On 3rd September 2020, news broke of a woman who had killed herself and her two children (7 and 1 year old) by jumping into Tigoni Dam. The image of this woman’s body floating on the water and the bodies of her two dead children floating beside her broke me. The backstory is that her husband kicked her out of their matrimonial home and when she went to her mother’s house, her mother gave her transport money to go back to her husbands house and talk things over. Instead she went straight to the dam and ended three lives.
I have really been thinking about this woman and what thoughts must have gone through her mind, on the way to her mothers house and from it. My hear breaks for her pain; her mental pain, physical pain, emotional pain, social pain, spiritual pain. I can only imagine what it took for her to end the lives of her children and herself.
As is expected, there was short lived outrage when the story broke out which quickly fizzled out as soon as it had risen and we moved on to the next breaking news. Today, 10th September, is World suicide prevention day. My reflection on female suicide, specifically driven by abuse (mental, physical, social, emotional, spiritual) perpetrated mainly by men.
The enabler culture in my opinion is one that continues to sustain, fuel and grow abuse of women. Think with me for a moment:
- What would happen if men called each other out on abuses and attitudes towards women, their wives and children?
- What if men held each other accountable on how they treat (words and actions) women, their wives and children?
- What if men made a decision to spur each other to doing right by women, their wives and children?
Instead men, continue to gather together and celebrate each others abuses (mental, emotional, social, physical, spiritual) of women, their wives and children. Men would rather:
- Lie/Make excuses for each other
- Pretend they do not know the extent of abuses their so called friends are meting out on women, their wives and children
- Encourage each other in self destruction, after all misery does love company
What irks me most about this enabler culture is that they know. Men know when they are abusing women. They do it consciously. They know the effects their abuse (mental, emotional, social, physical, spiritual) has on women and on children. But they still go ahead and do it. Why speak and upset the status quo? Why be different and suffer falling out from the majority way of life? Self-preservation is the bedrock of the enabler culture among men that fuels female suicide.
Women in our homes, women at work, women in the streets & women on social media, tell us every day the violence they endure in our hands as men. They advise what we can do to change. But we opt to stick to our hardened identity to enjoy the delusional promises of patriarchy.
Onyango Otieno (@rixpoet)
As men continue to enable each other in abusing women and children, some unable to bear the burden, the shame, the weight of it all chose the suicide path. Suicide is preventable. The question is, are the enablers willing to take a bow off that stage, dim those lights and chose to hold each to a life valuing standard?
I can only hope . . .
In the meantime, please remember that: