Have you heard of the man who was beaten by his wife and society did not take up the issue because she was a woman? Have you heard of that boy gang raped by some girls beside the bush and he can’t talk because society won’t believe him? Or rather they will tell him to shut up that a woman cannot rape a man? Have you seen a man crying because he was asked to divide his hard earned property for his lazy nagging wife? We sing ‘ladies first’ all the time. And these ladies still rip us of our rights with their film coated eyeshadows.
They look into our eyes and spit on our face without anyone complaining, society pointing an accusatory finger on the men being the cause of marital problems that families face. Fifty percent or more of those problems are caused by the wife. In fact, it can be divided. Men have their own shortcomings as well as women. In a society like this where the mango always fall for the girls, the boys are bound to be neglected and abandoned randomly in the street of pain, in the street where lions are the sand they step on.
We are really suffering as men in society. Fighting wars, breaking wars, making wars and society itself waging wars against us. Gathering these stones of anger, I would like to revise this sanity lurking here and there in society without compromising the fact that we are all human with flesh and blood. If they have to fight for equality or equity between the male folks and the female folks, then men should not be seen as a forgone piece of meat abandoned in the forest to be eaten by wild animals. We are not grass to be trampled upon by the issues of the girl child because we are called boys, so therefore society is governed by the so called weak girls. Every mouth speaks on their behaviour for getting the plight of those boys left naked. Those boys learning how to put on their clothes, those boys learning how to pronounce their mother’s name, those boys learning how to dive into the ocean and return without a broken song. There are those boys for whom we should look into their matters.
There have been emerging perceptions and debates that the boy child has been neglected, not only in our environment but in the world at large. At a young age, girls are often given lessons that are meant to give them a push in the right direction. But none for the boys. We have these modern problems facing boys which we fail to realize as a society. Fear of self. Fear of family life (who to marry that can help to build him up) and many other things. We split smoke and fire searching for the position of the moonlight and its path but not in those eyes that search into our curriculum of love.
Let’s try to bake a morning baby into the deepest dream of a boy and water the rainbow colours brightening up the other side of our world.
In my former compound in Aba. We used to have this husband and wife living in the same compund. They fought all the time because of money for her upkeep and for her only daughter. Whenever they started, my mother was only the person rushing down to separate them because every one of us got tired of doing so. One fateful morning, the husband compromised on their agreement the previous night. She held him by his manhood. He screamed for help and everyone dashed to their apartment hitting the door for her to open, but she didn’t open.
In the long run, she stabbed him on the hand and kicked him out of the room in a pool of his own blood. She didn’t feel remorse in her attitude. She was brave enough to tell us that “He can go to hell for all she cares. He got what he deserved.” We were angry at her. My brother rushed to slap her for having the guts to hold her husband by his manhood and; stabbing him on his arm after pleading with her that he does not have enough money to drop that morning, but my mother held him back. Advising him not to buy what he cannot easily sell in the market. So, he went back to his seat. The man treated himself and returned home, sad.
Days later, they fought again like two giant elephants. He was defeated also. This time, his head was broken by his wife. He had this fear about what society deposited in him that women are not to be beaten by a man. So he allowed his wife to take turns to beat him like a child. Mind you, I am not saying that beating another is good but when man and a woman understand themselves as husband and wife they will live together happily.
So, he zoomed off to a nearby police station. He was told by the Sergeant there that he should go home and settle the issues with his wife. The matter ended there. He was disappointed. He did not actually want to go to the station but it was neighbours who forced him to. A week later when the incident of the other day had been resolved another fight broke out between them. The man was the first to wound the woman. The woman ran down to the same station to report.
The man was arrested immediately. The women around were wagging their mouths, abusing this same man they had seen being assaulted by his wife but never complained to anyone. They abused him, laying curses on him. This man was charged to court by his in-laws for assaulting their sister. He was charged to court for violence against a woman and sentenced to prison. He served two years or more as I can remember. He looked just like the inexperienced kite that went to carry a duckling but was ordered by its mother to return it because the mother said nothing and did nothing, instead walking away. We visited him in the prison also. This and more happened to all of us boys and men. Where is the voice to speak about it?
Yesterday, I heard a mother asking a boy why he has to beat her daughter. “Didn’t you see that she is a girl and you are a boy?” was her question. I was pissed off. Very angry but I have to calm my nerves. I believe we are humans, equal… I don’t know what you think but that is my assertion about humanity; Boy and girl are to be treated equal… Train up in the same way.
When a cousin of mine called me a few days ago. we spoke at length about boyhood. We spoke about one father in his hostel. How he fondled him and his roommates every night when they slept in the hostel, when in boarding school at a younger age. I sensed the pain in his voice, the anger tailored with the scars carved in his crying heart. What he must have passed through during all these years. The trauma. The artistic painting in the mind each time the pictures come to mind.
I was amazed listening to him. Listening to this heartbreaking tale. He sounded so angry, that if a chance was given to him and he found a way to kill him, he would. He told me how painful it was to remember how a man you trusted could steep so low to fondle your manhood every night without being disgusted. He would leave his room and walk down into yours, when everyone was asleep. He would remove your pants and start abusing you. He told me how he told them not to talk to anyone about it, that it was a moral upbringing in the doctrine. It was a process of making them holy. To keep them away from having emotional feelings for the opposite sex. He told me those tales with bitter lips. I was lost in thought of how a man ordained could create such ugly memories to innocent children that were put in his care. He said even if they tell another about it, no one would believe them.
He said that there were nights some boys protested this act and were subsequently beaten. They were made to fast for cleansing as told by the father. There are some nights again the boys threatened to report him to another father in the cathedral. They took turns fighting him with a small dagger in their pocket. That night the boys were punished heavily because he invited some other people who cared not to hear from the boys but listened to his lies. Lies he told them to buy face from them. They could not steep too low to ask the boys what happened.
He said he was affected too. He said he called several times to tell daddy and mummy what was going on. Then, on one occasion, mummy asked him to close his mouth. And the other one; daddy told him there was no way an anointed man of God could possibly abuse him in the night and not only him but other boys in the hotels. “Is the man insane?” That was the question daddy asked amidst doubt and fear. He said he decided to keep those nightmares to himself since no one believed him including his parents, meaning no one in the world would believe him even in future. He was looking for a way to kill him with other boys in the hostel.
Until we begin to listen to these voices, the childish voice of those little boys trapped in the hole of captivity, we will never be named a mother or father. Something must be done about our boys to keep them safe from those people we trusted so much.
Mostly in Igbo land, it is always preferable for them to send the boy child to go and serve one man in the Onitsha main market, Alaba international market or Ariaria Market, Lagos Island and some other places. These boys have dreams that are different from those of their parents who sent them into slavery in the houses of Alaba international market. Sometimes, these boys serve their master without being settled there by making life miserable for them. And these dreams, shattered away by their parents, become a thorn in their lips.
They fight harder to stand again but sometimes it becomes too late for them to pick up from where they are. They make statements like “Those things we could not achieve we want you to achieve them. We want you to reach that height we could not reach.” They end up selling those boys, like us, into slavery of the mind, of the emotions, of their feelings and of their dreams. They lose focus. Their dreams channelled in another angle rather than what they see or build with their imaginations.
I understand the fact that most parents agreed to this because they were trying to make life easier or better for these boys and their future but wouldn’t it be better to seek the boys’ consent before sending them out? Wouldn’t it be proper that we listen and watch them grow and know what and how they are trying to design their dreams? I know some of this is caused by poverty because it is only a poor parent who would think of sending his or her boy out to serve one man in Alaba. It is only a parent that thinks not of his boy’s well being that will send him into slavery in another man’s house. Although, some boys succeed in this phase of life, while some don’t. My mother always told us when we were much younger that no matter how poor she was, she would never give us up to serve any man. It is better we remain in her house to drink garri if it was the only option left for us rather than going into slavery. And this she has kept to date. She never allowed any of us to go to any house to live except hers. Even our step brothers could not get hold of us.
Except my immediate elder brother who went to serve my step brother but was not settled after seven years of service. This was caused by my father. He kicked against the rule of mother and sent him away.
So, my argument here is that the boy child should be given a reason or chance to tailor his dreams to the deepest route they want to go. The opportunities should be given to them. Don’t decide for them as a mother or a father. Advise them and tell them the appropriate ways to follow. Let the decision be made by them as long as they are old enough to take this decision. We are also vulnerable like the girls. Like the girls, we can still check and balance ourselves. Balance our dreams and take a long walk to where fate and destiny is prepared for us.