Mmegi Blogs :: Being A Woman In The World Today Is An Extreme Sport
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Monday 15 October 2018, 18:00 pm.
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Being A Woman In The World Today Is An Extreme Sport

The world is no safer for silent women than it is for women who are loud, wild and opinionated. This is to say, being a woman in the world today, is an extreme sport.
By Lesego Nswahu Nchunga Mon 04 Jun 2018, 13:41 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Being A Woman In The World Today Is An Extreme Sport








No. Worse! It’s like an extreme sport at the point of sudden death when you know the odds are stacked against you, so high that there is definitely no winning. You know how in some sports, when there is a tie, sudden death is when a play ends as soon as one of the players is ahead of the other?! But in this game, there is no landslide for women. Just a constant egging. Like we are in a perpetual struggle or antagonism, fashioned against us, from it’s very inception.

Women, the world over are reorganising, altering and reshaping their political struggles in the new world. A world that is coming for our necks, our skirt lengths, our skin tones, our sexual preferences, our Facebook posts, our ideas, our solidarity, our silence, our love affairs, our ways of gaining economic security, and our means of climbing up ladders or sliding under sheets. Women are literally dying for everything We are moving beyond fighting for women’s rights to be acknowledged as human rights to actually just constantly negotiating ourselves into waking up the next day, and sometimes just walking out of houses, or across the road. We are literally struggling to stay alive. Can you hear us choking? Burning? Bleeding?

The erasure of women’s ideas, experiences and concerns through violence is becoming unbearable. We are living in a world where women are expected to take responsibility for intrusions against them, and we are being conditioned to believe that violence against women can simply be avoided by the victim.

We are living in a time where when a woman dies at the hands of a man, we name this heinous wrong, a crime of passion, romanticising femicide to make cruelty by men more palatable and acceptable because masculinity is so fragile. It appears, in fact that masculinity is so fragile, that women’s right to life is shrunk to accommodate men.

I have heard many a young bride share their experience of ‘go laiwa’ where they are told that a woman stands by her man, no matter what, “mosadi o a itshoka!” For a woman to show her strength she must suffer silently, patiently, diligently, with grace and composure. “Go itshoka” connotes that the suffering will be long. A woman should therefore not be quick

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to leave. Only when she has stayed long and hard enough, would she have proven herself worthy of the affections of her society. Imagine that. The idea that a woman is not strong until she has suffered thoroughly, and persistently at the hands of a man who loves her.

We should not forget that this same society teaches boys to grow into men, who “protect” their families, in addition to other things. We often don’t consider how militant this assumes men to be or how belligerent they are expected to become.  Someone asked a question though, that assuming men are protecting women (and children), from whom are they being protected? There is a new generation of activists ready to answer that question. They are saying the only people men are protecting women against are men themselves.

It is important to move beyond merely acknowledging that women are suffering, but to move the spotlight to who is killing women in Botswana, and who is causing them to suffer.

When we address violence against women, the perpetrator is often either faceless, or wounded and fragile and sore, conditioning us to understand his plight, feel sorry for the poor guy and turn the tables to blame the deceased. “He was jealous and heart broken, because she was leaving him.” Read: “It’s her fault, because how could she not stay in a relationship she no longer wanted?”

Towards the end of 2017, of 89 intimate partner killings that had occurred, 82 of the deceased persons were women. And yes, by men who are apparently “protecting them.”

Not all men though right?! That is always the argument made by men. That not all men are violent, misogynistic and furiously trying to erode women from earth, completely. Well the men who are, are enough to make up for those who aren’t and then some.

It’s not easy being a woman. There is no one type of woman. Not even one type of woman to avoid being, in order to survive. Audre Lorde said, “The Master’s tool will never dismantle the master’s house.” And I agree. For as long as we struggle for equality within the very same systems rooted in exclusion, we will never succeed. We cannot win the struggle to stay alive on someone else’s terms.

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