The little that we do is not nearly enough
If there is something profoundly sickening about the monotonous regularity with which domestic violence is claiming the lives of our womenfolk, what is even more disturbing is the sense one gets that the decibel level of public protestations notwithstanding, we are, on the whole, indifferent to the carnage.
The killings, some of which are administered in the most gruesome manner, are attended by the customary reports in the media and the subsequent public pronouncements from the various organizations that champion women’s causes. They come and go in a routine manner as if the message that lies behind the way in which the killings are treated is that we must learn to live with them.
At no point does it appear to have occurred to the judicial system, the police, civil society and politicians alike that more, much more needs to be done to discourage the violence that claims women’s lives at the rate of at least one a month these days. Indeed, we appear to have arrived at a formula for treating with violence against comprising equal measures of outraged condemnation and pronouncements detailing the measures that have been put in place to curb the practice. These measures do not work not only because they are, in themselves inadequate but because such initiatives lack consistency, lasting only long enough to ‘see off’ the shock and horror of the last incident.
We know as well – despite protestations to
the contrary – that the law enforcement agencies themselves – particularly the police – continue to be grossly under-sensitized to the seriousness of the problem of violence against women, that inadequacy being a function of an embedded ‘ideology’ that renders the brutalization of women a socially acceptable occurrence among our men folk……….so that when a woman is slaughtered and mutilated during the course of some domestic falling out, it comes across as another murder to be investigated rather than an occurrence that gives reason for the ramping up of the campaign to stop violence against women.
Perhaps, in the fullness of time, our society will come to accept that by doing as little as we do at this time to reduce the scourge of violence against women we are, in effect, part and parcel of the indignity of a collective shame that speaks volumes about the quality of our own lives. At the moment it may seem that the wanton slaughter of our women is no more than a convenient theme upon which our politicians and our do-gooders can pronounce from time to time. It may seem that the doors behind which we live our own lives are firmly bolted against such horrors and indignities until one day we come face to face with the reality that our neighbour’s horror is a collective burden, a collective shame which we share.
Perhaps a point has been reached where an issue such as violence against women is moved to the very centre of our political gender since one can think of a range of far less important issues upon which we contemplate every day and such contemplation does little if anything to take us forwards as a nation. Perhaps a point has long been reached where Cabinet and the National Assembly can significantly enhance the quality of their respective agendas by setting aside entire sittings to contemplate this monstrous aberration and their determine just how we are to go about bettering the situation. Perhaps, too, we ought to set aside a special day – perhaps a week – during which all of us are compelled through one public event or another – to reflect on the horror of violence against women and what, sometimes, are the gruesome consequences thereof.