It has become quite normal for veteran actor, Pete Edochie, to hit the headlines of blogs for his misogynistic comments, takes, and “words of wisdom” to Nigerian men and women on how to get married, propose, and be a husband or a wife. A few weeks ago, he shared his most recent take, where he advises Nigerian women on what to do about the infidelity in their marriage and suggests that women should outsmart their husbands by putting condoms in their bag when they travel, instead of walking away from a cheating environment.
But this is not all, he goes further to enable the culture of wife beating, concluding that women of nowadays talk too much whereas they are meant to be silent. He warns women about what would have happened in his time saying that anything other than a woman knowing her place would attract upon them some form of physical violence.
I am thinking of the many ways women, for years, must have had to live with men like this, with words and sayings like this that have enabled the years and years of patriarchy women have lived under. Women are girls have been cultured for so long to take measures to “keep their marriage”, “prevent themselves from being hit”, and “stop their husbands from cheating.”
Environments like this have enabled all forms of misogyny culture which increase the negative impacts and consequences women are still trying to recover from. This is what the Nigerian feminist movement is about, working hard to dismantle the pressures placed on a woman to be perfect and meet cultural ideals of what makes a perfect wife or how the definition of a woman’s strength is measured by the level of abuse she has had to endure from her husband. Whereas men are absolved from any form of these responsibilities, and of course they get entitled; entitled to a woman doing the most, breaking her back for their happiness.
We see women doing all they can to keep their marriage, we see women going to detrimental lengths because people like Pete Edochie have made marriage a do or die affair that walking away from violence, is considered as her being weak. He makes getting divorced a shame saying it is the culture of a white woman to walk out of her marriage, not a Nigerian woman.
“A woman doesn’t let her marriage fall apart”, “A woman should learn to fix her marriage rather than walk out of their homes.” Who checks the man? Who tells him to make sure he doesn’t lose his home, and who advises him to put contraceptives in his wife’s handbag?
Women are tired, women are not second fiddle, and women are not your punching bags or a bus stop for maltreatment. I want every woman to know she can leave a marriage, leave a man that threatens her safety and well-being. There is no shame in putting yourself first, no shame in ending things or walking away form things that do not longer favor you.