GENDER FOCUS with EMELDA MWITWA
FLABBERGASTED I was on learning that a boy could murder his aunt for reprimanding him for breaking the family night curfew.
Here is a 16-year-old who comes home late, in a drunken state, he is chided by his guardian. Instead of showing remorse, he takes offence and reacts with odd brutality.
Unless in a family where chaos reigns, children are guided by rules which are meant to regulate their conduct at that critical age when they are vulnerable to many temptations.
Ideally the night curfew is meant to protect adolescents, who by nature of their naivety are bound to fall for casual sex, beer drinking, substance abuse, theft and all sorts of mischief under the cover of darkness.
Not only that, oneâ€™s safety, whether young or fully-grown, is not guaranteed in dim light.
This is the reason why parents, out of love, impose dusk-to-dawn curfew on their children.
This is a normal trend in an ideal world because by nature, children can easily be swayed by little nothings that will distract their attention on education if they are not guided on time management.
But this 16-year-old of Kasama murdered his pregnant aunt and thereafter had carnal knowledge of her body.
The only â€˜offenceâ€™ the poor woman committed was to reprimand her nephew for going home drunk at an awkward hour.
The well-intended parental reaction earned her stabs on the throat and stomach and thatâ€™s how the poor woman breathed her last as her one-year-old daughter watched helplessly.
According to Northern Province Commissioner of Police Charity Katanga, the juvenile then went on to have sex with his auntâ€™s body.
From what we are told by police, the boy said he acted in that manner to punish his aunt for denying him food for three days.
My instincts tell me the boy must have been a habitual delinquent who had been going home late and intoxicated, prompting his aunt to deny him food.
Apparently the woman was hoping that by denying him supper, the boy would change his habits and ensure to respect the night curfew. Alas, instead of making amends, he reacted with unspeakable aggression – why on earth should a child think of killing his parent/guardian and later having sex with their lifeless body.
Certainly, we are living in era full of mind-blowing transgressions, but itâ€™s inconceivable for an erring child to think of â€˜punishingâ€™ his mother with a sexual act.
Itâ€™s sad that a 16-year-old child could buy into the chauvinistic arrogance of â€˜corrective rapeâ€™ of women which is used to punish women for socially-constructed transgressions.
For instance, women are subjected to â€˜corrective rapeâ€™ for skimpy dressing or wearing mini-skirts.
In South Africa, â€˜corrective rapeâ€™ is commonly practised against women who engage in unnatural sexual relations and most of the victims are left dead by their attackers.
Certainly, I strongly abhor same-sex relationships, but the so-called â€˜corrective rapeâ€™ of women for any reason whatsoever is wrong and must not be allowed to take root in our peace-loving country.
The point I am driving is that â€˜corrective rapeâ€™ of women has a history and the sooner we put an end to it, the better; otherwise children will grow up thinking that thatâ€™s the way to deal with erring women.
It appears the boyâ€™s act of killing and â€˜rapingâ€™ his auntâ€™s body was influenced by occurrences of dehumanisation of women in different parts of the world and locally too.
For example, the sexual molestation of women on account of their dressing or based on their being drunk is like sowing a bad seed in the younger generation.
We have also had incidences where night revellers have been murdered and their bodies found with traces of semen.
A number of these women have been raped and murdered by men who felt provoked by the â€˜weaker sexâ€™ based on reasons best known to themselves.
Now we have a 16-year-old who admits to police that he stabbed and raped his aunt to â€˜punishâ€™ her for denying him food.
Actually, this shows that the unfortunate incident was premeditated and the boy waited for an opportune time – when his uncle travelled to Ndola to watch the Zambia-Mozambique match at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
Somehow, this is a lesson to us adults to be careful with the kind of behaviour we model before our children.
Whether we like it or not, children tend to store what they see in their subconscious and this is what influences their behaviour.
Though we may craft good rules of â€˜dos and donâ€™tsâ€™ to guide the behaviour of our children, it will be an effort in futility if our behaviours and actions send contrary signals.
So if grown-ups are going to sow seeds of intolerance and violence towards women, this is exactly how the younger generation will treat women.
There is no way a 16-year-old is going to disrespect his mother if society as a whole treats women in an honourable manner. We can call the boy all sorts of names but his actions only mirror decaying morals of our time.
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GENDER FOCUS with EMELDA MWITWA