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Globally, as is customary, International Women’s Day was once again observed with many international bodies and women advocates at one in their expressions about the degrading challenges which continue to imprison the lives of numerous of our women folk. In fact, no region or country, can claim ignorance or innocence of this criminal fact that have taken the lives of so many women, while the others in what has become an inescapable life of daily terror, have become resigned to a fate that may also count them among such a cruel statistic.
The statements read, as would be expected: the beastly act of sexual violence; domestic violence in all of its brutal content. There were emphatic calls for gender parity, with demands for women to be given more opportunities for leadership positions, and the inevitable calls for better rewards. None should deny the justness of such positions, since women are continuing to prove, and more than prove their ability to function incompetently in portfolios once considered the sole preserve of men, but in many instances are not remunerated on par with their male counterpart.
But editor, unless I have not been aware of the full coterie of messages from the nation’s whose who, it would seem that the voices of the general category of prominent women, particularly those who are from state entities which have the responsibility for women and gender issues as part of their national concerns have either forgotten to speak, or if they did, dealt with the occasion in a rather general manner, but avoiding any mention of the scourge of domestic violence. And this alludes to some of the individual personalities, those known public figures, who have been outspoken advocates against acts of domestic violence in the past.
Not at all surprising, since some of these persons are known friends of the installed regime. Maybe, one can perhaps comprehend this rather tongue- in cheek- approach, given that any strong condemnation of domestic violence at this particular time, coming from especially those alignments of the PPP/C especially, will be construed as an indirect attack/condemnation on the person of the cabinet officer accused of the alleged physical assault of a sitting MP on the coalition opposition side of the House.
And, is it not ironic that such an alleged incident has taken place in the closest days leading to the day of note, when not only our women should be lauded for their many roles and contributions to the society in which they live, but also that their grinding struggles be highlighted, given the fact that the brutal threat of deadly violence in its many forms, threaten their daily existence? The fact that an alleged assault took place in the National Assembly, should serve as a watershed moment as to how some sections of our society perceive women.
Therefore, to the women whose services are to the State, in whatever capacity/form, that also includes the welfare of women and the advancement of their just cause, be reminded that their official duties must not be compromised or be held hostage to their perception of fear or reprisals for making known the violence on our women, their sistren. Instead, as point persons on a very critical aspect of national life, they must be emboldened apart from conscience, but by the rights of their official duties, to condemn such manner of violence reported against a sitting member of the nation’s National Assembly.
To those friends of the regime, the prominent voices, the women who conveniently decided to be quiet – unless they are in agreement to the abuse in the House – must understand that not to speak out, even at this time, against all forms of violence, makes them partisan, and just as guilty as the perpetrators.
And to the second category of the latter grouping, the female MPs of the PPP/C: is it not shameful that you continue to be part of a cohort of fellow politicians, particularly a senior member of the House, who is reported to have continuously stalked MP Sarabo–Halley. Such conduct is not only unbecoming of especially young would – be leaders, but unheard of in any national parliament, for the content of filth which it represents; without good cause. For how can any of you make any conscientious statement, publicly that pertains to the causes of women. You can only be justly placed in the category of incorrigible hypocrites. Further, you cannot be any different to the abusers of women, whether publicly or otherwise. In the very house, where many battles have been fought and won for the empowerment of women, you have desecrated its august tradition by abysmal behaviors which have failed sisterhood. In the highest citadel of the nation, the abuse of and women have been aided and abetted.