Usually people ask me how my readers and hearers take this whole talk about Men, Redefining Masculinity and Boy child empowerment and I say "Great". Some however wonder if I am for real and especially because most men hardly open up or be vulnerable.
|Me with some male participants of HIVE Africa 2017, I attended as the official blogger|
So recently I spoke about Why Male child abuse will keep increasing and I want to share a few of the comments I got from this blog. Most agreed that the time to help the male child is now, some shared how the family structure must be responsible, and some others shared how they escaped abuse.
Olukayode Oguntade says:
" 'if it’s not wrong for him, why should it be wrong for me” syndrome'. " - I stand corrected but I think this new rave in a few young ladies has created more female sexual harassment from the boys/men than male sexual violations. I think that caging girls going up has a more negative effect. So when they finally get there freedom especially in the University they have the tendency to go wild. What I'd call a misdirected #GirlPower.
My sister God bless you for starting this conversation, it is indeed a hydra headed challenge and which needs so much courage for one to venture into it. Divorce rate did not just suddenly increased; this is some of the remote factors.
First and foremost, I think it is was as a result of a carry-over syndrome from some of our old and abolished culture – before we talk about the failure of the family institution brought about by a generation of men who are men because God has freely manufactured and put spermatozoa in their testicular but they are daft and have no capacity and know-how to train the child they fathered. Hitherto, we all existed in family circle and enclave where a children is collectively trained and all that but today, families have enjoyed so much independence as a result of urbanization and mobility of labour etc, that most children become teens without knowing their grandparents or their ancestral homes.
Cumulatively some of them don’t spend up 6 month with their grandparents for their first 20 years. So, if such children are unfortunate to have a father who is not empowered or incapacitated in the best practice or sound parenting, then those children are automatically lost. You cannot give what you don’t have.
Talking about the carry-over from our cultural practices before Christianity changed most of the status quo, communities have various initiation rites for the boy-child before he is pronounced a man – those norms varies from flogging, staying in the forest for certain weeks, not wearing cloth in the cold, not bathing for a long while, other are demonic sacrifices and a lot of unprintable things.
The boy child was untouchable and un-cared for, the more unruly he is, he is hailed as macho man. Teaching him life skills at home was seen as bringing him up like a woman, so he is allowed to gallivant with others and return to eat free food prepared by the mother/sisters at home. Education which Christianity brought liberated most parents who engaged their boy child to study yet the home education was still seen as not necessary for a boy child. As a result most of them as soon as they leave home they indulge in co-habiting or contracting a mistress as an insurance for stomach infrastructure, sooner or later the shopping list grows as other misconducts are accommodated. (Body no bi wood nah)
There should be a conscious advocacy about proper empowerment of the boy child through every available platform like – religious organizations, traditional institutions, NGOs, CBOs FBOs, women groups, professional organization and even through civic education in the formal schools. Exposing him to early marriage is compounding their problem; mothers should not create this distinction line again between the girl/boy children, allow both to learn life skills from childhood to their teenage age.
Of what use will it be to have the girl child well trained, packaged, empowered only to be married by a dysfunctional man? The responsibility God has given the man in the family, coupled with that which Africa has also given him is enormous – so we need to invest on the boy child to better the society?
Older men should be helped also – a problem known is half solved.
Igwe Daniel says:
Thank you Chisom for telling the untold stories about men. If not for my sheer courage and determination, I would have become a gay. A man I trusted, an evangelist wanted to initiate me when I was in boarding school. I left his house and trekked more than 5 kilometers to my dormitory around 2AM. He would have changed my sexual orientation and I would have been a begotten male abuser. I would love to tell my stories in a formal setting.
The more we focus on the girl child, we neglect the boy child. Most teenagers become abusers of drugs because of bad influence from grown up men who send them on errands to get those substances that they abuse. While growing up we were told never to buy cigarettes for nobody and this helped our choices.
I believe it's time we focus attention on the boy child. I work with teenagers in church and they relate how they are abused emotionally by their parents through bad words.
The more we work on this, the more we can help boys and men to unlearn dysfunctions and be better.
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