In his novel A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini writes: “Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always.”
This has been proved over and over again in how women across the world are treated thanks to traditions set since time immemorial. We have seen it in movies, book, and in real life. The murder of Sharon Otieno has proven it once again.
For those out of the loop, Sharon’s body was discovered in Kodero forest last week. She was allegedly pregnant for a prominent politician, with whom a love affair had gone bad. It was not surprising but disappointing to see that many people decided to focus on her alleged ‘sponsored’ life than her murder.
Groups of men and women were quick to blame the young student for her death, largely because she was a ‘sugar baby’ for a lack of a better term. That she was stabbed, possibly raped and her baby killed in her tummy, meant little to some. Others were even more blinded to the fact that her baby’s father and lover was a prominent politician thus blind to the power play in that situation. Others event went ahead to claim the prominent politician (who has now been connected to the murder) as a victim in this scenario.
What’s worse, some people took this as a basis for telling young women “ili iwe funzo kwako” (may it be a lesson to you) and that they must drop the ‘sponsored lifestyle’ so that they could live.
Why aren’t they blaming the sponsors? Why is the focus on just the women? Are they carrying on an affair on their own?
There must be a reason the sponsor culture still exists: it has been there since history and clearly not going anywhere soon. However, having one-sided conversations about it is not helping matters.
Pointing fingers at women is a worldwide thing. When rapper Max Miller died by overdose over the weekend, many were quick to point their finger at his ex-girlfriend Ariana Grande for his death. Well you see, many thought that her leaving him was the reason for his drug use and subsequent death. If you could see the comments on Ariana on social media, you could weep.
There have been cases where sexual assault survivors are blamed for their assault. Many would ask what they wore, why they were at the location of the assault and even if they provoked their assailant. In doing this, not only are they double victimising the survivor, they also move the focus from the assailant, who should be held accountable for their actions.
Across the world, women and the aspect of sex have always been controversial even with the rising awareness of women rights and feminism. As much as we may seem progressive, incidences like these- the ones that take responsibility and accountability from the perpetrators and circumstances that allow this to thrive- reminds as that there is still so much ground to be covered. That one day, we’ll be able to rightfully rise beyond moralistic postulation and focus on the real issue and the real crimes.