A day after my Slut Night article, I got an email from a man asking me why I enjoy bashing men and labelling them as sociopaths. Has that man seen the statistics? Has he been living under a huge rock, or is he really just an “aspris p**s”? But I also thought to myself, is this what the beginning of hate speech under the disguise of a worried man looks like? Is this just the first man in line to come in my emails, and feel entitled enough to ask me to stop the good fight for women because it bruised his ego?
I couldn’t help but think that I probably need to watch my back, because labelling a man as a sociopath has consequences from his entourage of other patriarchal men.
This is the problem with men - they refuse to understand the reality on the ground. In 2020 alone, 36 women and girls were killed between January and July 2020.
According to figures obtained by Eagle FM from the police, more than 500 women and girls were raped. In July alone, eight women and girls were killed. Of the eight, four women were killed by their partners.
Of the 500, 164 girls were raped by family members, while 14 women were raped by their partners. From these, an alarming 404 applications were withdrawn by the applicants.
If these statistics are not worrisome for the man in my email to have a discussion with other men on how to not be a threat to women, then my work here is not done. Words cannot truly explain how TERRIFIED I am to exist as a woman in NAMIBIA.
As the Namibian writer and activist Martha Mukaiwa tweeted, “You stay, you’re abused. You leave, you get murdered. You go to the police, they victim-blame, lose case docs or arrive too late. You protest, law enforcement harasses or arrests you.
If this is not actual flaming hell and worth having conversations around, then we will always carry the #OnsIsMoeg narrative. For as long as we are silent about issues that affect women on a daily, Namibia will remain a patriarchal society where toxic masculinity is anchored in paternalistic and patronising value systems of male supremacy, exacerbated by the effects of colonisation.
The reality is that rape remains rampant, and incest and sexual abuse are a daily occurrence in cases ranging from grandmothers to babies.
So, to the man in my emails and those queuing up to tell me to write lighter notes on men, please take time to read up on the statistics in Namibia.
Take time to engage and talk about all the issues that you as men do amongst each other that led me to keep writing these articles. As a man, how about you educate yourself on how to be less of a sociopath and barbaric?
When you send a message like that, you are intimidating a journalist to keep quiet, and to stop dismantling patriarchal ways that propagate the many ways in which women suffer in this country. You are instilling fear.
• Frieda Mukufa’s lifestyle section concentrates on women-related issues and parenting every Friday in the New Era newspaper. She also specialises in editing research proposals, proofreading as well as content creation.