International Women's Day 2011! A living Hell for some Women.
I sat today in my little box-like office, where i work more like a volunteer (no salary). I was looking through the list in which i have registered women's group who intend to take part on the March Past on March 8th 2012. Before i could look through the list and the interesting names of groups ( like conscious sisters, encouraging ladies, farmers wives, star women, enlightened girls, women of substance), I was frequently interrupted by another woman or group of women who have come to register their groups. At the end of the day today, i realized i have registered 310 groups so far who are anxiously waiting to parade the Bamenda Commercial Avenue on March 8th. Many more are still expected to register though. I do my best to tell them to "enjoy responsibly." As they make their way out of my box office that contains a small plain four leg table, I say to myself "God help the women of Cameroon."
This takes me back to Women's Day 2011, by then i was not working for the Delegation of Women's Empowerment and the Family. It was a colorful evening after Match Past in the town of Buea. Women were in their hundreds gathered in a celebration ground awaiting a famous female Cameroonian musician to animate for the night. I sat in my own corner with my friend over a bottle of beer each. All of a sudden a sharp cry came from some direction and crowds rushed there to see what the matter was. Can you guess what happened? A woman's husband came from home and met his wife celebrating with other women, and he decided to broke his wife's head with the bottle of 'Orange Juice' that she was drinking. Before we got there, this woman has bled so badly, and she was lying on the floor half dead. well wishers rushed her to the hospital - I prayed in my heart that she survived the violence. The violent husband said "my wife has not come home to serve my evening meal." I looked at my watch and it was 7:40.
We resumed our sits and continued drinking. Before we could sip our bottles, there was commotion in another angle. We rushed again to this battle field. This time, a guy was beating her girlfriend for drinking in a public place. This girl's new braids were uprooted by her boyfriend leaving her whole face red and swollen. The guy dragged her towards his car. Thank God well wishers were always around to rescue the already battered women.
One by one, women started leaving, that they are going home to avoid embarrassment from their partners (since the musician took to long to show up). Some stayed, and some drank to stupor . Some danced to the extent that they carried their Kabba (traditional Cameroonian gown worn by women) to their heads exposing the color of their pants. Some women shouted "it is our day, we should do all what we want today." Others say "today is the day for our husbands to do all the house work." Others say "out of 365 days in a year we have just one day, so lets enjoy." It was a fun filled evening.
Before the long awaited musician could come, I received a telephone call "Nakinti please come home, Ni will kill me." That was my neighbor, Celine calling me that her husband is beating her for coming home at 9:00pm. I could not imagine. In that confusion, the musician came in, and in that excitement of her arrival, i was annoyingly going home to meet my battered neighbor.
I got home, Celine has been rushed to the hospital for a broken arm. I had to rush to the hospital to spend the night with her at the hospital. She couldn't sleep because of pains. We sat discussing about the matter until we were stopped by a radio comment.
Horrible! A journalist of a radio station was announcing the death of a woman whose husband beat her mercilessly in the morning for refuting his orders. The husband of this woman got the wife well beaten at the roadside as she waits to take a taxi to the match past ground. The said woman died on the spot and was taken to the mortuary. The husband was taken to the police station for interrogation. The question is 'will justice be served?" We all know the kind of country we are living in.
This has been the characteristics of March 8th in Cameroon. This year, I have been praying for the women of Cameroon to thread with caution. More meaning should be attached to this day. Justice should take its course in our country. For there is no justification for BATTERY.