World Pulse

CAMEROON: Dear Husbands of Bamenda

Nakinti
Posted January 22, 2016 from Cameroon

Written with fierce love, Nakinti Besumbu Nofuru's letter challenges men in her community to interrupt cycles of violence within families and society.

The way you feel about violence in the world is the same way your wife feels about violence against her. Her heart is hurting and hurting and hurting.

Nakinti profile image

Nakinti | Cameroon

Dear Husbands of Bamenda,

I am writing to you with pain in my heart because your wives have suffered at your hands. On a daily basis, I watch women being battered in public by you. I see women in wheelchairs because of you. I see women who have lost their sight because of you. I see market women who have stopped doing business because you stopped them. I see women who sleep lifeless in the streets and hospitals because of you. And just yesterday, I met an old friend’s mother who now moves with a bent back, her left arm suspended breast level because her husband beats her every day—because you beat her.

Oh, dear Husbands! You say women’s rights have made the women in our community go from submissive Bamenda women to arrogant and recalcitrant copy cats of Western culture. Seriously, husband. No, sweethearts, you are missing the point.

My dear Husbands, I am here to make things clear to you and to beg you to join me so that we can together fight gender-based violence. I know patriarchy and socialization made you believe that your wife, that all women, are second-class citizens. But no, it’s not like that! Your wife is your friend, your partner, your sister, your confidante, your everything. Care for her the way you would care for your sister. Make dialogue the number one thing in your relationship. Call her attention to things that make you unhappy—in a friendly manner. Listen to her and encourage her when she feels down. Love and trust her at all times.

Dear Husbands, if you do these things and more, you are indirectly erasing violence in your relationship. And remember, a violence-free home can guarantee a violence-free society. I am saying that if all husbands plant love and non-violence in their homes, children will grow up with the same attitude and society will be void of violence. Do you know that violence in society is built on violence within families? Yes, I am serious! I know that you are not happy with violence in your communities. The way you feel about violence in the world is the same way your wife feels about violence against her. Her heart is hurting and hurting and hurting.

Dear Husbands of Bamenda, I know not all of you are perpetrating violence against women. Still, I call on you all to join me in this fight against violence against women.

Dear Husbands, as I look forward to a positive reply to this letter, I am sending you a big hug, a big smile, a big friendly kiss on the cheek, and above all, big love.

Yours truly,
Nakinti Besumbu Nofuru
A woman in Bamenda

About This Story

This letter is among the many Voices Against Gender-Based Violencesubmissions World Pulse crowdsourced during the global 16 Days of Action Against Gender-Based Violence campaign. Read more letters and stories from this initiative »

Comments 22

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Sally maforchi Mboumien
Jan 23, 2016
Jan 23, 2016

Whoa a voice in bamenda gladdens my heart because the main issue of violence that characterizes the city is addressed. Husbands read this letter without any prejudice and you will understand the kind of society women are dreaming of.

Nakinti
Jan 25, 2016
Jan 25, 2016

Hey Masalien,

I was reading your journey and asset map yesterday. Keep the fire burning my sister. I am always very happy to see a fellow sister from Cameroon making use of the opportunities that World Pulse offers.

About my letter, I also do hope that the men of Bamenda should read it without any prejudice. Women have suffered for way too long. Thank you sis for stopping by to read this. Contact me anytime in Bamenda if you can.

One love.

Nakinti

ispeakforme
Jan 23, 2016
Jan 23, 2016

Dear Nakinti,

This is a well-written letter. I hope many husbands have read it and will step up and join in this fight. 

Thinking of you and all the women in this situation.

Mel

Nakinti
Jan 25, 2016
Jan 25, 2016

Hello Mel,

Thanks for the beautiful comment. I hope husbands can read this.

xoxo Nakinti

Tamarack Verrall
Jan 24, 2016
Jan 24, 2016

Dear Nakinti,

This is such an important and loving message. There is so much that men can do to speak with fellow men and boys about a different way of being, about embracing, not being threatened by what we women are. By chance just this morning I came across this video which includes a family member of one of the women active in the Amal Centre for Women here in Montreal. I am sending the link as it would be a support to any men reading your message and wanting to step up to this essential task. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqoXEbXkFrI. I was very moved by the beauty of what these men and boys have to say.

With love in sisterhood,

Tam

Nakinti
Jan 25, 2016
Jan 25, 2016

Hello Tam,

Thanks for sharing the video right here. I going to watch it right away. I hope men can watch as well. Thanks for encouraging me with your words.

Sending you love from Cameroon. Nakinti

AshleyKrant
Jan 24, 2016
Jan 24, 2016

Hi Nakinti,

Thank you for your passionate entry. I haven't dealt a lot with victims of domestic voilence in my past, so your story is such a powerful and vivid description for me of what many women in the world go through. I like how you equate men not wanting voilence in their communities to women not wanting voilence in their home as a way to reason with men who are voilent toward their partners.  I'm really curious, how do men that you discuss this topic with react?

Thank you for sharing, Nakinti!

Ashley

Nakinti
Jan 25, 2016
Jan 25, 2016

Dear Ashley,

Violence against women in my community has hit record high. The bad thing is that most illiterate women still believe their husbands have the right to batter them. They don't know it is wrong. Husbands too know that their wives are their property and so they reserve the right to do what ever they want to their property that they bought with their money. A simple issue of not meeting lunch on time is reason enough for most men to beat their women to collapse level. It is sad.

Thanks for reading, Ashley. Sending you love from Cameroon

Nakinti  

Celine
Jan 25, 2016
Jan 25, 2016

Dear Nakinti,

Such a poweful letter you wrote to husbands in Bamenda. I wish I am a husband from Bamenda, I should have replied your letter with words of acknowledgement and apologies filled with remorse and promises. If I keep my promises, I should have joined hands in erasing violence in relationship in Bamenda.

In my city of Orlu in Nigeria, my kinsmen mete out physical and verbal abuses on their wives, sisters, daughters and even in some cases, their mothers any time the women fail in their 'duties' like washing men's undies, cook food, serve them food late or attempt to go contrary to the gender roles and positions. In my recent visit I experienced a case where a mother was refered to as a 'stranger / visitor' to her marital family where she has six adult children by her own son simply because she demanded for an opportunity to speak her mind on a very important family issue. She was deeply hurt and psychologically affected by the comments of the son. She was withdrawn for days.

Patriarchy and societal norms have given men propelling power and they are all out to suppress women. Change of mindset is just it. It is unthinkable in our societies that a man should be abused in manners women are abused. I love your equation: neither men nor women are meant to suffer violence. We look forward to the day that at least 80% of men will realise that gender based violence works against the principle of love and violence -free communities we all want to see.

Thank you so much Nakinti for this powerful piece.

Celine

Nakinti
Jan 25, 2016
Jan 25, 2016

My dear sis Celine,

You have said it all. Women suffer violence for all the wrong reasons. I am looking forward to the era when violence will be completely eliminated.

Thanks sis for the detail comment that tells a lot about the realities of violence in our communities.

One love. Nakinti

ARREY- ECHI
Jan 27, 2016
Jan 27, 2016

Well written. We need to raise more voices on issues of gender based violence targetting women especially.  

Nakinti
Jan 29, 2016
Jan 29, 2016

Thanks for reading my submission. We really  do have to raise our voices on issues of gender based violence. Women are suffering.

Have a blessed day

Nakinti

Nusrat Ara
Feb 05, 2016
Feb 05, 2016

Thanks Nakinti for writing the letter on behalf of all women. Involvement of men is mandatory for gender justice. We women can't do it alone. 

Keep writing.

Nakinti
Feb 11, 2016
Feb 11, 2016

Thanks Nusrat! Involvement of men is truly mandatory for gender justice.

Love from Cameroon.

Precious Nkeih
Feb 10, 2016
Feb 10, 2016

Sister, just days ago the wife of a husband of Bamenda called me. She was beaten and her clothes ripped by this husband of Bamenda. He followed her with a machete and she ran away to seek refuge in another neighbourhood. Husbands of Bamenda, when will you start cherishing the women in your life??? 

Well written, sis!

Nakinti
Feb 11, 2016
Feb 11, 2016

Oh my sister, Precious, for how long will this go on. I think the women have suffered for so long. Precie, thanks for adding your strong voice to this particular issue. We need to do something.

With love Nakinti

GlobalSister
Feb 11, 2016
Feb 11, 2016

Yes, this.  Dear husbands hear her!  Thank you for dreaming the space for all.

Susie

Nakinti
Feb 11, 2016
Feb 11, 2016

Thank you too for reading, Susie. Husbands must hear this.

Sending you love from Cameroon. Nakinti

Feima_S
Feb 17, 2016
Feb 17, 2016

'...A violence-free home can guarantee a violence-free society'.

Very powerful! Thanks for sharing this Nakinti. 

Emily Miki
Feb 20, 2016
Feb 20, 2016

Hi Naki, This is spelt out just as it is happening and while we beckon the men, I believe it's time our Cameroonian women also become able to stand up for their rights. Because like you I have seen several cases but can you imagine these women don't report this crimes? Because our culture doesn't allow it or is it because they are all too scared of what their neighbors and families will say? Or is it because they don't want to remain unmarried? I personally think while we write to the men the biggest work we have is changing the mind-sets of our mothers whom don't listen to us because they believe they gave birth to us and we can't teach them on those things. That we didn't start education or they didn't send us to school so we can come and "chick" them and tell them how to run their homes and marriages. The stereotyped minds are just killing me and are promoting the violence every second every minute.

diner
Mar 15, 2016
Mar 15, 2016

Your poem shows the cry of many women who suffer under the hands of violent men. They cannot call out for help because of fear of their own lives and their children's lives. Let your poem inspire our husbands/fathers/sons/brothers to respect and treat women better to end violence.

rimu patil
Mar 23, 2016
Mar 23, 2016

This letter is so beautiful and touching. I hope husbands all across the world read it and learn something.