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Unlike the current generation, people in the past were much observant especially in handling issues that could have possible compromised their traditions and cultural beliefs. The traditions obviously varied from one society to the other due to the existence of several ethnic groups spread across the world. However, there were those traditions that were similar to almost all societies. For instance, issues to deal with marriages, circumcision among other things were common to many. In most societies to mention, it is a condition that baby boys undergo circumcision as a rite of passage. The common form of circumcision was the cutting off of the manhood's forehead. In so doing, the boys graduated from childhood to adulthood (Kramarae C & Splendor D. Pg 213-215).
Dealing with marriage was another factor considered the most crucial event by most societies. Marriages were mainly undertaken so as to ensure the continuity of the society or rather a certain ethnic group (Githinji F.). It should however be noted that despite marriage being essentially important, there were some exceptions or in other words, conditions that one as an individual had to satisfy before being married. Specifically aligning to our society, girls were supposed to be virgins before marriage. This means that a girl had not to break her virginity because this would automatically disqualify her from being married. Such disqualification meant a lot to the society. First, it implied that the society's dignity was compromised. Secondly, it meant that the family of the baby girl would lose the pride price in the form of dowry. Our society therefore laid down harsh consequences that posed a threat which prevented their daughters from messing around (Kaplan A. M. Pg 27-29).
Other than being each other's companion, the sole purpose of marriage is to bare children. Our society considers children as blessings since they encourage existence and continuity of the family's name (Githinji, F.). Inability to bare children therefore meant a lot of distress to the married couples. People with such inabilities were deemed as society's outcasts. In most instances, women were victimized as the cause of such problems. They were taken back to their families and the family had to refun the dowry in full.
The traditions of our society really seemed unbearable. Wife beating was encouraged whenever a woman went wrong. Worse of it all, some men took advantage of this rule and molested their wives. No one gave a listening ear to the victims of marital violence since many of the people considered married women as the subjects to their husbands. Being the head of the family, the husband was liable to no one other than his own consent. Whatever a husband did, no matter how good or bad, the society considered it as good for the development and upright growth of the family (Kamen, H. Pg 162).
My aunt had been a victim of such violence and discrimination in the society. Married at the age of twenty three years, my aunt left her fathers' home to join his husband in a different place almost five miles away from her home. Dowry was made on time which allowed my aunt's husband to live legally with her wife. Their marriage was a blessing for three years before things started turning their backs on her. Due to biological problems acquired while she was young, my aunt could not bear a child. Her inabilities were considered as a curse to the society she was married to. Guess what this meant? First, my aunt was to undergo rejection from both societies. Two, her parents were to repay back the dowry in full. Despite having lived happily for the past three years, her husband began mistreating her, if not through serious beatings, it was through the use of abusive language such as a whore, barren woman among others. Some of her friends that she had made over the short while she was married ran away since none of them wanted to be associated with an outcast. The depression being unbearable any longer, my aunty ran away back to her father's home. Though her parents, specifically her father, were not happy upon her arrival, they had no other option other than welcoming her since she was still their daughter.
I remember one day when we were washing clothes by the riverside when I noticed some scars in her back. When asked, she explained to me in tears that she obtained those marks from her husband's beatings. Personally I pitied her for the difficulties she encountered at such an early age. As she narrated her story, I felt a lot of hate towaards her husband. Tears began rolling down my cheeks and requested her top change the topic since I could not bear it any longer.
When the neighbors heard that she was home and back for good, there was mixed reactions. A few of the members who had some light of education understood her situation but a good majority laid an accusing finger on her. Despite all the blame, my aunty stood by her principle of never turning back. She gave a deaf ear to all the blames and accusations and verged forward developing her shuttered life. She opted to do farming and small businesses so as to make her living other than depending on other people. Her father gave her a piece of land to her to boost her farming business. The business really did well since she believed in hard work as the best way to succeed in life.
Further, my aunty believed in considering challenges as opportunities. Despite having been a victim of domestic violence, my aunt took an initiative of starting up a forum that publicly addressed women issues. Many people welcomed the idea since it was only in such forums where women could articulate their problems for they had no other listening ear. In such open forums, people were encouraged never to give up in life since life itself has got a meaning to each and every individual, indiscriminate of the difficulties faced. Using her own example, had she given up on life, she probably might have been very miserable and possibly could have died as a result of domestic violence which subjects many to stress.
In conclusion, some of the philosophies used by my aunt to conquer challenges involved seeing challenges as opportunities, being optimistic about the entire life, never giving up at all no matter the situation you are undergoing and also being a hardworking person so as to lead a successful life. Accepting oneself is also another important philosophy in life. Possibly some women out there would have contemplated terminating their own lives due to the discriminations faced. This should however not be the case since for every creation, there must be a purpose awaiting it. All this principles and life philosophies have positively influenced my entire life and have made me realize that life we live is determined by how we want it to be.