Recently the Forum for Women Parliamentarians and the National Women’s Council organized celebrations to mark the International 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. The selected theme for this year’s celebrations is: Demanding Implementation, Challenging Obstacles: End Violence Against Women; and there is no more befitting theme for action than this in the face of more daunting challenges to women in their relationship with their male counterparts. And this relationship is growing worse by the day.
Chief Justice Aloysia Cyanzaire disclosed last Tuesday that up to 1000 cases of rape had been registered by the courts for trial this year. This is just reported cases – the ones that go unreported are much more than this, let alone other cases of abuse like beatings by their spouses.
The times women used to suffer in dumb silence are long over. But the rural women especially need much more than city mumbo jumbo about violence – they need to be vigorously and constantly reminded that they should never suffer in silence at the hands of male ruffians.
Some form of exposition can also work wonders. Women need to talk about their family troubles more openly in their work groups when weaving agaseke and other development activities. Men are naturally extremely proud fellows, and the fear of exposition will belay some, and the stubborn others will eventually be brought up sharp by the fast-changing climate against violence.
Like family planning, these educative seminars should not be a women-only affair. They are in together with their spouses, so, pull as many men as possible to these sessions – after all it is they who perpetuate the violent acts, so they specially need both the talks as well as the tongue lashing.
For the men, the days of old when men were admired for ruling their households with iron hands are indeed history. Men should learn that women are more productive when happy, and so the family benefits more from a less harassed mother than an unhappy, abused one.
Go girls. Increase the pressure against gender violence.