In the shadowy world of domestic violence, there is a blatant but apparently hidden secret that has remained cocooned in most men’s hearts and bodies; husband beating. Going and going are the days when men would predetermine what to do and when to do it for their spouses, draft the plan and supervise the execution.
But times have changed, really changed. Domestic violence against men by women is steadily pointing north. And even though it is widely held that women are always the victims, today’s women are becoming perpetrators of domestic abuse and violence. A violence that has not only afflicted and inflicted the frail and deprived men, but prominent faces like politicians are also reportedly getting their unfair share of whips and fists from their stronger women, who barely have the built of a gymnast or a WWE diva.
The indelible and beyond-negotiable right, held by men as the head of the house, is not only facing a challenge but is being reversed. Call it an abomination, a curse, offending the gods and et cetera, the husband-battering woman seem to be hardly listening. The transformation has perhaps witnessed an increase over the years as the call and incessant campaign for gender equality and affirmative action by women has led to the sprouting of a DIY (Do it Yourself) kind of woman. This is a woman who is a go-getter, strong, hands-on, ambitious, independent, supportive - to her children- and can do what a man would dare do and more besides. While this is a strike in the right direction for the Eve group, it has brought problems to the Adam group in many family circles. With men upholding a hard stance on their right to be head of the house, most women are increasingly trying to change this scenario. This is bearing fruit, especially for the women who are more affluent and stronger than their husbands.
It is really a serious thing, especially in an Africa that believes that the man should and must always reign supreme and have his way, whether he is being housed by the wife or whether she earns more. The man should have his preferred meal ready when he wants it, even if he comes home late at night after a booze with his bar-mates.
And while Africa has traditions, many traditions, most of which hinder women from engaging in any physicality, African women are rising above the physical stereotypes and beginning to show their men how things are done - including how to beat, or is it, be beaten. Though some men have tried hard to hide behind their misery and suffering, some of them, who wouldn’t just take it anymore have come out of their cocoons and sought for help. May be it’s just about time for the suffering of these men to end – it’s gone on for too long.
But who will protect the men?
While quite vociferous and supportive organizations exist to protect women from domestic violence, helpless men have been left to rise above their female superiors unaided, something that most of them have found not only intricate, but punishing at times. Why would they even try anyway? After all, it is a large figure of men who endorsed, and are still endorsing laws that protect women from domestic violence, without including a clause for men facing such dominance from their female counterparts.
The “beaten man” has been left to scroll and fabricate for excuses in front of their men folk, lest they become a laughing stock. Falling as a result of drunkenness, slipping on a muddy surface, an accident and a bar brawl have become common scapegoats for men who have scars and stitches on their faces. While this might be true for some, others have had themselves stitched as a result of husband battering.
Organizations to protect men from domestic violence and abuse have been and are still coming out. But some of these men’s-right organizations have become like a false dawn, which has been whisked away, sometimes, by public ridicule, while some of the cases have been dismissed as some storm in a teacup.
But is it a shame or “un-African” for a man to beaten by his wife? May be it is. May be it’s not. But the storm clouds are gathering and the future does look bleaker and bleaker for the man as many of them still shy away.
The bleak future may catch up with many. So for the many men-cum-punching bags out there who are getting whipped and punch-drunk, it is time to stand up and be counted. Failure to which, your predicaments will not find a clause in the law books and you will continue to stagger on the canvas.
And that's the Steifmastertake!