Archive | July, 2012

Letter to my son

13 Jul

 

Image

 

Dear Derrick,

 

I have decided to write you this letter so that other boys your age around the world can share in this counsel.

You are precisely twelve years old and I have enjoyed the numerous achievements and accolades that you continue to achieve. Your sisters Becky and the charming Abby sent their regards. You may have wondered for long why I relate with you the way I do but I know if any child lives with criticism he learns to condemn and finds comfort in the company of the unwise. That is the reason I rarely criticize you. You may never have understood why we take walks to “think” as we have called them for the past few years.

I cut short many of your friends because they strive to instill in you a sense of hostility. You remember the many times I was tempted to smack you yet with restraint I was able to overcome. Tell this to you friends and your own children in the future that if your child lives with hostility he learns to fight resulting in a world that fights itself at its own peril. I bestow to you my son that fighting does not make your better man but instead consumes the God given power of making the world a better place for all.

I will always strive never to mock you because I know that if your child lives with ridicule

He learns to be shy. I see the world through your eyes and I am excited that the destiny of the world is heavily but steadily laying on your shoulders. I will never let you live in shame less I risk having you learn to live in shame.

I remember telling you the other day that you must learn to be tolerant to others because if the world was full of fools then there would be no need for the wise. Be patient with others even as I promise to always encourage you. Always be confident for there is place for the timid in this unforgiving world.  You are already doing things that I never knew about when I was you age. Maybe the times have changed but I will always praise you because I want you to learn to appreciate. I will always aspire to instill the virtues of fairness because I want you to believe in justice. I will always make sure you are secure because I want you to have faith that we all have a roll to play  in this world and that we are here for a reason.

I accept that I have made many mistakes in the past but you know well by that I apologize and never repeat them again. Learn to own up to your mistakes and accept responsibility for your ills. You know that you have my approval to do all that makes the world a better place and I want you to always learn to like yourself. It’s my prayer that you live with acceptance and friendship and learn to find love in the world.

 

Your friend and father

 

 

Advertisements

Women: Please be cautious–By Wanjala Wafula

13 Jul

Image

This is a caution to all women of the world. I sent this caution exactly one week after I attended the funeral of Sarah Mwikali, wife to my childhood friend Elikana Musyoka. As you read this piece, my friend is in Police custody accused of having maimed and killed his wife of fifteen years. There marriage was a theater of sorts and our efforts to return them to the rails did not bare fruit. Theirs had been tumultuous union punctuated with screams, fights, scars and calls to the police.

Elikana had threatened to kill himself and on many occasions I intervened. His wife had sort protection from both the police and other social instruments to no avail. Sarah’s constant excuse to remain in the abusive marriage was her children. I have repeatedly affirmed that battered women who have been threatened or assaulted even once are 20 times as likely as other battered women to be murdered. Those who have been choked are 10 times more likely to be killed. Yet, my appeals have not been respected.

Experts affirm that substance abuse is one of the leading causes of partner battering and even death. Recent statistics show that the vice is on the increase in Kenya and that the rising cases of spouse battering and death can be attributed to the same. Others link spouse battering and death to unemployment, hence the depression. Dr. Bwonya attributes the sky rocketing cases of wife battering and death to abuse during pregnancy, any kind of estrangement, and the presence of a stepchild. “These are trigger factors to the current madness manifesting itself in all forms of abuse meted at women and girls”, he tells me.

Becky Namarome who a leading gender based violence expert affirms that “It is rare for wife battering and death to happen with no previous record of domestic violence,”. The warning signs are there and they include an abrupt obsession by a partner to keep weapons at home. She insists that coercive control is almost exclusively the domain of men. It is long-term and tyrannical abuse that includes, often in addition to physical violence, attacks on a woman’s self-worth, degrading remarks and obsessive monitoring of her whereabouts and her contact with other people.

I have over the years learned that many men kill in a state of what I call “mortified rage,” disgrace that has gone into overdrive for any number of reasons: Elikana killed his wife because she had finally decided to move out of the house. He feared loosing control of her and had been drinking excessively. I my view, many deaths occur in marriage because of a socialization process that presets the expectations and definitions’ of manifold. It’s all about manhood and failing to live up to prescriptions of modern-day masculinity

Experts insist that there is always an escalation of abuse just before a battered woman is killed. If nobody heeds my caution than I fear that there will be more broken bones, more cracked teeth. More calls to 999. There will be more burials and many children will be orphaned or abandoned. I submit here that marriage related death can be seen coming. You can log it. You can count it and you can avoid it all the same.

Don’t allow yourself to be another statistic. Don’t allow your partner to start accumulating weaponry in your house. Watch out when your partner starts reading your text messages and dropping by your office unexpectedly to make sure you are at work. Watch out when your partner controls everything including your finances. Be wary when your partner calls you names or yells at you. Run off if I may suggest when your partner pushes, squeezes, knocks, punches, kicks or otherwise harms you. Don’t wait for another second if your partner destroys your belongings and threatens to hurt you, the children, or pets. Help your friend if she grows increasingly fearful, and tells friends or family that things are getting worse.

I depart on the affirmation that signs of a disaster waiting in a marriage may not be outward but if one senses things are getting worse then they really are. We have to be sensitive to what the victim tells us less we risk loosing another life

The writer is a Founder / Director of The Coexist Initiative, a not for profit synergy of men and boys community-based organizations committed to eliminating all forms of Gender based violence in Kenya. Visit www.coexistkenya.com or email Wafula@coexistkenya.com- facebook-wanjala Wafula- skype:coexist.initiative. Tel: +254712653322

 

The true size of Africa– By Wanjala Wafula

5 Jul

Image