Yes. Our sons have gone to hell and dragged our daughters along with them.
I would like to first of all state that this article is not intended to suggest that there are no good men out there or that our young women are all perfect, rather this is a somewhat ‘outspoken’ clarion call to everyone and to mothers in particular, to address a specific and fast rising societal malaise.
In recent times the news have been awash with tales of rape, and sometimes coupled with murder. You then wonder about the kind of people who would rape a fellow human being and then kill them to cover up their tracks, or sometimes just kill them for the fun of it.
Being an avid reader and having a penchant for murder mysteries, I am well aware that even in a ‘sane society’, still lurks pockets of evil. So despite my dismay, I was not completely shocked at the news of Uwa Omozuwa’s rape and subsequent murder, because I realize that pockets of evil exist even in the best of societies. However, what overwhelmingly shocked me and left me in a state of disquiet for days, were the comments that some of our men, one of them a supposed Honorable, dishonorably made, in reaction to her rape and murder. There were wide-ranging comments, all seeming to blame the dead young lady. In addition to that, the comments seemed to suggest that any woman being threatened with rape should quietly give in and allow the rapist to have their way, after all rape is not such a big deal. What was so worrisome was that this reaction seemed to be wide-ranging and was not confined to just one or two persons. It is this information that has left me deeply traumatized at the realization that our society has failed our men. It has led me to the conclusion that our fathers, in particular, as well as our mothers, have failed our men.
While growing up, I often heard young men being told things like men should not be in the kitchen, men should not be close to their mothers or sisters, otherwise they would grow up to be women-wrappers (a derogatory Nigerian term for a man who is seen as a woman pleaser). I also heard things like; a real man must always be richer and more financially successful than his wife. Their fathers told them that young men were not allowed to be romantic – it is a sign of weakness – or to be forthcoming with their emotions. So they bottled up and became ‘manly’; silent, unapproachable, uncommunicative, filled with fears and insecurities that they had bottled up for so long because that was what their fathers taught them.
In fairness to our fathers, a lot of them didn’t know any better. They brought up their sons the same way their own fathers had brought them up. And the mothers kept mum because they were told that boys need their fathers – sons need both their mothers and fathers.
I also believe that another reason our mothers did not make more effort to train our men better is that they had such shitty husbands themselves, and didn’t think they should do some ‘random’ girl a favour by bringing up sons who would make wonderful husbands. Why should some girl have it better than they did? But what our mothers failed to realize is that when you bring up boys properly, they are first, wonderful sons, then wonderful men, and finally, wonderful members of the society before they become wonderful husbands to that random girl.
And here we are today living in a society of rapists and their supporters club. A society cluttered with dysfunctional husbands who physically and emotionally abuse their wives because they think to be a man is to be a bully. A society cluttered with selfish sons who only do right by their parents when it’s time to show off at their parents’ funeral.
The sad part is that as mothers, society has told us to train our daughters to be good wife materials, and while we were busy training our daughters, we left our sons behind. We left our sons to their fathers who appear to have made a mess of things.
As a mother of sons, I am worried and as a mother of a daughter, I am even more so. I believe it’s time for mothers to change the narrative. If you have a husband who does not ‘have the words’ to have the conversations that we urgently need to have with our sons, probably because of how he himself was brought up, or because he’s not just inclined to, this is the time for you to step in as a mother. We can’t just sit around and wish it away.
OUR SON HAS GONE TO HELL
As a mother to teenagers, I find that when you really get to know your children is when they are in a relaxed mood. All those parental guards they put up are momentarily down and you can take a good look at them. Watch movies with your sons, football, wrestling, cartoons, or you can even play a game with them. While you are all relaxed and having a good laugh, listen to their comments in response to what they are watching, the words they use, the names they call people, which side of the fence they are on when there’s a moral dilemma and why. How do they react when they win at a game or when they lose? Are they bad losers? Are they magnanimous in victory, or do they kick their opponent even when he’s already on the floor? You’d be surprised at what you find out about how they feel about smoking, drugs, sex, or if they are romantic, what they think of girls, etc. You’d be surprised at the things you can find out in a relaxed atmosphere when you are not playing Mama Bear; there’s a time and a place for Mama Bear.
This is an appeal to mothers to save our sons. I’m not only appealing to mothers of sons but to all mothers. I’m not only appealing to biological mothers but all mothers, spiritual, foster, etc. The thing is when our sons go to hell; they drag our daughters along with them. How? When they rape them, kill them, maim them, and abuse them as wives or girlfriends. Or when they sexually harass them in the office or their long hidden insecurities make them a source of trepidation to the people in their lives.
Even if this is not your personal narrative, please share to a mother somewhere, to anyone who can help change this narrative. Let’s be intentional about creating the society we want our children to grow up in.
©Ekeoma Ajah 2020
Ekeoma Ajah is the author of:
• Pointy Panta Goes AWOL