Woman, no marriage is worth dying for

Monday March 11 2019

Condemning gender-based violence. PHOTO | AYUB MUIYURO | NMG

Condemning gender-based violence. PHOTO | AYUB MUIYURO | NMG 

SERAPHINE RULIGIRWA-KAMARA
By SERAPHINE RULIGIRWA-KAMARA
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It is a vicious cycle of what we have been given as the path of womanhood. One that we accepted without question and unfortunately continue to run with.

It is what ails us at the very core of who we are as women and the people that we inevitably raise. And this is how the cycle continues in its cold and vicious manner. It is not normal for a woman to die at the hands of her husband. What she may have done or failed to do is of no consequence.

A woman’s right to live is a birthright and an international human right; it is not a husband or lover’s privilege to grant.

The word ‘human’ denotes every living person but we have continually accepted women as inferior persons. The acceptance of those who not only risk but, in many cases, give their own lives to bring forth life is our society’s single largest failure.

Everyone was conceived, nourished in utero, birthed and nurtured by a woman whether by birth, adoption or contract… and yet we all fail the woman.

Our newspapers and social media are increasingly awash with brazen incidents of extreme violence against the woman to the point of normalcy.

Even fellow women find reasons to justify the violence and blame the victims. I have heard of not a single plausible excuse for killing a woman.

From sleeping with another man to ending relationships to carrying unwanted babies and everything in-between, I’m yet to learn of a reason that the menfolk simply get a slap on the hand for and praise when no one is looking.

I respect meaningful, productive and progressive tradition. When we push traditional roles and expectations of women to allow criminal behaviour among us, we, as a society, accept crime as tradition and must take responsibility for all these killings.

NORMAL LIFE

While that may take tens of years to change, I urge people to refuse to accept women’s helplessness in the situation. Those who can meaningfully take part in this conversation today were most likely brought up in polygamous families. I’m glad of you if you if yours was a happy one.

Mine and those of millions like me grew up watch verbal, physical and sexual abuse meted on our mothers, aunties, sister, grandmother, neighbours and even random strangers.

We have been conditioned to accept this as part of normal life.

This is an all-too-common long, brutal, emotional, and sad story that we owe to ourselves to end. Let’s refuse to have it recur in ours and our daughters’ lives.

Our mothers, aunties, sisters, grandmothers may not have escaped it but we all watched their lives with pain and sadness. In many ways, they sacrificed their joy that we may use their lives as good examples of what not to allow in our own lives.

Our mothers didn’t have the means and lived when empowerment was a foreign concept. Marriage is not the ultimate accomplishment by which a woman’s life achievement is measured. It only is because we, women allow it.

Marriage is an aspect of social life that ideally should add value to a woman’s life. It is not a do-or-die endeavour.

The truth is that women give up so much of what their lives could be to become wives and mothers. It has got to make sense and be a rewarding life for women who still choose it.

Any candid married woman will admit that the sacrifices are immense… and no, love doesn’t begin to make up for them.

If not for love of yourself, if not for awareness of your immense value as a human being, my fellow woman, understand that no man, relationship or marriage is worth dying for.

We are hopefully more educated, exposed, empowered and more importantly, we know better.

This narrative changes with us and the generations of confident, self-assured young women that we bring forth to live fuller accomplished lives tomorrow.

The point of a social paradigm shift on this is long past. Now we’ve got to each change our attitudes to a better one of ourselves.

You, more than anyone else know best where your shoe pinches; choose divorce or being with yourself over death if this is what your marriage or relationship comes to.

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This article was first published in Business Daily.

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