Gender based violence must fall

At the heart of most GBV cases is the deafening silence of those who are close by. I believe that what we are witnessing now is not a habit that is newly found. GBV was previously named domestic abuse, we even had “16 days” dedicated to it. This is nothing new, but the fact that it is not new is really appalling and speaks to how our culture has systematically normalized GBV. Patriarchy is at the forefront of this. The fact that for generations women were, and still are relegated to roles that are perceived to be less than those of men is testament enough.

One disturbing fact that the majority of the much publicized GBV cases have in common is that the perpetrators are African men! I think this one pierces more because of a direct effect it has on me as an African man. I am now perceived by my sisters as a threat when I should be an ally in war that we are fighting together. Women, more in particular African women are already forced to deal patriarchy, sexism, racism, and poverty, they should not have to add GBV by African men on to their already heavy burden.

I have noticed that most of the perpetrators had a close relationship with their victims and in light of this I blame myself for some of the conversations I’ve had with the boys and not spoken out against, for allowing comments like “if your girl is out of line, you slap some sense into her” to go on unchecked. For being complicit in the notion that a woman is a man’s possession. For being complicit in the culture that breeds women who are entirely dependent on men financially and otherwise, a culture that does not empower young girls to be independent, a culture that brainwashes women and strips them of their value the same way it did to African people and convinced them that they are less valuable than their Anglo counterparts. I also blame women who continue to perpetuate the stereotype that a source of everything a woman needs is in the hands of a man. I blame mothers who tell their daughters to suck it up and remain in abusive relationships for financial gain. I blame fathers who are absent in their children’s lives. I blame fathers who continue to model a wrong father figure for their sons. I blame leaders who publicly condemn GBV but privately practice it. I blame others like me who continue to choose silence in favour of the path full of resistance and unpopular opinion. I blame our sisters who perpetuate the stereotype that a woman is nothing more than her ass by posting pictures that thirst trap men and contributes further towards degrading the dignity of women.

The amount of uproar against GBV that we see on social media should be part of our daily lives. I firmly believe that no one snaps in a moment and kills his girlfriend. I believe that there are tattle tellers that are ignored by our sisters. My dear sister, if he slaps you just once, do not give him the opportunity to do it again. Run for your life regardless of how much you love him. Run and never look back.

To my brothers, we need to heal and unlearn a lot of things. The healing process is not going to happen over night but is a process. Let us not be complicit or active participants in GBV cases. Let us stand firmly against it and help each other in overcoming the hurts we have. Let us not allow the bottle to dictate our lives. Let us make it normal to say “I Love you” to each other without the fear of sounding “homo”. Let us learn to articulate and communicate our feelings. Let us find hobbies that allow us a form of stress relief. We are the problem and the solution is also in us! Let us do better gents!
Evil prevails when good men standby and keep silent, let us speak out!

Long Live Love!

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