You do not know how to love

Written by Emem Alexandra Akpan-Nya

Permit me to be harsh. I am bitter. 😔

A STRANGE KIND OF LOVE

From the sweating garage worker who tears out a parking ticket for you to the sleek fingered technocrat sitting in a cold office somewhere, you will hear the same declaration…

I LOVE MY MOTHER
I LOVE MY SISTER
I LOVE MY DAUGHTER

Yeah, it’s quite normal to see a Nigerian man getting emotional at the thought of his saintly mother, no matter his station in life. Our men don’t joke with their mothers o. Hmm! Or the sisters who are their responsibility. Or the wives who they cherish and love so much. Or their daughters who are angels in human skin. Don’t even upset those women. Don’t try it!

I can imagine a lot of people are nodding in agreement. But…. The picture I have just painted is not true.
Talk is cheap. All these men can claim to love their female relatives, but reality reflects the opposite. The statistics do not agree.

You see these women, those ones in the stories and pictures splashed daily in the media, those ones who get battered, assaulted, hurt, killed by men…. They are related to men. These same men who say they know how to love. Yet, many Nigerian women suffer violence daily.

Do you know who those men that assault and hurt them are? They are sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers. They have women in their family who they say they love and would never wish to see hurt. But they hurt other people’s female relatives without a second thought.

*smh* Your love is selfish!

You accuse your wives, sisters, and daughters of being responsible for the harassment and assault they suffer. Even when your mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters are assaulted in the public as they go their way, just because they are female, you tell them it is their fault. Sometimes, you even tell them they are lying.

Kai! Your love is blind and deaf!

If your sister or daughter insists on going out to that late night party, or on dating that younger man/sugar zaddy, or marrying that man who you do not like, or loving another woman, or becoming an atheist, what will you do? If she dares to do something against the ‘laws of your land’, something that will shame the family, what do you do? You will force her to stay at home. You will threaten fire and brimstone. You will promise to disown her. You will send people to talk to her. You will do this. You will do that. Yes, I’m talking to you, Mr. Ticket giver and Mr. Technocrat.

BUT when she is beaten by her husband, her boyfriend, her neighbour, you will let it happen again. Even if she cannot see the danger, insists on trusting a batterer, you leave her to her fate without putting up a good fight. You call meetings and dialogue and leave her with someone who dared to beat her, someone who will beat her again, EVEN THOUGH YOU LOVE HER.

See ehn, your love is smelling!

You cannot be a nation of lovers and yet your women are treated the way they are. If you all truly loved the women in your life, if you truly cherished females, you would not harm them or any other. And you would definitely not stand back and let them be harmed, over and over.

It’s a pity. Your love is largely powerless.

Stop saying you love these women, Mr. Man. Stop saying it! It itches my brain. Stop deceiving yourself.
Every day a new story of violence against women proves it is a lie.

You do not know how to love. 😳

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