Women have to assert themselves in establishing relationships

Women have to assert themselves in establishing relationships

BY Calvin E Isaacs

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

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The back-to-back killings, two days in a row, of women in intimate partner violence in a country as small as Jamaica should have evoked howls of condemnation from all corners of the society. Sadly, however, though a few voices of outrage were heard, many, including women, almost automatically found a way to blame the victims. How sad!

Women should not be wholly blamed for intimate partner violence, but as the ones who are most at risk of this outcome, they have to find ways to avoid at least some of it. One way they can do so is by carefully vetting the type of men they enter into relationships with — before starting those relationships. Some relationships should not be entered into in the first place. Women must know that they have choices.

Women must use the power they have to gain more leverage in their relationships. In the old days, when women depended on men for almost everything, it was easier for the man to manipulate and dominate the woman. But, in today's world, where the typical woman is more educated than the man, has a better job than the man, and contributes more financially to the house than the man, she has the power and independence to get a better deal where intimate relationships are concerned. In many instances she does not need money or support stuff from the man. What she needs from the man is respect, affection, partnership, and love. She needs a man who is willing to treat her as his equal; a man who appreciates that she has a mind of her own and an identity of her own; and a man who is aware that leadership is not the same as being the boss, but more like being a servant.

It is true that “good men” may be scarce, but they are not totally non-existent. While it may be difficult to find a good man, too many women settle for someone who is unworthy of them. Is it that some are hopeless of finding a good man? Is it that some do not value themselves enough? Is it that too many believe that it is normal for men to abuse women? Women can and should negotiate equitable “terms and conditions” of relationships. Unlike the former days when they were styled and treated as “bringing nothing to the table” — which was despicable lie! — no man, in the present scheme of things, can challenge the weight and worth of the woman's contribution to intimate relationships.

I call on the women, therefore, to assert themselves as equal partners to any potential relationship with a man. Any man who resists the idea of the equality of the woman in the relationship is not worthy of her. Mutual respect is a must for functional relationships, and that must be established at the outset. It is the woman who must ensure that gone are the days when a man “gets a girl”. When a man “gets” a woman it is like acquiring a piece of property. He does as he likes with his property. Relationships must be started and treated as partnerships in which two equally independent individuals decide to share their lives — not one getting the other. Women must raise the bar of acceptability. If the bar is set too low the men will not feel the need to step up their game, and will continue to treat women as subordinates.

While there is no guarantee that the good man will not turn out to be abusive, it is almost a given that if women are a little more selective in their choices they will enjoy better relationships.


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