Are We Celebrating Abuse Against Women?

By today, we ought to have done away with all sorts of abuse against women and girls. Today is the 25th November. The famous United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) designated this day as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It simply means women, and of course the girls, are, nevertheless, victims of unjust abuses.

However, what exactly are we attempting to ‘eliminate’? Are these the abuses or the women themselves?

All varieties of abuse levelled against them are summed up as discrimination in disguised. The most popular ones are — stalking, sexism, sexual harassment, sexual abuse (in and out of war zones), discrimination, domestic violence, incest, inequalities, murder and et cetera.

2017 reveals (and still exposing) horrific sexual harassment and assault; all thanks to the infamous Harvey Weinstein. Coming to the surface is the exposure to longtime sexual predators who hid their games. Besides, we start seeing, or hearing perverse actions of these male perpetrators that women tolerated for so long because they (these women) were scared to lose their jobs? Many mighty men began to fall from grace.

At present, the popular question is, “who’s next?”

Nonetheless, this seems to be the kickoff of what has been taken for granted. So long! It had taken ages. The good news is that, women are opening up. They are letting the cat out of the bag. They are no longer ashamed, or afraid. The bad news is that, will something be done to preclude this from happening again?

Violence against women should not be treated like the popular news that came into the public eye for a few days or months and then abruptly died down.

How women are perceived, whom they are taken to be, and whether they are valued as humans. Will 2017 be the end of violence against women?

Possibly that can only be when women themselves stand together in solidarity and not enjoy the benefits of backbiting one another (as it used to be).

Another Women’s Day: Where Are We? 

Each year, we mark the international women’s day to remind us of the continuing struggles of women’s rights and to understand that we have a long way to go. Unfortunately, modernisation has done little to alleviate the saddened plights of women across the world, in particular, the displaced, migrant, elderly, and the disabled women. In some way, there appears to be a disguised continuum of patriarchal authority in both western, developing, and underdeveloped countries. 

There are so many issues that are still affecting women, worldwide. From the struggles of attaining women’s rights, birth rights, violence against women, deprived of quality education, honour killings, socioeconomic abuse, forced prostitution, modern-day slavery, forced migration, disabilities, sexual harassment, rape, sexism, and dozens more. The overall sums of these are the discourses on gender inequality. In the majority of workforces, women are not earning the exact benefits and salaries as their male counterparts. Most women do not hold the rights to voluntary abortion in their countries. Some are considered inferior in contrast to the men. 

Furthermore, this month is the international conference of the United Nations’ Women’s Committee on the Status of Women, in New York. Lamentably, many female activists from countries affected by the travel ban will not be attending. Even there are those women, who are not nationals of these six countries, but who are refused visas simply because they are MUSLIMS! Are they religious terrorists? Absolutely, not! Nonetheless, and Indirectly, they have been abused and their fundamental rights are taken away from them. 

We can venture that there is no more to do to stop the oppression of women. Alternatively, we can choose to speak out. We do not require any expensive instrument to get the messages across. Our voices are what we demand. We must not relent in speaking out. We must not be scared otherwise we will be inapt for achieving an enabling the values of women. 

Widowhood: A Cultural Abuse

     Are widows human beings or aliens? Are widows born to be widows? Do widows deserve freedom from all sorts of oppressions and abuse? 

A woman becomes a widow when she loses her husband, just like a man becomes a widower the day his wife deceased. No woman is born with the hashtag for being a widow on her forehead. Possibly, no woman prays to become one. 

Marriage is intended to be a joyful affair, and it is usually backed up by the formality statement, “until death do us part.” This implies that neither the woman, nor the man envisaged the idea of death right from the beginning of their nuptials. The truth goes that everyone will die and what is heterogeneous about this is that, the death date applies differently to every human being. However, what happens when the woman loses her man, or when the man loses her woman?

While widowers barely had problems, widows are subjected to numerous abuse and loss of rights. 

Are there displaced, migrant, refugee-widows? Absolutely! Many women fleeing the war zones have lost their spouses, and some, also lost their children to the warfare. 

That widows are experiencing prejudices connote that theirs is another pattern of violence against women. The plight of widows in the world is different from countries and civilizations. In most African nations, widowhood is a complete tragedy. It is a cultural abuse. It seems like losing one’s spouse is unacceptable and a scourge. It is understandable that one should be handed the ultimate freedom and peace to mourn one’s deceased husband. Regrettably, this is often the contrary. Still, it is a misdemeanorIMG_1030 of the women’s fundamental rights when they experience continuous ostracism, trauma, discrimination, physical abuse and economic deprivation, only because they are widows. 

Who are the perpetrators of widows’ abuse? 

The widows’ in-laws are usually the major culprits. Through the maltreatment from their in-laws, the women experience second suffering. Some are accused of killing their husbands. And these women have no alternatives than undergo certain messy, satanic ritual procedures to demonstrate that they are no responsibility for these deaths. Under the tradition, some widows are passed on to becoming wives to their late husbands’ brothers. If they refused, their children will be removed from them before they are kicked out. 

Other widows suddenly wake up to discover that, their late spouses or his family members deliberately ticked off their names from his testaments. 

Livelihood is more extremely difficult for uneducated, unemployed widows, in particular, those in the rural regions. Life gets even more unpleasant for widows with lots of young children and fewer financial resources. 

In few examples, the widows have to deal with additional conflicts from within her own family members. Mothers are known for forcing their widowed daughters to quickly marry them off to someone else out of the desperate need to adapt to societal norms. 

Similarly, the communities where these widows are, may be the origin of abuse towards these women. In most cases where women do not have the rights to own a land, widows are not earmarked to assume ownership of their late husbands’ farmlands. Council authorities may harass these women for sexual gratification in exchange for awarding them the legal rights to the farmlands. 

The Global Fund for Widows in Egypt and Mama Zimbi Foundation in Ghana are some of the NGOs providing support for widows. Economic empowerment is the ultimate solution to tackling widows’ abuse.

What It Takes To Be An Albino

Albinism is a rare, genetically inherited variance present at birth[i]. It is not infectious or contagious. Inside the African societies, people with albinism look distinctly different from others as they do not have black skin[ii].  People with albinism are considered as people with disabilities. They require continuous special skin care, especially in maintaining their white skin. In Tanzania, only 2 percent of them pass the age of 40, and less than 10 percent survives the age of 30 as they die prematurely of skin cancer due to lack of melanin[iii].


Albinos are everywhere in Africa, but they are rife in East Africa. Tanzania and Malawi have the heaviest population of people with albinism in the world. In Tanzania alone, there are approximately 170, 000 albinos, making it the country with the highest rate of these masses[iv].

Notwithstanding, there are misconceptions and conjectural myths about Albinism[v]. Most consider the albinos as ghosts. As a consequence, people with albinism are stigmatised. To be an albino means to be an outcast.  They are facing severe persecution such as discrimination, abduction, ritual abuse, mutilation, bullying[vi], and barbaric killing. Perpetrators are, for the most part, close relatives, acquaintances, and neighbours.  Ignorance and lack of educational awareness drive many to speculate that people with albinism have magical abilities. Due to endless bullying or fear of being abducted to ritual killings, some children with albinism are forced to stay away from schools and playgrounds[vii].  Most Albinos murdered were for money-scheme ritual process as there are beliefs that their body parts can usher in money, employment success, and stroke of luck[viii]. In Malawi, even after they have been laid to rest, there have been 39 reported instances of ritual killers exhuming and kidnapping the albinos’ corpses, and some arrested in possession of albinos’ bones[ix]. Some of them have had their limbs cut off for witchcraft rituals. Women and children with albinism are the most vulnerable. The adult females are cited as Machilisto[x], which means ‘cure’ in Malawian. Female albinos are being raped because of the theory that anyone infected with HIV/AIDS who have sex with them will be cured[xi][xii].

Since 2000 to date, 448 assaults on albinos have been reported in 25 African nations[xiii]. Last year, the Tanzanian police cracked down on 32 witch-doctors who were found guilty of killing almost 75 albinos for ritual[xiv]. In 2010, around 10 people were condemned to death for murdering people with albinism[xv].

Nevertheless, the persecution of albinos continues. Many of them, particularly the Malawians and Tanzanians albinos at this moment in time live in perpetual fear of terror. Some lucky ones have succeeded in fleeing their countries to seek asylum elsewhere. Under the Same Sun[xvi], is one of the NGOs helping Tanzania people with albinism.

Sadly, their governments fail to protect them[xvii]. Most shockingly, many high-level African politicians are now being accused and suspected of killing albinos for ritual in order to win their elections[xviii].  Whitney Chilumpha, a toddler with albinism was abducted at night while sleeping with her mother and dismembered[xix]. A few days ago, local residents found a bag containing the torso of a six-year-old albino boy, known as Faztudo Filipe, in the Mudzingandze province of Maputo, Mozambique[xx]. The assailants had gone off with his arms, legs and other parts of his body.

The problem is not just the focus on the failure of the concerned governing bodies to guarantee adequate security for these people. One ought not to forget that this issue has a cultural base. The discourse of superstitious regarding albinism is embedded in the African culture, and the general mentality of the people is well-grounded on the subject. If one cannot get through to the grassroots to convince the people that discrimination of the albino is a criminal offense against humanity; there is virtually little that can be done at the national level. The people’s frame of mind has to shift. Albinos are human beings, and not ghosts. Hence, they deserve the right to life. #StopkillingAlbinos

[i] (de Chazournes, 2014)

[ii] (Lund, et al., 2015)

[iii] (Global Disability Watch , 2016)

[iv] (United Nations, 2009)

[v] (Office Of The High Commissoner Human Rights, s.d.)

[vi] (Lund, et al., 2015)

[vii] (Brune-Lockhart, et al., 2013; 2014)

[viii] (Akbar, 2016)

[ix] (Foreign Affairs Publisher, 2016)

[x] (Moreno, 2016)

[xi] (Amnesty International, 2016)

[xii] (Foreign Affairs Publisher, 2016)

[xiii] (Global Disability Watch , 2016)

[xiv] (Reuters in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2015)

[xv] (Brune-Lockhart, et al., 2013; 2014)

[xvi] (Under The Same Sun, s.d.)

[xvii] (Amnesty International, 2016)

[xviii] (Ghanaweb, 2016)

[xix] (Foreign Affairs Publisher, 2016)

[xx] (Allafrica, 2016)

Porn Culture And The Dehumanisation of Women 

“If 12 per cent of the Internet is pornography – that’s 4.2m websites, 28,000 people looking at porn per second- then that means that 12 per cent of the images of women on the internet are either of them on all fours, rammed into some highly unhygienic PVC, or being forced around out-sized male genitalia, as if their sundry openings were some manner of tube bandage.”

(Caitlin Moran: How To Be A Woman —pg. 34 chapter titled -I Start Bleeding!) 

Women’s position as of 2016

“What goes unsaid is that women might be more ambitious and focused because we’ve never had a choice. We’ve had to fight to vote, to work outside the home, to work in environments free of sexual harassment, to attend the universities of our choice, and we’ve also had to prove ourselves over and over to receive any modicum of consideration.” 

(Roxane Gay: How We All Lose in Bad Feminist-Essays)