Getrude Mungai wrong on 'making love after war'
Perhaps you read Gertrude Mungai’s latest offering in last Saturday’s Standard titled ‘Making love after war'. If not, here are the highlights:
· Some fights are small and the couple settles the issue fast, while others are so major the man turns the woman into a punching bag.
· There are many reasons that can spur such a major fight, for instance, meddling from in-laws or if the man has failed to meet his financial obligations.
· A fight may also be sparked if the woman suspects that the man is cheating on her.
· To a man, when he hits you and you start crying, your innocence and vulnerability sexually arouse him.
· As a woman, much as you are hurting at that moment, it is always good to go with the flow.
· Doing so does not mean that you are admitting you were on the wrong, but it is letting go of the pain and enjoying the moment.
· Making love after a quarrel is so powerful and memorable it could give your relationship that extra fire.
Hmmm where to start? There are like 78 things wrong with this whole scenario. We live in a country where spousal abuse is a matter of national concern so Mungai's article is morally reprehensible and highly irresponsible. Men and women have been maimed and murdered by their partners so let us stop acting like dysfunction, disrespect and physical assault are the beginnings of great communication in relationships. Mutual respect, self-management and emotional responsibility are some of the cornerstones of great relationships.
Is there a place for sexual violence in relationships? Of course. This paradigm is called sado-masochism in which one partner takes on the dominant role and inflicts pain on the submissive and willing partner. These relationships are created by two consenting adults who determine well before the proceedings what are acceptable and unacceptable levels of violence. There are safe words involved so that the submissive partner [who may be male] can communicate when things have gone too far.
Can sex be violent and pleasurable? Can a male partner be aggressive with his partner and she enjoys it? Definitely, but that dynamic necessitates a certain parity. I also do not think that that is what Mungai was referring to. It sounds to me like she was advocating that women allow themselves to be punching bags for the sake of their men’s sexual release regardless of how they felt about the proceedings. The days when women were nothing but sexual objects, when our bodies were agents for male pleasure and not our own are slowly coming to an end.
I would beg that Mungai be responsible with the national platform that she has been given. Think about the country that you live in, the culture into which you are speaking. A culture that is rife with women enduring abuse, covering up bruises and lost teeth, being servile to brutal men; women who have tried ‘going with the flow’ and ended up dead. A woman who is dealing with ‘meddling in-laws’ or dealing with a man who has ‘failed to meet his financial obligations’ or ‘who suspects that the man is cheating on her’ is already bearing with too much. To ask her to ‘go with the flow’ on top of all that, become ‘a punching bag’ is non-progressive to say the least.
Mungai, your comments bring offence to enlightened and gentlemen who are not turned on by sniveling crying women. Men who are not interested in having sex with a woman simply because their physical strength means that they have power over her. There are men who will agree with you, they are called rapists and abusers, perhaps they do not know it yet, but that is their nomenclature. There are women who will agree with you, they are disempowered and disenfranchised, again they may not know it yet, but that is their nomenclature.
How about we have a different conversation? One that involves conflict resolution that leaves both men and women heard and empowered in their relationships? In the meantime, keep your outdated notions confined to the dinner tables that you either host or are invited to and leave the national conversation to those who can bear the responsibility of it. Women have been beaten, abused and raped for centuries all in an effort to pander to the overly fragile male ego. To ask us to go back to that even for the briefest of visits? Shame on you!