So, she sits in her not-too-sophisticated consulting room, offering her services to the rape victims who take turns to recount their painful ordeals. Their aim is simple: to get someone to hear their stories and offer them the necessary medical attention. She, a member of a medical outreach team in Uganda, doing their best to offer assistance to all who have been abused before, has seen it so many times, the reality is becoming too familiar to her. She has seen countless cases. The very moment they sit across the table, she knows they are rape victims. She says, it is easy to differentiate between the rape victims and the ordinary patients by their sitting posture. According to her, the rape victims always attempt to lean either to the left or the right resting their entire body on one butt cheek. Due to obvious reasons.
Well of course this has to be a story about a medical officer offering assistance to women who have been sexually abused in rural Uganda, isn’t it? Let me burst your bubble, you got it wrong there. This is indeed a story about a medical officer sent to reach out to MALE rape victims of rural Uganda. Yes, I am talking about men who have been raped. The thought of it might even cause many to laugh in ridicule of such men who would allow themselves to be abused. *in a sarcastic tone* I mean, c’mon bro, how on earth did you allow yourself to be raped? Especially by another man? The article shook me when I read it months ago. The sexual abuse of men has over the years become one of the numerous war crimes that rebels and soldiers commit. There was an account of a man who was taken away into the forest and was brutally abused sexually for years. Every night, about 11 rebels would take turns in raping him. And when he didn’t have the strength to remain on his knees, one would wrap his arm around his waist, holding him up, just so another could have the chance to have anal knowledge of him. For three or so years he went through this till he managed to escape. It is just a gruesome act which is fueled by evil supplied from the refinery of hell. Most of these men, live with the pain for the rest of their lives.
One would think the woes of these men would have ended with the end of the abusive experience. The abuse is damage done to their physical, mental, and emotional selves but what happens after that damages their soul more deeply. Most of them shut their mouths never to open it to talk about what transpired especially to their wives. So they live with the hurt shut up within them for many years. One of the victims said :
“How do I tell my wife I was raped? What is she going to think about me? She won’t see me as a man again. She will start looking at me like any other woman.
Wow! This statement captures a lot and basically encapsulates the African society’s view on gender. So from the quote above, we can infer that in such a community being abused as a man automatically transforms you into a woman. And since the wives wouldn’t want to be in a same-sex marriage, they leave. The ‘tender loving care’ that women exude by default isn’t a trait found in all women after all. This is the reason why most of the male rape victims keep mute about their ordeal and endure the pain. It is only cruelty, that can cause a wife to abandon her husband in such a critical moment in his life.
No, my beef isn’t with the wives of these victims but rather my beef is with the society – the patriarchal society. One would think women are the only victims of patriarchy. Far from that, men are also victims. The fact that society allows men to wield this much power – this undue and unmerited power, is in itself a curse rather than a blessing. We live in communities where every organ and component of the human anatomy in men is supposed to be hyperactive bar the tear glands. Society tells boys they are not supposed to cry, ‘mmarima nsu’, literally means, ‘Men don’t cry’. Who sets these rules? Who makes these laws without sending the rest of us a memo? Which philosopher, under the frenzied influence of alcohol, thought of this? Men do not cry? Why do we have tear glands in the first place? Society unconsciously trains men to be as emotionless as a log. Society replaces the ever thumping human heart of men with an ice-cold block. Yet when men end up being what they have been trained to be, or what is expected of them, society frowns on it.
When I get married in the next few years, o dear future wife, I will cry if I have to. I will shiver when all is not too well. I will tell you when I am hurt by your actions. I won’t bottle stuff in me all in the name of being a man. If internal bleeding is a deadly medical condition, then internal tearing has to be on that same level of deadliness. For in both cases there is supposed to be an outpouring of fluids, which rather happens internally. Patriarchy has even made women more mean. For which sound woman would abandon her husband after he has been abused? Think of those men in Uganda and the pain they will endure for the rest of their lives. Had they been in a society that doesn’t hand men ‘all the power’, they would probably be comforted by their wives. Let’s strive to make our society one in which respect, rights and power are equitably distributed between men and women.