by Dwight Hobbs
Mr. Hobbs is a writer, playright, performance artists and songwriter. Hobbs has written for ESSENCE Magazine, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the MN Spokesman-Recorder newspapers.
Was being interviewed by Verona Mitchell on her show Cultural Conversations (blogtalkradio)
to plug my book Something I Said, a significant portion of which is devoted to domestic abuse and rape. At one point, Mitchell asked me a tough one. What, as a male, did I think could and should be done about such a serious, chronic problem? I didn’t want to give the impression of being flip and, accordingly, took care to assure her I wasn’t in my response. Which went along the lines of for all that women have made progress in America, when it comes to concrete change
about something that grave, the progress is pretty cosmetic. We’ve got Hillary and we’ve got Michelle an
d more. We’ve also still got a society in which men beat and rape women like it’s lunch.
You want legislators on Capitol Hill to get serious about enforcing restraining orders (even if she’s misguided enough to take him back), you want law-makers to take serious that invention with the little teeth that women can insert in themselves so that it clamps down on the head of a rapist’s weapon, there’s a way to do it. And it’s not by lobbying. Take a page from the ancient Greek play Lysistrata in which women figured out how to stop their men from waging war. Women across America start withholding sex and see how fast men in Congress get busy making domestic abuse and rape their number one priority. My reasoning is the same as the farmer in an old anecdote. He was trying to plow a furrow, but his mule wouldn’t move. So, he picked up a plank and hit the mule smack upside the head with it. His neighbor asked, “What did you do that for?” The farmer answered, “Well, first you have to get his attention.” Trust me, you hit men in that other head and you’ll damn sure get their attention. Undivided.
Well, Verona Mitchell didn’t think I was being flip. In fact, she imparted that something on that order was taking place in Africa. After the interview, I looked it up. Sure enough, women from the “Let’s Save Togo” coalition in late August called on all females in the to refrain from sex for a week to make men into support the coalition in its demonstrations against the government. This following weeks of clashes between security forces and protesters demanding changes to the country’s electoral law. And, turns out, Isabelle Ameganvi, president of National Alliance for Change, said the Togolese women got the idea from Liberian women during that country’s civil war. She also said it worked, telling Voice of America, “We want to fight as women of Liberia because when they started to do the sex strike, the men obliged to end the war and peace came back again in Liberia. That’s why we want to do the same thing in Togo to oblige the Togolese opposition to fight and end the system of oppression which has directed Togo for 16 years.” she said.
Frankly, it’ll take more than a week to put a dent in the psyche of American men. But, the concept nonetheless is viable. It’s proven fact — if you need to see statics, you’ve never been in a relationship that truly turned into a battle of wills — the longer she holds out the less he will. Men will be ringing up their Congressmen, sending emails, the whole nine. And in this election year, those phone calls and emails will be taken seriously as a heart attack.
At any rate, it’s certainly worth a try. If you don’t think so, feel absolutely free to suggest your own solution.
- Sex As A Political Weapon (madamnatur.com)
- Give It Up for Lysistrata! (semperegoauditor.typepad.com)
- Single mum in Liberia (africanpress.me)