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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

Reference
Regina Lynn Bailey (2012), Chromosomes and Sex http://biology.about.com/bio/Regina-Bailey-186.htm

This story was written for World Pulse’s Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
Learn more »

Comments

mrbeckbeck's picture

Amazing write up

Well done sister Kgekwi, thank you for raising your voice on these important issues.

You have solid recommendations for women and men in your community and around the world. Education and financial independence will surely go a long way to support women's lives and end violence against them.

I especially appreciate how you end the piece, noting that if men want someone to blame for a girl-child, they only need to look in the mirror! But, I agree, that men and women need to CELEBRATE the birth of a girl, not be ashamed. We're all one human family, and we need each other, men and women.

Thank you so much, I look forward to connecting online in the future.

Kind regards,

Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Manager

Ngekwi's picture

Its all thanks to you there

I am especially please to help impact lives. I pray that this may cause positive changes in the lives of many. Yes, education and financial independence are all powerful tools which if women have, can attain their goals. My worry is that, there is still much to be done for the grass root women to be able to access these information. I pray that, technology would advance such that, every village and woman will get connected so much so that, they to will be able to learn more from other peoples' experiences so that it will act as a trigger for them to step forward in life, and out of violence.

I like your point on the issue of a girl child.

Thank you again for sharing the same opinion with me

It will be a great pleasure to connecting online with you in the future

Kind regards

Leina's picture

Thank you dear sister for

Thank you dear sister for addressing such a salient issue.The situation in Cameroon is further aggravated by the fact that the customary law is still relevant.It makes it difficult for these women to seek justice.When I see women like you I am filled with so much hope for Cameroon.Change is in the horizon.So eager to read more of your inspiring works!
Blessings,
Leina

Ngekwi's picture

Thank you my dear sister

Bush fire always starts coyly, but within the twinkle of an eye, the whole place becomes consumed. Let’s pray that, as our experiences are shared, the eyes of the society will widen such that, it will erode some of this cultural constrains and women will be liberated from all forms of customary traps.
I will definitely keep sharing
thank you

Kind regards

Nakinti's picture

Hey girl!

Good one you got right here.
Keep up the contributory spirit.
I am proud of you.

Nakinti B. Nofuru
2013 VOF Correspondent
Reporter for Global Press Institute
Bamenda - Cameroon
Email: nakinti@globalpressinstitute.org
nakintin@yahoo.com

Ngekwi's picture

Hello dear

Thank you so much. I would have been nothing if not for you all. Thank you for showing me this link. All good teachers should have good students, and better women who desire to create an impact in Cameroon.
I will definitely keep it up

Greengirl's picture

Dear Sister

I really appreciate your post and it was really worth reading. I particularly share your thoughts about the difference that access to information and communication tools will make in the lives of grassroots women. We must keep supporting one another and keep advocating for an end to practices that discriminate against women.
God bless you and please keep sharing.

Olanike.

Ngekwi's picture

Thank you

Thank you very much for sharing the same thoughts with me. I will definitely not stop writing, as we strive towards overcoming all forms of discrimination against women.

God bless you

flora1's picture

I love this! All the women

I love this! All the women getting together to effect change in the life of your sister. This story shows us that we, together, can accomplish what we cannot alone.

You are a wonderful community of women and that kind of power, that kind of purpose, is why and how this world is changing.

Women are vital, important and giving. We give life, we make home, we nurture, we cherish. We are so strong. You know the old joke that if men gave birth, everyone would be an only child!? It is true. We have so much strength and power.

Thank you for raising your voice on behalf of all of us and also, for being part of a community that took matters into their hands and gave freely and lovingly to save two lives and help that little girl believe she can do something to elevate herself.

I am in awe of you and your beautiful sisters.

~f

Ngekwi's picture

Thank you

Thank you dear, we are all happy seeing our sister not only succeeding, but also prospering in good health at the present.
The old saying goes “together we stand, divided we fall” as long as we stand together, we must succeed as we put smiles in the lives of our fellow women.

God bless you

torilynnfox's picture

Hello Ngekwi

Amen! Very well said! Thank you so much for sharing this testimony with us. How wonderful to see that story moving in the right direction. If only every woman in Cameroon were as strong as you and could make a difference in every woman and girl's life. I hope that in speaking out, you will motivate others to take action and not sit idly by while violence continues unpunished.

Keep writing my sister!

Victoria

Ngekwi's picture

Hello Dear Torilynnfox

Thank you dear sister. I am sure that, there are many other women in Cameroon who are able to make similar differences in the life of women and girls. and, just like you rightly said, it is just the ability to speak out that might limit them.I pray that, many would join us in the fight against violence. we are not relenting our efforts in helping to encourage young girls and even women in furthering their studies. presently, many more women are getting enrolled into evening classes.

Thank you again so very much for reading.
I will certainly keep writing.
Ngekwi

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