Recently two weeks in a row I watched videos through social media of women battering a fellow woman on suspicion that she is cheating with their husband.
When I saw the first video of about three women, stripping naked, beating and urinating on a fellow woman, accusing her of cheating with their friend’s husband I thought I had seen enough.
The news that they had been arrested came a s a relief and I was excited that the victim will get justice.
But that was not the end of such atrocity perpetrated by women on fellow women. The second video of again about three women stripping naked and battering a fellow woman just because she got a ride in a car belonging to a husband of one of the women was too much for me to bear.
Despite the victim’s many pleas and apologies for accepting the lift, the women paid no attention to her—they were hell bent at “teaching her a lesson”. So, they went on to beat her up—breaking a flower pot in her head, pulling her hair and throwing all manner of obscenities at the woman who looked hopeless and helpless that she didn’t even dare to escape from the pangs of her attackers.
Malawi, just like the rest of other countries in Africa and the world over, is grappling with the issue of gender-based violence which often is perpetrated by men.
However, one area that most of those who advocate for the end to violence against women forget to mention is that the most brutal of violence against women is one perpetrated by women against their fellow women.
The two Lilongwe cases are just a tip of the iceberg and I may even add that thanks to social media these issues are now coming to the fore. However, there still remains so many cases that go unreported.
Women are always fighting fellow women and literally pulling each other down. If it’s not physical fight it’s psychological fight. We see this even in workplaces, where some women are leading in bad-mouthing fellow women and justifying why they shouldn’t be promoted.
The two Lilongwe cases remind us that the fight for women empowerment and ending violence against women will never be won if women still look at a fellow woman with contempt and jealous.
In both cases, I am yet to hear the name of the men involved. Now, that’s where I have a problem. If a woman suspects that her man is cheating, if it were me, I would not waste my time and energy beating up another woman, rather I would deal with the man.
Fellow women, we have been the laughing stock of the nation since the two Lilongwe incidents were known. Men are frowning upon our fight against gender-based violence. Some are even saying they have always known that most of the violence against women is perpetrated by women—which I am now inclined to believe.
Why would one want to embarrass a fellow woman, because of a man? That’s not enough reason ladies. So what happens after you beat up your man’s mistress?
You are addressing the symptoms and not the root cause. The problem is not that mistress but your man. Deal with him.
If you invested same energy you spend in hating each other to empowering each other, this country could be a role model in women empowerment.
We need a united front to win the gender-based violence fight otherwise any sign of disunity amongst ourselves as women, will only exacerbate violence against women.
A huge thank you to the law enforcers for moving in swiftly and prosecuting these women who bring nothing but shame to the women folk.