Men Also Suffering at the Hands of Women
MEN ALSO SUFFERING AT THE HANDS OF WOMEN
It’s early Wednesday morning and after taking my customary breakfast; I open the newspaper to browse through the top stories before starting my work plan for the day. My heart drops as I read the headline: “Woman kills hubby over phone texts.”
What frightens me most is that this is not the first reported story during the week where a man was murdered by his wife in a case of domestic violence. Only the previous day, social media was awash with the story of a Chitungwiza man who bled to death after his wife cut his manhood following a domestic dispute. Shivers go down my spine as it dawns on me that gone are the days when women were always the ones on the receiving end of domestic violence and abuse. Now, women have awakened from the deep slumber and are firing from all cylinders. With the emancipation of women, the fairer sex is fast catching up with their masculine counterparts and encroaching in what was predominantly male territory like rape, physical assault and murder. The clear message, and a very strong warning to all men is that there is need to pull up their socks as women are no longer the punch bags they presumed they were. Some have actually evolved to become fiery monsters.
In the past years I would read endless stories about women beaten, tortured, murdered and massacred by their husbands. Very few cases, if any, were reported about men who were abused by women. Every year the police would handle thousands of cases of women who suffered abuse at the hands of men. Such brutality drew serious condemnation from various quarters resulting in the enactment of laws to protect the fairer sex from abuse. In the year 2007, the government of Zimbabwe passed into law the Domestic Violence Act, aimed at reducing violence cases, mostly suffered by women, by unleashing the full wrath of the law on the perpetrators. This Act complements the Victim Friendly Unit (VFU) that has been in existence since the late 1990s which sits within the police, social welfare and the courts to deal with cases of abuse such as physical assault and rape, where the victim is vulnerable.
After the 2005 general elections, the new government announced by the Head of State included, for the first time, a special ministry to deal with women issues, the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development. Subsequent governments since then have always had this ministry. The creation of this Ministry was applauded as it was felt it recognised women as a disadvantaged group that needed support.
The tables have turned now and men are increasingly finding the going tough at the hands of women. Although the majority of violence victims are still women, it is the alarming rate at which women are getting involved in violence that makes me worried. If the current media stories are anything to go by, then men are really in for a high jump. In the first seven days of March 2015, the media had at least six major stories about men who were at the receiving end of violence and abuse. First, was the story of a Chitungwiza woman, who cut her husband’s manhood after allegedly stumbling upon some love messages from a girlfriend in his phone. A day later, it was another Chitungwiza woman - God save our beautiful Chi-town - who stabbed her husband three times using kitchen knives, also following a domestic dispute. Chitungwiza was not yet done as two days later; a woman from the popular town was reported in the Newsday publication to have been dragged before to the courts after sexually assaulting a male mental patient from her neighbourhood. At the same time, a Victoria Falls woman was in the court after beating up her husband who had had refused to allow her to attend the 21st February Movement Gala held in the resort town. There were several other violence and abuse cases perpetrated by women, reported from different parts of the country, all confirming that the sun is finally setting for the muscular sex.
While women have been encouraged to report domestic abuse to the police, the same cannot be said about their male counterparts, many of whom continue to suffer in silence as they find it shameful to report abuse perpetrated by women. Considering that men are embarrassed to report cases of domestic violence, the media stories that we read could just be a tip of the iceberg. Male victims are often reluctant to report abuse by women because they are embarrassed, or they fear they won't be believed, or ridiculed, or worse, that the police will assume that since they are male they are the perpetrator of the violence and not the victim. It has been reported that police officers actually break into laughter when a man comes to the police station to report that he has been beaten by his wife. Generally, women are regarded as the weaker sex and for a “real man” to shed a tear and come forward to report abuse at the hands of a woman brings the highest level of ridicule. What the law enforcement agents need to understand is that things have changed and more and more men are getting a hiding from the women they paid roora for; women are not a commodity. There is therefore need to give equal importance to cases brought forward by male victims.
It is high time concerted efforts are made to educate men so that they do not continue to suffer abuse in silence, but rise up and seek justice. Many men who are in abusive relationships suffer from denial, that is, they refuse to accept that there is a problem, hoping that their spouses will change. However denial won’t solve the problem but only help to keep it alive. While many community programmes have been implemented to empower women and give them strength to report abuses, the same needs to be extended to men who are still shy to report abuse. Our society should not continue to act as if its only women who are abused. It is only fair if equal effort and resources are channeled towards supporting men in abusive situations so that they open up, find help and be freed from the dungeons of misery they find themselves in.
It is no longer a secret that some men are suffering at the hands of women, and as trending media stories would prove, this is not just a fallacy, but an area that needs attention from all stakeholders.
Fortune Madhuku 12.11.15