outsiders or on social media platforms.

They keep mum about their fears and drown in tears as they hope for their partners to change.  In case there is fidelity, these women would rather fight the other party involved than hold their partners responsible.

I think it takes a lot of courage to wake up one day and decide to leave the place you once called home.

To look at your partner and tell your heart that it’s time to move on is an act of bravery.

I have engaged tens of women who have left their marriages and most tell a story of taking risks and mulling over the issue for days.

I have also heard of women who have left their big houses and rented out a single room in a quest for peace of mind.

It’s not an easy decision to make. We should applaud women who are brave enough to choose themselves and quit failing marriages.

Also, can we start holding men to account for their actions? Can we all agree that men are capable of making a choice for themselves even when they are being influenced or seduced?

Maybe it’s time we contextualised the clause ‘for better, for worse’.

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