Njundu Drammeh

You don’t have to be a feminist to speak out against violence, injustice, abuse women face; just love justice and human rights

You don’t have to be a feminist to recognise, and fight or speak against, violence against women. All what is needed is for you to believe sincerely in justice, human rights and human dignity for all; to recognise and abhor violence as both inhuman and wrong; to accept that violence against women (and children) is “inexcusable, unacceptable and preventable”.

You don’t have to have a daughter or sister or wife to be a protector of women. You don’t have to be directly affected by gender based violence, a sister or relative as a victim, to speak out against intimate partner violence. You only have a heart that believes in justice and detests the slogan “might is right”.

You don’t have to be feminist to believe in the values of respect, honour, do no harm, compassion, humility, peace, social justice, fair treatment, equality, equity, support, etc. All what is needed is to be a humanist.

Don’t be a feminist if you like; don’t even believe that women are equal to men in dignity and honour, with the same obligations and expectations to obey and serve their creator. Don’t even believe that women, the “other” women are human being. Please don’t, if you like.

But please, dearest brother, if you have a daughter(s), raise them to believe in themselves, to grow up independent and not to depend on a man or husband, to never be defined by marriage or think it will define them, to know they are equal to the boys and if they strive harder they can surpass not only themselves but all men, to know they are human beings first and may be wives second, to not believe what society or religious scholars tell them a woman should be but to go and find out in the scriptures, to refuse to be in a glass ceiling or be any man’s doll or nurse, to stand up against violence and abuse….

Teach them that violence is not love and that boy or man who hits or hurts them doesn’t deserve their love or respect…. Teach them to refuse to be submissive, to not sacrifice their happiness for others to be happy, to never believe that “women are not equal to men”… Teach them, like Abbas rightly said, that everyone should be held accountable for his or her acts of commission and omission… Teach them not to believe that “the sky is their limit”, especially that people have landed on the moon, but to see the world as those oyster….. These and many more virtues am sure you can teach your daughter….

And remember my dear brother that you are your daughters premiere role model. How you treat other women in your life, in both words and deeds, will determine how they see themselves and the value they place on themselves. Children watch our feet, not what we say.

And remember too that the lady your bash, hurt, violate, subject to psychological abuse, sexually harass, intimidate, abuse is someone’s sister, niece, mother, aunty, cousin or friend… Do unto other people’s sisters as you would want them to do unto yours. Simple precept to follow?