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.

Women’s Voices and the Cry for Peace

Conference CSW60 14-24 UN Headquarters, New York

Parallel Event: Amplifying Women’s Voices for Peace and Rights during Conflict: Experiences from OPT and Yemen 


Time: 16:30p.m — 18:00p.m

Date: 17/03/2016

Location: Thai Cultural Center (TCC), Room 2.

Organisers: Women Peacemakers Program (WPP) & Partners 

  1. Women in Palestine are faced with the reality of the harsh occupation.
  2. Adoption of the 1525 resolution was necessary for Peace
  3. Available resources that were allocated by the government, NGOs, et cetera.

For security and safety reasons, we could not film or take pictures of the presenters.

8th March-International Women’s Day: The journey so far

What then is feminism?

We continue to declare our capability to be all accomplished by ourselves,

never possess the thought for any man to save us.

We sojourn in agony, poisoned by the fear of being all alone by

trading in our strength of becoming independent.



What then is friendship?

For some moments,

everything seems

to be fine for all until betrayal slips in.


What then is motherhood?

A stillbirth, ready to depart willingly,

never a single thought

for the poor mother.


What then is love?

So unstable, so restless,

forever on the move,

like a truck.

(Claire Ayelotan: excerpt from THE NAIVE PORTRAITURE OF EVERYTHING



Who has a right or not to plead self-defence? (2)

“If women were human…would we be beaten nearly to death, and to death, by men with whom we are close (Mackinnon, 2007, p.41)?

 Jacqueline and Bernadette received their judgment, in respective circumstances. The former got ten years’ imprisonment for killing her husband with three gunshots from the rear. And Bernadette received a five-year suspended sentence. This is where the accounts of these women became confused. We agreed they were victims. We agreed they killed their perpetrators in self-defence. Nevertheless, the French justice failed to see Jacqueline as indeed a battered woman. This is puzzling. What other evidences the judge needs to see Jacqueline Sauvage, as she should be? A victim. What worked in favour of Bernadette and not of Jacqueline? Who holds a right to plead self-defence and who has not?

Jacqueline Sauvage’s daughters and supporters, held a large public demonstration on 23 January (Le Monde.fr, 2016). Likewise, prominent French politicians joined in the signing of a petition that ask President François Hollande to grant her a presidential pardon. Luckily, he awarded her (Delacroix & Robin, 2016). Albeit that does not clear Sauvage of all accusations retained against her. She is still considered a murderer under the French law. Aside from that she cannot walk out immediately away from the prison based on the pardon. She will have to undergo a series of psychological and medical assays to confirm she is not a risk to the public. This calls for another question on what constitutes liberty. On 8 February, Jacqueline checked out of the prison, she was before. At present, she is at the National Evaluation Centre in Réau, Seine-et-Marne region (Schulz & T.M, 2016). She has already passed two years and four months in prison out of the ten years and will be in that centre until April.

Both women’s cases have created huge media attention and debates on soliciting self-defence. Even though they are the victims, battered women who kill their perpetrators have always struggled with the difficulties of falling within the scope of complete self-defence (Gausden, 2011, p.11). Sauvage’s condemnation falls into the category of what Teays (1998, p.64) denominates, imperfect self-defence. She states that, “A imperfect self-defence rests on an unreasonable belief in the imminence of a threat to life or great bodily harm, leading to the decision to defend oneself with lethal force.” The Court’s speculation falls in the line of argument the long-term effect of abuse that battered women experience in a continuous period will not cause them to act abruptly (Zaman, 2015, p.5). In other words, the courts rarely accept a defence of provocation from the victimised woman. For instance, in England and Wales a new partial defence of loss of control replaced the partial defence of provocation in the law of murder (McAviney, 2011, p.1).

There are two factors a person charged with murder has to meet when referring to provocation. Virgo (1999, p.7) explains below,

(To be continued in the Next post)


Works Cited

Delacroix, C., & Robin, C. (2016, February 6). Jacqueline Sauvage : la grâce enfin! Retrieved February 8, 2016, from ELLE: http://www.elle.fr/Societe/News/Jacqueline-Sauvage-la-grace-enfin-3031687

Gausden, A. C. (2011). Defences to Murder: A Woman-Centred Analysis . Durham University, Durham Law School. Durham: Durham E-Theses.

Le Monde.fr. (2016, January 23). Manifestation de soutien à Jacqueline Sauvage, en prison pour avoir tué son mari violent . Retrieved February 2, 2016, from Le Monde.fr: http://www.lemonde.fr/police-justice/article/2016/01/23/manifestation-de-soutien-a-jacqueline-sauvage-en-prison-pour-avoir-tue-son-mari-violent_4852487_1653578.html

Mackinnon, C. A. (2007). The Promise of CEDAW’s Optional Protocol. In C. A. Mackinnon, Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues (1st Edition ed., p. 65). Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

McAviney, V. (2011). Should Anger Mitigate Murder? An Examination of the Doctrine of Loss of Control. Durham University, Durham Law School. Durham: Durham E-Theses.

Schulz, N., & T.M. (2016, February 8). Jacqueline Sauvage quitte sa prison de Saran. Retrieved February 8, 2016, from Europe1: http://www.europe1.fr/faits-divers/jacqueline-sauvage-quitte-sa-prison-de-saran-2664555

Teays, W. (1998). Standards of Perfection and Battered Women’s Self-defense: Imperfect Self-defense. In Violence Against Women: Philosophical Perspectives (1st Edition ed., p. 64). Ithaca, USA: Cornell University Press .

Virgo, G. (1999, March). Defining Provocation. The Cambridge Law Journal , 58(1), 7.

Zaman, K. (2015). Is the defence of loss of control a ‘better’ defence for female victims of domestic abuse than provocation? . (S. Elfving, Ed.) Student Law Journal, 1(1), 5.

Who has a right or not to plead self-defence? (1)

Her name is Jacqueline Sauvage. She is 68 years old. Jacqueline was a battered woman for 47 years. This means out of that 68 years of her life, she perhaps had a beautiful violence-free 21 years. Norbert Marot, was Jacqueline’s husband. They have four children (three girls and a boy).  Marot was well known both within the household and in their community as a violent man. Everyone knows he was abusing Jacqueline, but no one dares intervene.  Besides, Jacqueline never reported to the police, and that was later used against her in the judicature.  On 10th September 2012 (Condomines, 2015), Jacqueline shot dead Norbert from behind while he seated.  This occurred later on another family violent dispute over their transport business.  A few days afterwards, she learned in prison that her son committed suicide by hanging. During the court procedures she discovered that Norbert sexually molested their three daughters in their childhood.  Before this, Jacqueline did not surmise that her violent husband was as well a sexual predator.

The second woman is a 60 year-old Bernadette Dimet (Durand-Souffland, 2016). Like Sauvage, Bernadette was a victim of domestic violence for years. Bernard Bert, her husband had an illegitimate son through Bernadette’s sister. He’d rape the latter in the early years of his marriage to Bernadette. Despite knowing this, Bernadette kept the secret to herself. She knows, her sister knows, and Bert knows. The trio maintained this heavy, painful secret from everyone until after Bert’s death on 2nd January 2012, when Bernadette shot him. Their two children only found out that their supposed cousin was in fact their stepbrother.

Both women killed their husbands in 2012, in different settings. Both were victims of long-term domestic abuses.  In their separate circumstances they had embraced muteness and rather opted to suffer in silence. Shame and self-blame play vital roles in encouraging silence. As Kaufman (1996, p.72) asserts, “The beaten, humiliated individual,…by a brutalising…marriage, has been defeated by shame.” Roberts (2007, p.55), opines many women are ashamed of being abused that they feel uncomfortable about those around them knowing their situation.  Where self-guilt comes in is when the survivor of feels she has not done enough to progress to her marriage works (Bryant-Davis, 2008, p. 65).

Marriage does not determine or justify that a woman will find the long-sorted peace. While it brings happiness and creativity for some, this same marriage remains a doom for others. It has the capacity to snatch off their lives from tranquillity straight into hell. A woman is not an animal. She is a human being. She has emotion. Even no one must attack an animal not to talk about a woman. Beating a woman when she is NOT a punching bag? Ah! She deserves reciprocal love. She is not a dunce that she cannot understand and tolerate the other gender.  That a man believes that beating his woman is an act of love is a misconception. Assaulting a woman generates an ambient of cruelty in that relationship. Doing so scratches out the divine bountiful blessing that is in it.


Work Cited

Bryant-Davis, T. (2008). Shame and Self-Blame: How Might One’s Gender Affect Shame ans Self-Blame? In T. Bryant-Davis, Thriving in the Wake of Trauma: A Multicultural Guide (1st Edition ed., p. 65). Lanham, USA: Altamira Press.

Condomines, A. (2015, December 2). Procès de Jacqueline Sauvage : “J’ai tiré, tiré, tiré”, raconte l’accusée. Retrieved February 8, 2016, from Metronews: http://www.metronews.fr/info/proces-de-jacqueline-sauvage-a-blois-j-ai-tire-tire-tire/molb!i6HuwtElusc/

Durand-Souffland, S. (2016, February 5). Cinq ans de prison avec sursis pour la femme qui avait tué son mari violent. Retrieved February 8, 2016, from Le Figaro.fr: http://www.lefigaro.fr/actualite-france/2016/02/05/01016-20160205ARTFIG00380-bernadette-dimet-condamnee-a-5-ans-de-prison-avec-sursis-pour-avoir-tue-son-mari-violent.php

Kaufman, G. (1996). The Psychology of Shame: Theory and Treatment of Shame-Based Syndromes (2nd Edition ed.). New York, USA: Springer Publishing Company, Inc.

Roberts, A. R. (2007). Barriers to Seeking Help. In A. R. Roberts, Battered Women and their Families: Intervention Strategies and Treatment Programs (3rd Edition ed., p. 55). New York, USA: Springer Publishing Company, LLC.

Gender Disparity: Women and Girls in Science 

Patriarchy is the opposite of equality. Educational training is important for the female population. Where this is wanting, we are entrusted with a bigotry world. In science, gender equality is far from a reality for women. 

How many astronaut females do we have in the world? How many Nobel Prize awarded women in science? They are 18 since the establishment of the Prize in 1901 (Nobelprize.org). In addition, compare the number of men and women in other sectors, and it’s alarming the continuing huge disparity between both sexes. 
The majority of women and children displaced due to, conflicts or economic reasons, from their countries, are deprived of obtaining an education. 

With no specific time to resume schooling, the majority of them may never recuperate from the traumas associated with war and displacement, to be able to go back to studying.