The cases of assault against women are being reported more and more this year.
After much thought (and due to something that happened to me last night), I have come to realize what it will take to slowly make molestation and rape the national shame that it ought to be-as opposed to the run of the mill event that it is today.
I have male friends who will accuse me of behaving like a victim when I say what I’m about to say. But I’m going to say it anyway.
Women in Uganda are fucked.
I have friends who respect women, yes. But for the most part, they are infantilized by men. I’ll give as an example me having a debate with an elderly gentleman, who called me ‘a little girl’, and wanted me to know ‘how I should behave in my culture as a woman’.
This man did not like the fact that I was calling him out on the shit he was talking, and tried to ‘put me in my place’ with threatening gestures and insults. I (mentally) bunched my little hands into fists and we sparred until he was silent.
That fully brought home to me the dangers of men having an entitled sense of superiority over women. Simply because they’ve got a penis.
My male friends will say, “Where are these men, lindsey, who think disrespecting women is the norm?! Nga me I don’t. He! Prove to us!”
They are even among you, you blind and deaf defiant talkers.
Just yesterday, an old school friend shared a facebook status where he was abusing his sick baby momma (whom he no longer loves of course), for expecting him to visit her in the hospital when he’d planned the day for his daughter. Given to him by said baby momma.
His words went something like, “The bond between a parent and a child is more important than that between adults. Look at this stupid woman. What a stupid woman, expecting me to cancel my time with her daughter for her!”
My issue is not his complete lack of feeling for said woman. It is his sharing his contempt in a forum where we all know him, and we all know the said woman. Shortly after that, the ‘men of today’ came out. Supporting their friend for loving his child, and for not being ashamed for sharing his feelings.
I told you women are fucked aren’t they?
There is a need for this disrespect to end. This can only happen in two ways.
1. Spend next ten years weeding out molesters, defilers, rapists and all sexual deviants. Then start over, with a course in all levels of education teaching men that, “Without woman, there would be no man. So watch yourself”.
2. Women need to demand the respect. So that every man who disrespects a woman, and does not get away with it, is afraid to do it again because, quite simply, he’s tasted the fire.
Now, quite honestly, one day I shall die for demanding respect. I have only this year started learning how to let slights go. It is hard, but I am learning that not all battles have to be fought. Last night, however, I’d had a really bad day, and I was forced to fight a very small battle.
It was about 9.30 pm and I was on my way home. It was still early for my neighbourhood, so people were about, shops were open etc. I’m passing these two young men who say, “Welcome back, nyabo”. Their tone was seductive. A quick glance in their direction confirmed that they were strangers to me.
I ignored them and continued on my way. They followed me with the same phrase. I continued ignoring them. One of them, becoming desperate for my attention, grabbed my wrist.
“Hey, madam, we are greeting you…”
I wrenched my wrist from his grasp and walked towards him quickly, forcing him to walk backwards at a rapid pace. I was short, quick and to the point. I was not angry. I just thought the time had come to teach a young fool a lesson.
“I do not know you. You do not know me. As a man, everytime you approach a woman at night, or follow her, or even touch her, you are putting your life in danger. If you can do this when there are people about, I have to assume that if there are no people about, you are a rapist. Lucky for me, the police station is like, 5 meters from here. Let me just scream, get some attention, and I’m sure you’ll be escorted there safely”.
I paused here to give him time to respond, all the while maintaining a steely and forbidding glance. He responded very quickly.
“What?! No, I’m just saying hello!”
“Yes, I know you are,” I said. “You’re obviously some really stupid teenager. But had you been older, you wouldn’t be so lucky. Get away from me, and in the future, never approach a woman you do not know after dark”.
He and his friend scampered off right quick. Of course, he may ignore my advice, but I just wanted women and men to know this.
As women, it is up to us to not allow ourselves to be victims.
But that does not mean we cannot demand that men be courteous.