The Silence Pandemic African Women Should Address
There is neither decorum nor honor in silence, I suggest we should know. A whispering voice is better than words never uttered at all. So, having said that, I think it is preposterous to opine that silence will make us feel and look like better women who were better raised in our typical African societies because that’s a fallacy, you don’t become better by suppressing your voice.
My grandmother normalized that type of life, so was her mother and all those generations. But since I’m going to be as honest and simplistic as possible in addressing a complex issue, I suppose that this ‘normal life’ of remaining silence while being stifled, unappreciated and undermined sucks to the core! Henceforth, as we transition into a new world order, let the culture of speaking out break free like a wild fire by all means.
Firstly, I want to encourage my African sisters to never be scared to speak their minds out especially on matters that affect their day-to-day lives. I encourage them to wear their composure like a coat of armor and never be apologetic about whatever they stand for. There’s nothing wrong in letting the world know when we are frustrated about something and want to change the narrative.
While it’s not just our African societies that has seen an increase in the murder, rape of women and girls, these inhuman behaviors are fed by hate of women especially when they start speaking out. Societies feel uncomfortable when a woman becomes determined to break free from the constructed societal walls, which includes breaking the silence.
But this hate is not inborn, it has to be cultivated constantly, to be brought into being and it is for this reason that it should be phased out in our African societies as weaponry for silencing women. It is problematic for women who also have human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to live in constant fear, dreading about the horrors that might befall them if they speak out.
Silence is used as a weapon of patriarchy, a voiceless woman is left with no sense of belonging and this might lead to servitude. That servitude has taken a different twist in the 21st century. For instance, on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, women often face backlash for sharing content and ideas that the other gender can also post without being reprimanded by anyone. This has created an unnecessary urge in women to thoroughly self-censor their content before letting it out into the universe.
This dread of being rebuked has at some point left women with so much anger, they are angry about social ideologies, how society perceive them and at times hate and blame their own ideas and thoughts. But in this context, I want to reiterate that anger is good in the process of breaking this silence pandemic.
Anger has that undeniable strong contemporary echo that helps to change the narrative in a world where silence is taken as a weakness or as a sign of satisfaction with the status quo. Anger helps send a powerful message that silence is not okay, and that it shouldn’t be normalized.
Should we be scared to let out our anger because it will supposedly make us look like barbarians in a civilized society? Or simply because those who feel disgusted by women’s anger do not like uncomfortable truths and naked honesty? Well, if that happens to be the case, then there’s a serious problem which has prompted me to write this piece in the first place, and that should be addressed.
The African society need to understand that women’s anger on issues that stand as a bottleneck to the realization of their human dignity and freedom of expression is not some sort of gut reaction, or some stupid recently discovered passion for justice and equity. It is also not because women tackle their problems with emotions as some irrational beings always bring to the debating platforms. Excuse us! That’s a misconception!
Women’s anger is rather a form of communicating and tearing down the ceiling of silence on matters that have not been said over a long period of time. I hope women’s anger will not be misconstrued, but it should help them to burst out their fears and as an aftermath, tear down the silence pandemic.