No emotional hashtags, no rants on social media platforms by angry and indignant people, no angry contributors on radio and TV shows, no acres upon acres of newspaper space allocated to stories about the abuse of men. All you will get is just laughter, funny memes and snide remarks on his manhood or lack of it, good luck getting a bunch of people to demonstrate on your behalf if you are a man facing abuse.
Our society does not think that a sane, healthy man can be abused by a woman. They will wonder and ask why is he so weak? Why is he such a sniffling baby? Who handled him before, during and after his process of circumcision? Didn’t he teach this person how to be a man? Is he even circumcised in the first place?
There will be so many questions but no one will ask the how part of it. Some people will go ahead and lament about the increasing lack of real men in society. With such a society it is not hard to see why most men choose to suffer in silence rather than go and report abused meted to them by their dear wives or girlfriends.
Take the case of Senator Moses Wetangula as an example. On February 18, 2016, Wetangula filed an assault case at the Langata Police station. According to the report, he had been assaulted by his wife and sustained multiple injuries.
No sooner had the report been made public than the memes of the senator with a disfigured face started doing rounds on the internet. Some took a tribal angle; others took a political angle while others were based on his gender. Everybody laughed but it did not occur to them that a crime had occurred and someone was hurt.
The strength of a man in relation to a woman is usually the subject by people as they engage in their mirth. I saw such comments when Kenya and the world learnt about the death of Michael Okombe at the hands of his wife, Anne Mumbi.
According to those comments, how can a man who was so big and used to scramming it out with other equally big players be stabbed by a woman who was not as strong as he was? These things happen and not everyone likes solving their problems using their fists regardless of how physically strong they are.
According to the father of the young rugby player, Mumbi had been abusing Okombe for some time and this led to their separation. In January this year, Okombe had sustained serious injuries from a previous assault that made him stay away from the national 15s team for some time. With the intervention of his father, the young man separated from his wife and when they met again at a friend’s party this November she struck him fatally.
A survey released by the National Crime and Research Centre in 2015 revealed that gender violence against men has significantly increased.According to the survey, the prevalence was at 48.6% two years ago and Kiambu, Busia, Vihiga, Mombasa counties are reported to have exhibited the highest rate of gender violence against men.
“More men than women reported GBV to be bodily harm inflicted by a woman on man and psychological harm inflicted by a woman on man. This reflects a gender bias in which women trivialize the experience of men and cultural change in which men admit being victimized by women,” said Stephen Muteti during the release of the report.
Bodily harm is not the only problem we have on our hands because more men are also reporting of being raped by women. Medical experts at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Nairobi reveal that among 385 rape victims treated at the hospital during a three-year period, 35 of them were men.
Just as with physical harm, people do not also take rape of men seriously. They still laugh at them and scoff at the remote possibility that a woman can rape a man with scientists explaining the victims’ reports as easier and clever ways to get PEV treatment after a wild night.
If you think that Kenya is the only country facing this problem you should know that South African men are being abused quietly as well. IOL News reports that owing to societal pressures and socialization, men are less likely to talk about the abuse they suffer beyond closed doors.
In India the problem is rampant as well and in an emotional post on Quora.com Facebook page Dheeraj Reddy said, “Just as women abuse is true, abuse of men is also true. Wake up to it! Just as men are called to stand up for women’s rights, women need to be called to stand up for men’s rights! ”
Let us just agree that we have had enough laughter and roll up our sleeves to tackle the job at hand. Granted, the numbers may seem negligible when compared to those of women who are suffering at the hands of men. However, if we do not address this issue it will escalate and be too big for us to handle.
Just imagine the children who have to live in homes where the head of the house is constantly abused. Can such a man be effective at work, in his further studies, business or any other engagements?
I know most people would want to know why such men don’t walk out of such relationships. Some of the reasons given include threats by his abuser, lack of self-worth, being dependent on his abuser and protect his children. The bottom line is that these men need help to walk out of such relationships and take legal action against their abusers.