..Like a compass that always finds north...
To say the past week has been upsetting would be putting it mildly. Unless one has been living under a rock then surely everyone has seen the coverage about the 8 year old girl who was ALLEGEDLY raped and murdered by Mozambique national Isaque Mantega. I capitalized the allegedly because in our quest for what we deem justice we tend to convict a suspect without due process.
Now the news that a child has been raped and murdered is upsetting enough and should be treated with the most care and sensitivity but once again as often happens in our patriarchal society Basotho chose to go north when the right direction would have been south. I for one appreciated their anger. It is an angering thing that has occurred but sadly their anger soon became misplaced.
The first nonsensical assertion was that since the alleged suspect and the child’s mother had a romantic relationship she was at fault for introducing men into her child’s life. Single mothers apparently lead a dangerous lifestyle which includes dating and as such they only have themselves to blame when tragedy befalls their kids because after all how dare they experience normal human emotions and desire for companionship! This would have been laughable had it not been so deeply engrained in our society. I have no idea why people assume single mothers should not move on with their lives after their children’s fathers leave! Worse yet I do not understand the always overt suggestions when rape and murder occurs that a woman should have chosen better. If it is an adult woman she would have been blamed for having consorted with dangerous men but in this case the mother is at fault for consorting with dangerous men. The irony here is that no one ever bothers to define how to spot these dangerous men so we can stay clear of them.
Look around you, women and children get raped and murdered by fathers, brothers, colleagues and priests. ALL MEN ARE DANGEROUS MEN and to accuse a mother of not knowing that this particular man was dangerous is crazy when we consistently fail to define what is a dangerous man !
The next critique came from my least favorite group of people. Broke men. I keep saying there is nothing wrong about a man not having financial means. It happens but the society we have all built has reduced men to their financial capabilities and this has led men who cannot provide as they desire to walk around with a deep sense of shame and anger. Alas this anger too is often misplaced and directed at women. How else can you describe them coming for the mother and accusing her of having brought upon danger to her child by dating a foreign national so he could provide for her! Misogyny with a touch of xenophobia ; The rallying cry of the downtrodden and oppressed. It is sad to watch and on some level I understand it, It is a deep shame and feeling of inadequacy that makes them lack compassion and thought. Only someone who has deep feelings of insecurity would blame a mother for her child being murdered. It is as if by pointing the finger of blame at women they can mask their own shame at failing to attain the markers of success that the patriarchal world their forefathers have created demand of them.
In any case once again as a society we missed the mark once again and instead of looking for solutions we chose the easiest and most damaging option. Blame the woman. To steal from Khaled Hosseini “Like a compass needle always finding north, society’s accusing finger always finds a woman”