If your husband beats you, it is OK. Excusable. By virtue of him being your ‘beloved’ husband, he has a right to thrash you. Not any man. Just your husband.
That was the insinuation by one lady who exchanged some choice words with a guy she was quarreling with a few weeks ago.
I was minding my own business when I stumbled upon a man and a woman trading insults, throwing them back and forth relentlessly. I couldn’t figure out what the argument was about, or whether the two were acquaintances, friends or total strangers. They definitely were not lovers, that I could tell.
The man was furious. He seemed more incensed by the audacity of the woman to pick a fight with him, a man, than anything else. The lady was equally upset. Seemingly from the demeaning way the man regarded her. Whatever their beef was, I got the impression that this was a gender warfare veiled as a disagreement. The argument had ‘Adam Vs Eve’ written all over it.
If he bothered to speak his mind, the man would have said it blatantly: ‘You are a woman, how dare you answer ME back? Don’t you know your place? Don’t you realize what you, a weakling, are putting yourself up against? I can shut you up with one swing of my fist!’ He chose to bark at her instead “Nitakutandika!” when all the insults of “Malaya! Mjinga! Ghasia!” did nothing to cow the woman.
Every insult directed towards the woman only helped to bring out her claws. While she responded with; “Bure Kabisa, Mwanamume aina gani wewe…Ati Mjinga? Mjinga ni wewe!” I was almost sure she was thinking: ‘Who do you think you are? Where do you get off talking to me like that? I am not scared of you! Why should I be scared of you anyway, because you are a man? What gives you the right to insult me?’ She had been doing well. She stood her ground and gave the arrogant bloke a piece of her mind. I was even rooting for her inwardly. Then she said it: “Utanitandika?!” she asked, more amused than surprised. “Utanitandika, kwani wewe ni Bwanangu?”
See? I told you – Her husband was the only person in her books, who had authority to hit her. Not some stranger who picks an argument with her on the streets of Nairobi! I walked away feeling sorry for her. And for all the women like her. Good thing is that the man was all talk but no action and he did not follow through with his threat.
The infamous Kidero to Shebesh slap landed a few days later. Shebesh gave a statement, as would be expected, to vehemently condemn Kidero’s actions. Then she said it. That her beloved husband, had never hit her, not once, in all the life they’d known each other.
Was he supposed to? Had she been hit before by her husband, would she be ok with Kidero having a go at her too? Do we subconsciously expect abuse in marriage? In relationships? Should we count ourselves extremely lucky when we end up in a non-abusive marriage? Does a wedding band come with a license to hit?
At the risk of coming off as a Kibitzer, let me put this out there: Your husband is not supposed to hit you and if he doesn’t, please understand that he is not doing you a favor!
There are men who will justify abuse by swearing that women have to be whipped to form from time to time. That in essence, “they whip not the woman, but the devil inside her” – and I am quoting someone here. Sick, innit?
I am reminded of the movie D’jango unchained. Tell me if you don’t despise Leo’s character. Tell me if watching this movie, you don’t wonder, just for a millisecond, where the romantic, artistic, oh-so-handsome young Dicaprio from Titanic went to. What’s with the ugly beard anyway? His character Mr. Calvin Candie (who is no candy if I might add) is a proud slave owner who uses arrogant lines like “Broomhilda is my property. And I can choose to do with my property, whatever I so desire.” (Picture him sticking out his chest and dropping his voice a notch deeper while saying that).
Mr. Candie tries to justify slavery using the Science of Phrenology. He takes pains to demonstrate his point using a human skull taken from one of his deceased slaves. Pointing at a part of the cranium which phrenologists believe to be associated with submissiveness and ‘tameability’, he observes that it is enlarged in Africans more than in any other species. What does that mean? That Africans, are psychologically wired to slavery.
“Why don’t they kill us?” he asks. He wonders why the slaves, in all their numbers, do not rise up and fight back, insinuating that Africans must have a master. All he was doing is giving them what they needed – The privilege of being their master.
Are you repulsed yet?
To abusive husbands, could it be that sometimes the line is blurred and you feel like you kinda, sorta, purchased your wife – what with paying all that dowry from your hard earned cash – and like Calvin Candie, you can choose to do with ‘your property’ whatever you so desire? You may be tempted to think that she is yours to do with as you please; love, hit, dress, abuse, insult, praise, keep, throw out in the cold… You are human. You get carried away? For real?
Evidently, oppressive people will go to great lengths to justify their behavior. But do you know what the real tragedy is? The real tragedy is not that some men try to sell such abhorrent practices to the masses. The ultimate tragedy is that there are women who believe that bullshit.
A real man knows how to control his anger. Hitting a woman is archaic behavior ill behooving of men who claim to be an advanced, more civilized version of the homo habilis. Hitting a woman is deplorable as it is abominable. Say it, Kidero! Say it like you mean it!