Cameroonian Women, Fight Violence and Stand
The world does not rotate around men. Must women remain and die in the hands of some wild beast called men in the name of love and marriage? I say no. A woman was given unto man by God to hold, love and cherish, and not for battering.
It is no news nowadays that most women have become punching bags in the hands of their husbands in Cameroon. It is of my opinion that, most cultures out-rightly promote it because; there are no logical explanations as to why, most men will hit their wives with no remorse, and go scot-free. And because of this lukewarm attitude of the state, many women have lost their lives while others are suffering of ill health as a result of male violence.
After spending some time in Konye in the Southwest Region of Cameroon, I had an awful experience which gave me an ugly impression of most men. The ordeal my neighbour’s wife Mme Concilia went through was not something worth remembering. She is a very beautiful lady, hard working, and a mother of four. The Health Unit in that locality had become her second home. Most of the nights to her were nights of wrestling. There were moments she will run out of her house naked, either with a broken nose, swollen eye or broken arm. Her husband usually beat her up and even tore off her cloths. The situation had become so unbearable such that, the village chief had to get involve. When the man was asked why he treated his wife so cruelly?
“She is an illiterate”. Her husband responded.
Ironically, amongst his four children, three were boys and a girl child. He loved his male children so much while discriminating against the female child. His daughter suffered the same fate as her mother in his hands. He sent his boys to school, and paid no attention to the girl child. To him, her place was in the kitchen beside her mother. His response enraged the women. They quarreled him also for not sponsoring the only daughter he has if his true reason for constantly beating up his wife was because she is an illiterate.
“I did not bargain for a female child when I married her. I wanted only boys and not a girl child.” He replied
We the women became furious, but held our peace for the final judgement to be made by the chief. The chief asked the Mme Concilia to go back to her parent’s house if the man persisted with that attitude, but the woman refused. She said she had married her husband for better or for worse and so, she will not leave because she still loves him. She further added that, even if she chose to go, she can not leave her children behind. Mme Concilia added that she was ready to endure all because of her kids. At the end of the day, there was very little the chief could do for her besides giving a word of warning to the man not to repeat his brutality. The man acted maturely for three months and then went right back to his former ways. This time, he punched the wife on her chest shortly after she got back from the farm. She went unconscious and was rushed to the Health unit again.
This time, we the women in the neighbourhood were all tired of the situation and so came up with a plan.
Firstly, we all went to the man’s house, and warned him, stating that, if ever he laid a hand on our sister again, we will all beat him up. We also asked him to take care of all her medical bills after a serious medical check-up was done on her.
Our next action was that, each woman contributed five hundred francs CFA and gave Mme Concilia to start up a business. Because we had discovered that, most of the other women who were bringing in some financial income into their homes were respected by their husbands. She started cooking food and selling when she was discharged from the Health Unit. From the business, she got a house of her own where she took her daughter along with her. She struggled and sent her daughter to school, but could only end at primary six where she obtained her first school leaving certificate.
Cathy haven’t experience what her mother went through, did not want to be left behind in her education. She swore that no man will ever lay a hand on her again or insult her that she is illiterate just like her father had constantly done to her mother. Cathy’s mother was unable to help her daughter attain her goal, so Cathy decided to pick up a job as a nanny so as to gather some money and learn a trade. Haven’t gotten closer to her, I advised her to plead with the family she was to work for to send her to an evening school in exchange for her services. This she did and thanks be to God, she is in form two today at Salvation Secondary School Buea excelling in her studies.
NB: my advice is that; let no woman sit and fold her arms waiting for a man to provide all her needs. A woman who is financially empowered can not be tempered with by any man just any how. The man will think twice before lifting a finger on such a woman. So please my dear sisters, get busy with any small business that can earn you some money. It does not matter how small you may start off, what matters is your seriousness and determination to succeed. You will surely reach your goal.
Again, Education is another important key. Our knowledge can not be stolen or taken away from us. Education will never fail us. So please women, in our own small capacity, let’s do our best to educate our children especially the girl child. Educating the girl child is educating nations. A majority of our rural women who are involved in small businesses may complain of their husbands eating off their hands and even taking their little earnings, but when a woman is educated, the knowledge can never be taken away from her. She will be able to walk the corridors of politics with men and she will be able to actively influence decisions for her fellow women. Looking at the case of Cathy, she has taken a bold step to step out of violence through her education. Offering her services as a nanny in exchange for her education shows how determined Cathy is. Never say there is no way, for there is always a way hen there is the will.
Furthermore, I really pray that, women should get to know their rights, to know where to go when they find themselves in such marital situations. Cameroonian rural women should be able to know that the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Women Empowerment have their doors constantly open for them. Please women, do not cut off your self from other women, join tontines (small njangi groups) to be able to learn from one another and better our situations. We are not islands and should therefore not live as one. Presently, my neighbour Mme Concilia has joined about three different tontine groups after moving out of her husband’s house. She is self reliant, living healthy, and able to support her children financially. At present, her husband runs after her for forgiveness. He regrets all that he had done to her. It is only after she left that he saw her importance, but it is too late for him because, she has vowed never to return to her vomit again.
Most women turn to blame themselves when they give birth to female children. It is not our fault as women what sex we give birth to. What the man gives us is what we give back. As women, we have the XX chromosomes while the men have the XY chromosomes therefore, if the Y chromosomes fertilizes the female egg which only contains the X chromosomes, then she will have male children while if the man releases X chromosomes, he should expect a female child. This is even more explicit when, Bailey (2012) posits that the male gametes or sperm cells in humans and other mammals are heterogametic and contain one of two types of sex chromosomes. They are either X or Y. The female gametes or eggs however, contain only the X sex chromosome and are homogametic. The sperm cell determines the sex of an individual in this case. If a sperm cell containing an X chromosome fertilizes an egg, the resulting zygote will be XX or female. If the sperm cell contains a Y chromosome, then the resulting zygote will be XY or male.
Hence women stop blaming your selves for situations you have no control over. Again, what is wrong with having a girl child? God was not stupid when he created us male and female. Girl children are as important as male children.
Above all, God remains our solution. Having a positive mindset and being assertive will help us climb the social ladder and break free from all forms of prejudice
Regina Lynn Bailey (2012), Chromosomes and Sex http://biology.about.com/bio/Regina-Bailey-186.htm