Rings of Bondage: The Sky Beneath

“Okay, in groups of three I want you to identify a social issue and come up with an idea of how to solve it. The group that wins will be given access to our vast knowledge of leadership experience and tools.”

So I get to join this group and we begin to intensively brainstorm on what to do. Some of the ideas that came up were traffic, insecurity, long queues at medical centers etc.

“Everyone will think business. Let’s be different. Let’s go social,” I remarked.

“So what d’ya have in mind?”

After a few seconds of silence,

“Gender-based violence in relationships and marriages. It’s a time-bomb.”

I encountered some bit of resistance, with the burning issue being how we’d make profits, monetary profits. How I got to convince them to buy into my idea still remains a mystery to me.

We made a presentation. Huge applause at the end. We knew we had won, giving each other those glances of victory.

We lost, having garnered only 2 votes. The person who delivered the results, after trying all she could to make it sound soothingly encouraging said,

“It’s an amazing idea. It really is. But the issue is quite a private one.”

On my way home I kept having this feeling of guilt. Maybe we should have picked a ‘real business idea’. Still, another voice was quietly shouting, “No. The issue is bigger than the vote. That’s why it lost.

The matter of gender-based violence has always been a sensitive one, with victims choosing not to come out, and perpetrators not facing sufficient justice. It is even more shocking that a huge number of these cases occur within marriages and relationships.

The institution of marriage has for a while now been viewed as ABSOLUTELY SACRED. I agree, marriage is sacred. But why don’t we want to expose its vulnerabilities? We just want to discuss about the “How they met” smiley type of questions.

However, in my opinion, by it being a human enterprise implies that it’s susceptible to a bit of chaos, thus there needs to be sincere and open conversations around how issues are tackled.

Reminds me of a time in school, when law students organized a fair to share knowledge about how law relates to issues such as Intellectual Property, Land and Property, Law of Torts, and even Marriage and Family.

Guys were crowding all the tents. However, the law students in the tent for Marriage and Family matters had moved from their chairs, sat on the table, folding the brochures while having a good chat. Why? People weren’t visiting them.

I too didn’t.

In recent time, victims of G.B.V have been finally getting the voice they deserve, and the perpetrators facing justice. But there’s still a lot that needs to be done. For instance, a great number of men who have been victims to such violence are still afraid of coming out to be assisted.

This can be attributed to the misinterpretation of the Genesis story of creation, where the man was given dominion over all that lives. Thus, asking for help is quickly viewed as a show of weakness.

According to a statistic I came across by the Kenya Domestic Household Survey, although outdated, in 2014, 38% of women in Kenya fell victims to G.B.V, while 14% were victims of sexual violence. You can imagine that by now the numbers are higher.

Although I acknowledge the efforts made by the government to fight this, such as coming up with the Protection Against Domestic Violence Act 2015, there needs to be some attention given to other aspects such as the personal traits of the partners.

A great number of victims narrate their ordeals, and the one thing that comes out is the fact that they never knew that the person who had at one time claimed how much he/she loved them would go rogue and harm them.

What hurts the most is the counter-argument that you should choose your partner well. That, you should have seen it coming. That ‘I told you that he/she is not good for you. I told you.’

This is a slap on the face of the victims. This is wrong. The one time that it really hits you is when you realize that the next victim might be your sister, your brother, your friend, or even your mum/dad.

Or even you.

In the face of conflict, put peace before your ego. However, it is important to note that peace does not imply the absence of noise. There is no progress without noise. Sit down and talk out your issues. Talk. Talk.

In the face of betrayal, Don’t fight over love. Fight for love. No, don’t even fight for Love. Let Love fight for you. Don’t do anything you’ll regret. Your pain is not worth a person’s life. Where there is Love, there is Life.

In the face of injury, don’t keep quiet. Isolation is the ultimate poison. Come out. Don’t be ashamed. You are still a star. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

Shame the Abuser.

To eliminate violence, moderation is the truth.

Maybe that’s why it’s called ‘The Walk down the Aisle.’ The guy just stands there and waits for his star to come. He does not Run up The Aisle to get it. No, he just waits. The star can decide to go back and start over again, but the guy just waits.

The girl on the other hand takes her time, walking slowly, but gradually reaching him. She doesn’t Sprint Down the Aisle!! No, she takes her time. She doesn’t shout “Stand properly young man I’m coming!!” No, she makes him stand properly just by the way she looks at him through the veil.

In your relationship, in your marriage, just walk.

Walks are more memorable than sprints. Walks are peacefully chaotic.

Say No to Any Form of Gender-Based Violence.

We Are All We Need.