Monitoring a partner is abuse, not love
Too many women allow themselves to be doormats
I WAS recently at a top-class shebeen-cum-restaurant in Soweto where I was reminded that some women enjoy abuse and violence.
My evening was almost spoilt by a pretty woman who boasted that her man loved her and demanded to know her every move.
She answered phone calls or text messages and everybody knew about her verbal and textual exchanges with her lover.
Of course, it would seem there is absolutely nothing wrong with this practice.
There are far too many women who have grown accustomed to going out on their own or with friends simply because their partners or lovers prefer to be with other people.
And it is only when it is time to sleep that the so-called boyfriend or partner would call or just show up unannounced to claim what belongs to him.
Violence and abuse against women is packaged in textual messages and just-before-midnight calls these days, where most women have to account to invisible lovers about where they are, whom they are with, what they are doing and when they are going home.
It is very important for women to be agents who promote the right to self-determination, respect and equality with their male counter-parts, especially in heterosexual relationships.
Far too many women have been brutalised, abused and even killed because they do not realise they promote violence and abuse against themselves.
I tried to conduct an on-the-spot seminar on how the cellphone has become a weapon to control and monitor the movements and conduct of women who should be enjoying their freedom.
What I wanted this woman and her friends to understand was that no man can oppress you unless you allow him to.
This particular woman and her friends seemed to have no clue about their freedom to be or not to be with a guy on any night, especially Friday or Saturday.
What I wanted her particularly to understand was that she does not owe anybody an explanation about what she is doing, who she is doing it with, where they are doing it or when they will finish doing it.
Most men have a hard time understanding that you cannot abandon your woman to do the things you desire with the people you want to and still expect her to be with you by remote control.
It is either you are with your partner lover or you are not.
If you are not together, you cannot harass her by distracting her from enjoying precious moments of her life simply because she must account to an absent you.
I am not suggesting reckless freedom without responsibility.
But what women deserve, because it is their right, is indulging in social gatherings to relax, be easy, unstressed and engage in meaningful interaction that will enhance the quality of their lives. Women cannot enjoy themselves when they are preoccupied with answering phone calls or SMSes that are a way of manipulating them.
I made it very clear to the woman that she was willingly submitting to violence and abuse in the form of textual harassment.
But I was scolded because many women believe that if a deliberately absent lover keeps tabs on her movement and association, it is a sign of love and care.
Is it not true that there are many women who believe that "there is no true love without jealousy".
This is the philosophical nonsense that has seen far too many women succumb to violence and abuse.
Some women seem to have no problem with their right to privacy being violated and undermined by some partner lover simply because treating a woman like your property is part of the new love etiquette.
Well, some of us have a serious problem with that.
No man or woman has got any right to make a partner lover account for anything they do except when they want to do so.
It is not a crime or unfaithfulness when your partner lover does not want to share the details of how they spent their evening, who they spent it with or how much time or money they spent together.
But, obviously, there are far too few men or women who cherish freedom more than love.
After I realised that I was not making any headway with the woman and her friends, I switched off and amused myself by remembering that we live in a world where love and freedom do not go together.
Instead, in a relationship or marriage, the two people must become one.
What this means is that one partner must be willing to give up their lives for the other.
And, dammit, it is always the woman!
The writer is an author and chief director for marketing and public relations at the Department of Arts and Culture. He writes in his personal capacity