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Features, Lifestyle

Why are men silent?

Everything that a man can do, women can do it too. Hang on, I’m not talking about gender equality here. I’m talking about gender-based violence (GBV). If a man can do it, a woman can do it too.

It is unfortunate that the stories that are told often portray women as the sole victims of gender-based violence and never the perpetrators. This is mainly because men feel that they don’t have a voice but, they do!

I recently travelled from Potchefstroom with some three men who openly shared about the evils they were facing under the hands of the women they married. It is not easy for a man to be open about bedroom matters especially to other men. One of the men spoke of how his wife had told him that they were to live as sister and brother under the same roof for the sake of raising their children only. He has not been intimate with his wife for the last five years. Imagine that! How many more men are in this situation? Living with a woman that you are married to but not being intimate feels like a jail sentence. What is the man supposed to do?

In Shona we have a saying, ‘mwana asingacheme anofira mumbereko‘ a child who does not cry out will die on its mother’s back. This is exactly what is happening in our society today. Men are silently suffering from abuse. Who must speak up on their behalf? Only they can.

We have many platforms available for us to use to speak up. The police station is not the only place. If they don’t believe you there, there are other options available. Men should stop this narrative that women are stopping them from talking. How is that possible?

Men can be victims of gender-based violence too but, they don’t have to suffer in silence.

Men can be victims of gender-based violence too. Their silence is enabling the abuse to continue. It’s time men speak up. Don’t worry about whether anyone will believe you or not, speak up. It won’t make you any less of a man to confess that you’re being abused by a woman. GBV is GBV, regardless of who the perpetrator is. Women are abusive too. Women in marriages abuse men physically, emotionally, sexually and mentally. Many men have been sexually abused as boys and even now, there are boys who are being sexually abused… By women and men alike!

End the silence

Men end up being violent, depressed or suicidal when they don’t let out the feelings bottled inside. We need more centres that are safe places for men and boys. There should be more support for the men and boys in our society. We need to change the narrative that only women are abused and only men are abusive. What a man can do, a woman can do too.

I’ve read many Facebook posts on men being beaten by their partners. I ask myself, why is this man still in this situation? Marriage doesn’t mean that one partner owns the other. Marriage is supposed to be a partnership based on trust, love, loyalty, honesty and respect. Is it smooth-sailing? No. This is why there should be healthy communication between the parties involved.

The law says that if a woman doesn’t want to be intimate with her husband, she doesn’t have to. The Bible says that married people should not deny each other conjugal rights. If the couple IS MARRIED, and one spouse denies the other conjugal rights, is this not sexual abuse? Yes, two people must consent but married people consented the day they said, ‘I DO’.

About Constance van Niekerk

Constance van Niekerk, (Connie V) is a creative writer, poet, music lover, spoken word artist, freelance writer, blogger and educator. She has contributed to several anthologies and published her own collection, Echoes of My Heart: A Poetry Collection available for purchase on all Amazon Stores Worldwide. Follow her on Twitter : @convanniekerk Connect with her on Facebook and Linkedin.

Discussion

8 thoughts on “Why are men silent?

  1. We are silent because speaking out will make us the laughing stock. I have been abused, as a disabled man, by several political leaders, female doctors, females in public. Why is this OK? I didn’t apply to be disabled. I would have loved good health.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by barefoot | Sep 21, 2021, 15:38

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