Ideally, a “Good morning” would be the right way to begin this piece, but you will pardon me if I do not feel particularly good this morning. The reason is that I have just watched a video about a 37- year old womnan who had 38 kids. The video is viral content, it will spread like wildfire all over the internet, but the video, an our reaction to it is painting a very damning picture of the state of human rights, and especially the rights of the girl child. Not just in her home country of Uganda, but all over the African continent. The woman, Miriam Nabatanzi Babirye, was married off to her then forty year old husband at the tender age of twelve.
That alone is more than sufficient to cause a worrisome feeling in the depths of my stomach. I’m casting my mind back in time to the year when I clocked twelve. I was in junior secondary school, and my biggest worries were how to navigate the murky waters of mathematics, English, and all the other subjects that are the boring lot of students in junior secondary schools, and how to stay on top of all my house chores, do all I had to do, and not miss any of the meals, because I was in a boarding school. Those were my issues.
A girl, in my position, would perhaps have added the issues of burgeoning womanhood to her loist of concerns. The onset of periods, their regularity, if and when they came, and the best way to be able to take care of onself as regards hygiene and attendant issues. But no, this twelve year old was deemed fit, ripe, and mature, and thrust, while still a child, to the mercy of another man, a man older than her by more years than she had spent as a guest of the Good Lord on this third rock from the sun. I think of the kind of trauma that would have exposed her to, the long list of expectations that she would be expected to meet, the daytime scurrying and worrying, nights of pain as a forty year old man slammed his engorged shaft into her over and over again.
I think, and I worry. That alone is a gross human rights violation, a travesty for which in samer climes the man would have been cooling his erection in jail.
It gets worse, though.
By some minor miracle, the girl didn’t have her first pregnancy until nearly two year later, in 1994, when she was 14. That is almost good, until you realize that the poor girl didn’t get pregnant because she hadn’t started menstruating yet.
Worry with me.
Her first pregnancy yielded a set of twins, and it positively hurts to imagine a 14 year old teenager adrift in a harsh, wicked world, saddled with the care of two infants who will depend on her for everything.
This was followed in rapid succession by 5 more sets of twins, four sets of triplets, and three sets of quadruplets. At this point, I gave up. If I had six sets of twins, which equals twelve kids, plus four sets of triplets, which equals another twelve, brethren, and I added the sheer agony of having three sets of quadruplets, which, believe it or not, equals yet another twelve, that would be thirty six, wouldn’t it?
Cry. Cry for all the shit that that one woman’s body has been through, all the episodes of missed periods, the stress of pregnancy, and the excruciating pain of deliveries.
Dry your eyes for a moment. How much time has gone by here? How long does it take, should it take, is it meant to take, between one pregnancy and the next? Factor in time for the woman’s body and hormones to get a semblance of normalcy, then include quality breastfeeding for the host of kids, and breastfeeding for multiple births is no small thing, I assure you, then help me ask, why should that man not be convicted for any number of crimes against humanity? Sadly, this is the mindset of many of our men today. Our society has placed the worth of a woman on the productivity of her womb, her marital status, and all such nonsense. Now come nearer. Who is taking care of all those kids? Who is training them, sending them to school, meeting their needs? Certainly not their mother, she’s probably too busy making more babies. The woman still had two single births after that, bringing the grand total to 38. And I prefer not t believe that a man who at forty, can carry a twelve year old pre-teenager to his house and call her wife, banging her as yet unformed body nightly, will know anything about the value of education. If he did, she would have gone to school as a child in his house before being turned into a vehicle for bringing, nay, importing children into this wicked world. So now the question is, with her oldest child being twenty three, and the youngest a mere four months, what can a 66 year old, well-past-his-prime man offer them by way of fatherhood? And what is there to stop the children from being married off just as their mother was?
We, at fifietalkslive.com have a serious commitment to girl child education and rights, and soon, with your help and mine, such blasphemies as early marriage and rape will be a thing of the past.
I support the education of the girl child, do you?