A few years ago, I witnessed a horror drama that has continued to haunt me ever since.
I was driving on the highway when I saw a small crowd from afar.
I slowed down in curiosity to see what the gathering was about.
I saw and overheard a young woman having a verbal altercation with a young man.
And, the women in the group were trying to pacify the young woman when, suddenly, the young man ran off and raced into a store about 20 meters away, emerging very quickly with a long, well-sharpened machete in hand.
The machete glinted evilly in the sunlight.
I took a look at his face and froze as he had pure rageful murder in his eyes. I had no doubt that the young woman on the road, still being pacified by her friends, had moments to live.
The young man was physically fit with taut wiry muscles and looked like one who earned his living by manual labor.
I knew there was no way she could outrun him. So, my brain went into a quick calculation.
As I hoped the inevitable would somehow be averted, thankfully, another young man grabbed him by the waist.
I could see the would-be murderer struggling for all he was worth to break free and murder an innocent woman whose ‘great crime’ couldn’t have been more than spewing out a few insults.
To that young man, his action was entirely justified. After all, he is a man. How dare an ‘ordinary’ woman insult him in public? She must pay with her life.
Incidents of women paying with their lives for the most silly accusations abound.
One of such was the murder of about 20 women by a terrorist leader in northern Nigeria.
These poor women were murdered for the age-old reason that daft men have continued to use to play God: they were witches.
The most harrowing part of the story is that they were killed in batches. Imagine what the ones killed a day after suffered while awaiting death, after watching their sisters die in such a gruesome manner.
Perhaps, they were even tortured to confess with false promises of letting them live; promises that would never have been fulfilled.
All a confession could have possibly yielded was a boost to their murderers’ ego that he was right after all and they were witches who must be exterminated for the common good of the community: safety.
In a different story, yet another woman was killed by her husband for possessing in her bank account a few millions of naira that she could not explain.
I can’t imagine what that poor woman must have suffered. An insecure, probably lazy and underachieving man decided to kill a human being because she had more money than he believed she should have.
Women are fast becoming endangered species. They get humiliated, maimed and killed for the flimsiest of reasons.
Violence against women appear to be escalating by the day. I wonder if the role reversal of the genders where women are gaining more confidence as their economic fortune steadily rises have anything to do with this.
Society, especially traditional African societies, need to stop indoctrinating men by filling their heads with thoughts of superiority. These men grow up thinking they are superior to women and any woman who resists their superiority should be taught a lesson. She should pay the price even if that price is her life.
No woman should stomach abuse of any kind. We must teach our girls to reject all forms of abuse and teach our boys to shun all forms of abuse.
Although we have a long way to go, we can certainly start today to push for a society where gender-based violence becomes a shocking rarity.
For now, it’s just too common place for comfort.