When A Man Loves A Woman . . .
No level of gender equality can change the fact that men and women are significantly disparate, physically and emotionally. The curves and edges of a woman, eulogized by John Legend’s popular ballad All of Me, normally contrast with the more angular features of masculinity. Body hairs on a woman are generally finer than a man’s, most times exposing softer skin. Facially, gentler and softer lines define femininity. There is no way to mistake the compatibility between male and female reproductive systems—unless surgically altered.
Most men will attest to falling victim to premenstrual mood swings. I readily acknowledge being an overly emotional female who would cry faster than any of my brothers. Scientifically it’s explained that the same neurons in the brain that are connected to a female’s internal hormonal, blood pressure and respiration regulation, are instead connected to a male’s external vision and movement regulation.
From time immemorial, male and female roles have been distinct. Women are child bearers, breast feeders and, more often than not, the physically weaker sex. Motherhood and wifehood require care-giving and nurturing physically, emotionally and spiritually. The same goes for fatherhood and being a husband. Socially and culturally women have tended to the households and the children. In the recent epoch many have become the sole or predominant breadwinners. Men have fulfilled the leadership roles in the home by being providers and protectors, whether as husband, father or son.
Orthodox societal roles are undoubtedly changing although some feminists have instead become extremists. Men and women are becoming more comfortable with letting the opposite gender manage the home or rake in the dollars. Either way, roles are, hopefully, equally shared.
If women can also be protectors, especially emotionally, men are still biblically, socially and culturally given the responsibility to protect as well. But ironically in our Christian society, the vast majority of accused rapists are male.
Imagine a young woman or child being brutally assaulted by a stranger and left soaked in sex-reeking blood, like the 1979 case of a woman violated in her ninth month of pregnancy and left desolate under a bridge with her rape-induced, newborn twins. It was the young woman’s stepfather who was charged with her rape and murder and with also killing her twins.
I remember the family of the missing Crystal St. Omer asking whether I’d seen her. Her body was later discovered at Cap Estate. The family had expected the worst when Crystal didn’t come home, and were proven right. A young man confessed to killing Crystal soon after her body was discovered.
According to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force’s Crime Analysis Report, January to December 2016: “Males accounted for 93 percent of murders.” The percentage differs only slightly for preceding years. At my last visit to Bordelais Correctional Facility in August this year only eight of the 529 inmates were female.
Teachers complain continuously about students whose mothers are the only providers in their households. So preoccupied with putting bread on their tables, these mothers have little opportunity to be real mothers. Where are the fathers? Some children are forced to assume stressful responsibilities while still at school because their mothers alone cannot provide for them. By their abandonment men have forced females to assume dominant roles and to be less concerned about equal rights. Families continue to be dysfunctional while the young turn more and more to criminal behaviour. Might the causes be related to their MIA fathers? Some will say it’s unfair that so many women seem to believe “all men are dogs”. There is evidence to the contrary, however scant. The fact remains that too many Saint Lucian families are daily abandoned by the very people who should be providing for them and keeping them safe: the fathers of our society.
Would it be asking too much, even in our presumed Christian country, to suggest our men take a lesson from the life of Jesus who willingly sacrificed himself in our best interests? There was a time, from all I’ve read, when men took special pride in what they did for their families. Whatever happened to that?
Could the answer to the island’s crime woes lie in deeper understanding and acceptance of gender roles?