By Zawadi Lompisha
A reader commenting on my article two weeks ago took issue with my seeming defence of a friend who had confessed to having had an affair.
I explained that a meeting had been called by the families to resolve the issue and that it appeared as if she was being condemned more for the fact that she was a woman who had had an affair rather than for the act itself.
To put the reader at ease, I certainly do not condone illicit affairs in whatever form they take. My position is that once you commit yourself in marriage, the option of wandering does not exist and is inexcusable. No argument can be made to convince me otherwise.
However, in my article, I did have a problem with the fact that my friend seemed to have committed a worse crime because she was a woman.
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It was not lost upon me that if she had been a man, it would have been taken less lightly because ‘men are wont to wander’.
When a wife (and a mother) takes on a high-flying job which keeps her away from home a lot, murmurs will be heard from the sidelines that she is neglecting her husband and children; that she seems to be placing the advancement of her career above that of her family.
They say that she will only have herself to blame should the husband find himself in the arms of another woman because she is not there to meet his needs.
However, where the high-flier is the husband, the sentiment is that he is a hard-working man who is doing everything he can to provide for his family; that he has taken big and great personal sacrifices to ensure that his family is well taken care of; that what a lucky woman his wife is to have such a wonderful husband.
Same scenario, different genders, contradictory views. Do you read me?
An even more painful instance will serve to put my point across better.
This involves violence in marriages. Many are the stories we read in the press and watch on news telecasts of battered wives fighting for their lives in hospitals.
In my opinion violence against wives by their husbands seems to be an accepted thing. No one gets shocked.
The story, however, is different where it is the husband being battered.
Suddenly, there is a lot of pity for the poor husband. So is it acceptable for a man to brutally attack his wife, but the same does not apply to the woman?
This great hypocrisy is what made me stand up for my friend Maria in the earlier article. If we cannot excuse a woman, then the husband should face the same music.