I watched a film recently. It was titled THE WIFE and it’s about a man who won the Nobel prize. In the midst of his acceptance speech, he thanked his wife for her support and that prompted her storming out of the dinner held in honor of the awardees.
I don’t want to spoil the film for you if you haven’t watched it but the recent events in the polity made me think about the film and how wives shield their husbands from the responsibility of their actions enabling and emboldening them to commit further infractions and crimes.
It is public knowledge that a prominent pastor is being accused of raping a woman and there has been lot of furore about it and rightly so.
My focus is, however, not on the man or his victim but the wife of the man and all other women who stand in the shadows of their husbands actions.
It is said that a good woman stands or sinks with her husband. A woman who deserts her husband in the midst of trouble is said to be a bad woman. Our mothers and grandmothers endured a lot just to be able to beat their chests and say they were “good” women.
But what makes a woman strong? Is it the ability to look the other way and pretend she doesn’t know about her husband’s philandering ways? Is it keeping mute when he assaults your house help, daughter or sister? Is it the ability to bear domestic or emotional abuse? Is it the ability to come out publicly in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary that he is innocent or the ability to help him cover up his mistakes rather than insist that he bears the consequences of his actions?
What makes a woman stand behind a man in (a) any scandal especially one that he courted and brought upon himself, (b) in an abusive relationship, ( c) when he is a community penis sleeping with anything in skirts?
What makes her stay with him in the midst of public odium, insults and abuse especially when the allegations against him are true?
I wonder how Hilary Clinton felt when it became public knowledge that her husband Bill was having an affair with a White House intern. It’s one thing when you are oblivious of your husband’s action, it’s another thing when you know but you help him cover and hush the stories. It’s yet another thing when the whole world knows and is talking about your husband’s indiscretions night and day.
I have pondered on these things and I came to the following conclusions:
1. We all marry and stay married for different reasons. Some of us for attention and love, some for the good things being married brings our way – the lifestyle, the holidays, designer bags, lavish homes etc, for some it’s societal expectations and yet for some it’s because we can’t stand to be alone or we don’t like change.
2. Some of us are conditioned to believe that the abuses meted out to us are normal. I have heard of people who sleep with one another after having a physical fight and claim it makes the sex better, or of women who believe their men love them and show it by beating them.
3. Some erroneously believe divorce will stop them from getting to heaven because God hates divorce. Thank God marriage is not a visa to heaven.
4. Some (especially Christian women) feel they are letting the devil or the other lady get the upper hand when they leave their spouses. (aunty you will just kill yourself)
5.There are loads of reasons why we make the choices we make but it is true that we make choices based on what is most important to us. For some; happiness , safety, integrity, peace of mind, comfort, respect and loyalty are priorities.
What ever our priorities are, there are times we must call a spade a spade and not a garden tool.
There comes a time when we must look our husbands in the eye and say to them you are wrong and I will not enable you.
It is possible to speak the truth to a man you love even if that truth will be the most hurtful thing he will hear. We owe ourselves self respect, our children the right behavioral patterns and the society safety from predators.
I have always asked myself what I would have done if Mr Aisi was accused of molesting a child in his care (he was a teacher so it was the most possible case of the worst that could have happened) thankfully it never did but I know I would have insisted he told the truth and faced the music.
I don’t know if I would have stayed with him but I do know I wouldn’t have spoken in the public in his defence especially if I had known he was guilty or I had reasons to suspect his side of the story wasn’t true. Come to think of it, Hilary kept silent through out the Lewinsky scandal and she stayed with her man.
If I was convinced of his innocence, as we all know, people can and have been wrongly accused I would of course stand by him and testify as to his good behavior.
If it was proven he was indeed guilty of his actions whether or not a crime was committed, I may or may not have left him afterwards but what I do know is that I would have ensured he spoke the truth and if he didn’t I would have.
Integrity is a very big issue for me and I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I had done anything less than that. But that’s me and the standards I hold myself to.
I do not hold anyone to my standards and will not judge you for your choices, I however, wonder how we can live with ourselves, what excuses we tell our children when we enable our spouses . There’s something called an accessory to the fact in law and it makes one liable for a crime even though one did not actively carry it out.
So, today I advise If you must , stand behind the man and not the act. Do not enable your husband.