This article is basically for all the widows in the world, most especially to the African Continent. Sometimes destiny doesn’t allow you to do what you want in life but what have been written about you.
Sometimes life present itself to us in a diverse way. Life itself is like a story book, some pages are boring, some dull and others interestingly. There are some pages when you opened, you are in a hurry to flip to the next page, others when you opened, you don’t want to finished reading. Such is life, sometimes you wish you were not born, at times too you wish you are still where you are because life is really giving you the best and treating you well and you wish to stay a bit longer. Especially when you are a kid and all is going on well in the family, your wish is that, the moment never fades out but trust me, you will surely get to that stage where you will wish you are still young. Because if you look at the vehement in the youth time compare to the adulthood, my dear you will surely wish but I tell you what, is too later. Sometime too when you go through some shindig’s moments, you wish it should continue like but trust me it not always going to be like that for you. Remember that, the moments of evanescent
Some people see widows to be responsible for their own predicament which I found it worrying. Now the question here is who on earth, want to kill a person he or she is with? I don’t foresee any rational human being whose main idea is that my husband should die. In any case, is there anyone that would marry his or her enemy? Some when people begin to start the lose talk of her killing her husband, I always have problem with such utterances that proceed from others mouth. If not for anything at all, the man’s presence alone in the house would bring some respect and responsibility to the lady and the family at large. I don’t know for everyone but as a writer and advocate of socialism, I have always seen ladies that shows that kind of kvell whenever they are with their husbands. Therefor I see no reason why the same woman would like to kill the husband.
DEFINITION OF WIDOW:
When someone is referred to as widow, what comes into our mind? And who is widow at all?
Now a widow is a woman who have lost spouse by death of any kind. As soon as the spouse id dead, the woman becomes widow until she decides to marry again till then, the woman is under the theme widow. As we all know, we have several ways to respond to the calling of our maker when the time comes. It doesn’t really matter how the person dead but what matters most is that the person has departed from the planet earth.
Some people’s death is surreal and that comprehending it would be a very big thing to dealt with. But the question who are you the question the creator why that should. Like Bible let us understand that everything that happens, happens for good and there for it implacable that we give thanks to God without question his ability of what he can do and what he can’t do.
WHO IS QUALIFIED TO BE CALLED A WIDOW?
Like I state in the definition of widow. Now are going to see who at all is qualified with the said title widow? Widow is a woman whose husband has pass on. And therefore, a woman whose husband is no more is known as widow but not all of these people ae qualified to be called so. Why because when the husband passes on, where is the ladies now? Is she married or still single? If yes then the said person is qualifying to be called so by the virtue of law but if not then the said person cannot be called a widow by any means. She can also be termed as the late so, so and so wife and not a widow.
Now is someone who when lost the spouse [man] and have not being married since that time when the husband demised. So for who is to be called widow have been made clear but let me remind you that the purpose of these very article is not about the qualification but the maltreatments these people go through as a result of them losing their partners is what are interest is but all this is for the purpose of education.
CHALLENGES OF A WIDOW:
Widows as we all know comes with a lot of challengers and criticisms from all angles. Some you know them others to you don’t but when you listen to these people talking about, you might even think they know you more than you should know them. One thing about lies is that, it travels faster than the truth. Before you get to know that you are not of what you are been accused of by then is too late to right the wrong. By then the harm has been done already.
Some of the challenges are as follows:
- They are forced out of their homes: The widows who fall victim to the games of family members are been force out of their home by a mere accusation. Either they have killed their witch or they have killed their husbands in order to inherit the wealth of the man. These ladies have no place to clear their head as far as the family have said that, that is it leaving the woman and the children homeless and they are forced to hit on the street in order to meet their needs at the end of the day. The family would now take in charge of everything that woman suffered with the husband in the life to achieve.
- DISREGARD FOR THE RIGHTS OF WIDOWS: It has mostly seen that the right of some widows is being denied in one way or the other by either family members or the society at large. In most instances woman whose husband is dead would be forced to marry either the younger or older brother of the husband fail to do so results in a lot of conflict between the woman and the family, in other case the right of the woman to inherit the property of the late husband become a very big issues just because there family of the husband aren’t ready to let the woman have such a property especially if the two couples don’t have any kid in their term of marriage. The UN Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 2 that “Everyone is eligible to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without discrepancy of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” These rights are further and more explicitly articulated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). There is evidence that even in countries where there is no conflict and despite all the international provisions protecting the rights of women, the rights of widows, as women and members of the human race are disregarded. There may not be able to inherit land, may be forced to marry, may be subjected to inhumane mourning rights or abuse all in the name of custom, religious or traditional practice.
- INHERITANCE RIGHTS: It’s within the right of every woman to inherit her husband if the man eventually pass away, but most part of our African continent, it is very difficult for a woman dem that right to possess the property of the late husband because family members will eventually move to the man’s house which of course would even let them push the woman out with baseless accusations of killing the husband so she inherit the properties. In this case, inheritance becomes extremely difficulty for the said woman which means lot of them even losing their mind. Because from most of them, if you look at how they suffered with their husbands to make it in life and now such accusations are befallen before them it something very worry. By virtue of its General Comments no 28 (entitled ‘Equality of rights between men and women’) on Article 3 of the ICCPR, the Human Rights Committee placed an compulsion on States to act to safeguard women’s inheritance rights: “States Parties [to the ICCPR] must also safeguard equality in regard to the closure of marriage, which excludes the possibility of refutation.…. Women should also have equal inheritance rights to those of men when the closure of marriage is caused by the death of one of the spouses. CEDAW requires states in its General Recommendation 25 (2004) on article 4 of CEDAW to “take all apt measures, including legislation, to amend or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices which constitute discernment against women”. However, General Recommendation No. 21 on ‘Equality in marriage and family relations’ points out that: “There are many countries where the law and practice concerning inheritance and property result in serious discernment against women. As a result of this uneven treatment, women may receive a smaller share of the husband’s or father’s property at his death than would widowers and sons. In some instances, women are granted limited and controlled rights and receive income only from the deceased’s property. Often inheritance rights for widows do not reflect the principles of equal ownership of property acquired during marriage. Such provisions contravene the Convention
- Widowhood Cleansing: There is nothing more painful than that moment when you lost your partner and family members are calling for cleansing to be done for you. The concept of sacramental cleansing is rooted in many traditional societies in Africa. Sacraments are performed after the death to cleanse or sanitize the affected person and in this case the widow. They do this in fear of evil spirits that are regarded as agents of death. A widow in this case is regarded as being ritualistically unclean because of her husband’s death. She goes through many perilous experiences
- Isolation from the real world: I do remember elven  years ago when my dad passes on and my mother have to go through this hill. She is not supposed to mingle with other people until that period is over. And you can actually feel the pain she is going through even we the kids it takes extra effort to see our mother, all in the name that they are performing a sacramental for her. Many widows have expressed that the most torturing experience they went through is when they were left alone with no one to talk to. Remember that she has no choice of cloths she is expected to wear black during this mourning period. As she is not supposed to were fancy cloths. Black is the sign of mourning. Some traditions shave the hair of the widow so that she does not have to style the hair. With order women they put a blackhead scarf all the time. She is a different person with a different appearance left alone, what will be in her mind? She cannot eat with others and uses old plates which will be destroyed after ritual are done. She is restricted socially. She is not allowed to visit other homes or shake hands with people. At a time when she needs support and comfort to help her begin to get to terms with what has happened, she is made to be alone – lonely with no one to talk to which in many cases affects her physical health. To be silent and not seen talking is one of the virtues of a good grieving widow – so is believed and taught. She is marginalized and without decisions to make, only following the dictates of the in laws.
- Impact on children: Because of the torture some widows go through, it has an impact on our kids, when you have been accused of something that you are not responsible, the impact it has on you automatically affect he children as well. As a mother, you need a sound mind to be able concentrate on your children welfare and their education but you are being hit with such an allegation, trust me there is no mind left for you to think about yourself left alone your kids. Children grow to see the negative treatment that their mother gets from her relatives and this affects them psychologically. Many children have not done well at school, dropped out of school and have grown up miserable. Other children when they grow up, have applied such negative treatment to their wives when they marry, because they think that is how women should be treated. So, we can see that the treatment that the mother gets, children see it to be abnormal and it reflects on their future life. Some of the children that we see in the streets to day or as drug addicts are as the result of the treatment they went through after the death of their father.
- ABUSE OF WIDOWS: In addition to their rights being disregarded, widows, in many traditional communities, may suffer cruel and humiliating grief rites. Article 4 of the Declaration on the Elimination of all forms of Violence against women provides: “States should condemn violence against women and should not invoke any custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid their obligations with respect to its elimination.” The definition of violence is outlined in Article 1 of this Declaration as: “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
WHY THE CHALLENGES:
Now the question is why that challenges? Most people really want to know why the widows are going through that challenges that they do go through. These ladies go through this torturing and tormenting they go through is because of the tradition they found themselves, the tradition has made it that when their husbands passes on, they are supposed to go through that. But it sometimes to it the wicked nature of some members of the family that makes these women go through that level of torturing. Some of them would deliberately cause the allegation just for them to be able to take over what does not belong to them.
HOW DOES SOCIETY SEE THEM [WIDOWS]?
Most the societies in our communities have a different idea when it comes to the affairs. To some communities, they see them to be responsible for the demised of their husband’s others also see them to be innocent of the allegations leveled against them.
Sometimes society even see you to be odd because you have lost you husband and therefore you lose a lot of friends that are still married to their partners. Some even go to the extend that they are strip of their positions they hold in the various religious groups or organization due to the situation they found themselves.
WHERE DID THEY SEEK REFUGE WHEN THINGS GO BAD?
Now the next question is where did they seek refuge when things goes bad for the in the family? As a writer and a Journalist one thing I have always being advocating for is the help of the orphans and widows to be able to also meet the standard of living that others are also going through. Now back to the question where they have to seek for refuge when things go bad, the Bible let us understand that God is the father of the fatherless but seems God is not here on earth with us physically, it means that all those can be done through other sources. Other source in terms of leaders that are leading us in the society. There are a lot of Religious leaders, Opinion leaders, Chiefs and their Subjects to stir the affairs of such people.
But the question is that, are those people doing what they are supposed to do for the community that God have asked them to do? Most of these people are even behind the mask of whatsoever that is happening. Nowadays people are playing politics even in the church just to get a certain position in the church that their colleagues are holding so they will do everything possible to get rid of her. So instead of you helping that person you will rather kick the person out.
HOW TO OVERCOME THESE CHALLENGES?
How to overcome these challenges have become a major headache for most people going through this situation. Some people over the years have still not able to overcome these tragic situations at hand and they are still going through it.
I think is about time family members stops interfering in the affairs of couples in order to make their own decisions as what goes to who and why that? Also, some of the traditions should abolish for the better enhancement of the widows to be able to participate in the funeral rites of their husbands as well as being able to mingle with their friends without any limitation.
Also, I think the widows should try as much as they can to take the matters up to seek for assistant from places that are appropriate to responds to their needs.