An interesting question has been floating around this past week that I would like to help answer. The question at hand is: “What is a man to do when he finds his wife in bed with another person?”
The impetus behind this question, asked rhetorically, was that it was obvious that if a man found his wife in bed with someone else, he would have to become violent and perhaps even murderous.
Still, throughout time immemorial, women have found their husbands in a number of compromising positions. Yet, there is hardly any standard that says a wife must respond with violence. In fact, logic dictates that rational thought should take precedence to giving oneself over to wild illogical rage. Well, at least that would seem to be the way to go if one is a rational and thinking human and not an animal without control over your passions.
But let us suppose the scorned man in question is indeed an animal without control over his passions, the unfaithful wife would still be protected from violence by the laws of the land, which are also dictated by logic and rational thinking. And so even if the man flies off the handle and allows rage to rule over rational thinking, he will at the very least stop himself from responding with violence because he desires to stay out of jail. Right? That is how it should be—in theory.
In reality, if such laws are not enforced, they will not act as the deterrent for which they were intended. Let’s say, for example, those who enforce the laws of the land choose not to enforce the laws that protect women from violence. Or let’s say the justice system does not enforce the laws to protect women. Or let’s say a Minister of Government makes a statement that undermines the laws that protect women out of one side of his mouth while saying he is not justifying violence against women out of the other side of his mouth. See how that works?
At this point, violence is not only justified by men, but it is even expected, because “What is a man to do when he finds his wife in bed with another person?” When this absurd question was posed this week, it was used in reference to good, family-minded miners coming home from the interior to find their partners in bed with someone else. Yet in another statement made this week by the same person, we find there are “floating whore houses” in the interior (just shaking my head). I wonder who frequents these “floating whore houses?” Maybe that good, family-minded miner? Could it be the same men who might go home and find their wife in bed with someone else? If so, then certainly there is no room for judgment. I suppose this is where one of the archaic double standards comes into play when the woman is expected to be faithful while the man can float into “whore houses” as much as he wants.
At this moment, I am filled with rage that such gibberish is spoken by leaders when there are some who are working night and day to protect women. Still, despite my rage, you will not find me pounding on someone. Violence does not solve any problem; it only makes things worse (now that would be a good line for a Minister of Government to be quoted as saying!).
I find it so very interesting when governments blame anything and everything for the issues for which they cannot (or will not) find solutions. If domestic violence is rampant, it is the fault of those adulterous women. If the calibre of party members is on the decline, it is because “new members did not have the same level of commitment as those of the past” (not because that same party decided that ‘backballing’ on the election stage was the way to attract high calibre members).
If the party loses an election, it is the members’ fault for not voting (not the party’s fault for not giving the members a good reason to vote). If they look bad in the eyes of the people and are not trusted, it is the fault of the media or party stalwarts who have left (not because they have allowed corruption to become deeply ingrained into everyday party practice).
If they do not like the image of being indifferent to the trafficking of women and girls, it is the fault of the international community or those who “look forward to medals” (because obviously there are people who like to put their lives at risk just to get a medal).
Where are those noble statesmen who take responsibility for their actions or inactions? Then again, why should politicians take responsibility when they can simply push the blame somewhere else and pretend everything is just fine while the boat sinks?
When you get right down to it, it makes sense that such a leader would also allow men to skirt responsibility for violence against women. After all, “What is a man to do when he finds his wife in bed with another person?”
Allow me to give some examples of what such a man can do. He can turn around and walk away forever. He could talk to his wife about what led to her adultery and if his being away in the interior is difficult for her, then find solutions to help her with a tough situation. He could acknowledge that she messed up, forgive her and try to make things work. Or he could file for divorce because he cannot forgive her, but still be a good father to their children, if they have any. There are so many options for a man who finds himself in such a position–all of which are better choices than violence and murder.
Before I close, I’d like to point out yet another interesting statement made this week. In part, the statement said, “We don’t want to be seen having what you call stellar performance….” Dear Minister, I don’t think you have anything to worry about in that regard at all.
You can email Stella Ramsaroop at firstname.lastname@example.org