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Make men more accountable

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It is tempting to think of men as animals who cannot control their urges. This is what is implied when women are told that if they wear tight fitting clothes or miniskirts in public they put themselves in danger of being raped. It is affirmed by men themselves when they threaten those women with a public stripping and beating, or argue that the benefits of sex without a condom outweigh the risk of STIs and pregnancy.  But when men are angry that Matobo Senator Sithembile Mlotshwa from MDC-T has also affirmed this position I am surprised. It is one thing for men to control how women behave both in public and private, but it is quite another when women seek to do the same. Men themselves exploit the notion that they are unable to control their urge to procreate. Our society has made it acceptable for a man to have a wife, a small house and a girlfriend, without making that man accountable. And before anyone brings up polygamy, please understand that polygamy was practised within the framework of the family, not outside it.

I don’t agree with the senator’s sentiments. The premise upon which her argument is based, that men are exclusively to blame for the spread of HIV, is false. More than that, the idea of chemically castrating men in general is not only in-humane but also ridiculous. But in the face of countless testimonials by HIV-infected women whose single sexual partner is a philandering husband, I can understand her frustration.

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