Last week, my friend was lamenting about how she was treated when she got into an argument with a young man. According to her, the young man jumped the queue at an ATM point and she firmly told to go back and join the queue.
Instead of the guy to join the queue like common sense requires, he started calling unprintable names. He called her a whore who came to withdraw money her sugar daddy sent her. He said he was sure that she doesn’t work but depend on her ‘bottom power’ to make money.
My friend ignored him but he won’t stop insulting her. She returned the favour and started calling the son of a whore and one who was raised with the proceeds of local prostitution. They went back and forth for minutes until some of the people on the queue started telling my friend to stop insulting him because he is a man.
She told me that that was when she lost her cool. She told them to shut up and mind their business like they were doing when the guy was calling her names just because she asked him to do the right thing. She reminded them that they didn’t reprimand him for call her a prostitute but are now quick to tell her not to return the favour. She asked them why they felt it was bad for her to insult someone who didn’t respect her in the first place.
She told me she was so angry because that wasn’t the first time something like that happened to her. She said she noticed that when something happens between a man and a woman, people are quick to exonerate the man and blame the woman. They allow men get away with hurting, harming and insulting women but when the woman fights back or returns the insults being thrown at her, the same people remind her top keep quiet and stop talking back when a man is talking.
This is why Nigerian men don’t respect women. This is why these men think the world begins and ends with their manhood. This is why you see men who treat their wives like doormats being begged by men and women alike to at least treat her like a human being. This is why men get away with a lot in this society and it is appalling. This is why some men have taken it a step further by provoking women and expecting them to keep quiet and not fight back.
Men are not superior beings. Women are not inferior to men. Women are not to be treated badly by men because of their gender. Men shouldn’t get away with disrespecting women because they believe they are superior to women. This society should stop treating men like demi-gods especially when they do something bad. People should stop telling women not to talk back when men are verbally abusing them. They should face these men and tell them to stop what they are doing. That is how sane people behave.
If people turn a blind eye when men do something wrong, they don’t have the moral justification to call out women when they do the same thing. That is being hypocritical. If a man breaks the rules, he should be called to order. If a man beats his wife, he should be reported to the police and dealt with. If he doesn’t go about beating men who provoke him, he shouldn’t be laying his hands on his wife. If he can exercise restraint outside his home, he should do the same with his wife and children.
Last week, I read the story of a pregnant woman who was beaten to death by her husband. She was a lawyer who got married in 2014. According to the first report posted by a popular blogger, the man was always beating her, both families were aware of the beatings and they begged the man to stop beating his wife. Unfortunately, their pleas fell on deaf ears as he killed her with their unborn baby after beating her. I hope both families are happy now. After reading that story, I was numb for hours. I cried afterwards because I couldn’t understand how someone would beat his pregnant wife to begin with.
When a man beats a woman, instead of people around to face him and caution him, they will ask the woman what she did to him to warrant him beating her. I don’t understand why this is so common in this society. Is a woman a little child who should be beaten? Why should an adult be beating another adult because of her gender and people think this is okay?
Someone claimed that women have fish brains and need corrective beatings from their husbands so that they can behave better. This is someone’s son, he was raised by a woman and yet he believes that women like his mother have fish brains. Such blatant disrespect shouldn’t be encouraged. When I asked him who should beat him when he misbehaves since he has a goat brain, he said I shouldn’t disrespect him.
On my way to the gym one morning, I saw a woman bleeding holding her phone and running after a guy who looked like a tout. The woman who was among those who swept Lagos roads every morning was crying. She was following this guy who was holding a stick and crying. This woman should be in her fifties. I moved closer to find out what was happening. She told me the guy punched her because she told him to leave a spot she was sweeping.
One thing I noticed was how some of the passers by ignored her. They didn’t look at her twice. Some of the young guys who stopped held her while her attacker was escaping. They didn’t say anything to the guy, they didn’t ask him questions, they didn’t beat him up for beating an elderly woman, they didn’t caution him or threaten him and they didn’t even hold him and insist he treats her wound. They were busy asking the woman what she did to the guy that made him punch her. Some told her to leave it for God. Others were asking her if she wanted to die by chasing the guy. They reminded her that he was dangerous and shouldn’t be joked with.
I shook my head in pity not only for that poor, helpless woman but for myself and other women in this society. As a woman, if a man hurts you, he will go scot free but you will be blamed for what he did to you. If a man cheats on you, you must have done something that pushed him to look at other women and have sex with them. If a man rapes you, you must have seduced him with your dressing. If a man hits you, you provoked him with your words and actions. If your man dies, you killed him so that you can be free to jump around with other men. It is always a woman’s fault when a man hurts her. What did women do wrong in this society?
The annoying thing about men disrespecting women in this society is that when women share their stories, some men will be quick to tell them that not all men are bad. They will tell these women to stop generalizing. They will be quick to shut these women down with the ‘Not all men are bad’ anthem but these same men stand by and do nothing when their fellow men disrespect women and treat them badly. These same men will suddenly go blind, deaf and dumb when they witness a man treating a woman horribly.
When good men do nothing, bad men will continue to hurt women. Until men start standing up to their men who disrespect women, the abuse of the female gender won’t stop in this society. It is not enough to claim there are good men when these issues are raised, what are the supposed good men doing to stop the bad men from abusing, hurting, raping and killing women? What do these supposed good men do when they see their friends hurting women? We should stop lying to ourselves. Women deserve respect just like men. This society should stop empowering men to disrespect women. Respect is reciprocal; if you don’t want to be disrespected, don’t disrespect a woman.