The following myth was written quickly and isn’t finished, but was in response to the murder of a young woman last week. From Britain, to Kurdistan to Trinidad and Tobago, all countries I have lived in, I am so tired of hearing of these atrocities against women. I am so sick of hearing authorities tell women to take care and be aware. How about they start saying to men STOP. ABUSING. RAPING. AND. MURDERING. WOMEN
All who entered the kingdom could not deny its beauty. The mountains that shielded the interior were dense with trees of every green hue. Bursts of color, yellows, oranges, pinks would adorn the greenery like jewels at the neck of a woman. The sea lapped at sand as soft as chana flour and reflected the brightness of the sky as though it was made to reflect back the glory of the gods. The land was rich with resources that were coveted throughout the world and the foreigners travelled by boat and plane to bask in the beauty of this heavenly kingdom.
Only one problem blighted this paradise and at first, they thought it was easy to fix. Those men in high places who decided the fate of all who lived in the kingdom decreed that women would wear clothes to cover their body from neck to toe. They would cover their hair in the presence of all men except their husband. Not even a finger nail could be shown out in public. It made total sense, the kingdom crier announced. If there was nothing to see there could be no issue.
And yet still, the maidens of the kingdom were turning up in rivers and shallow graves. Stripped, defiled, mutilated and dead. The people of the kingdom raised their voices in discontent that there were those among them who could take the daughters of the land and violate them just so. The people took to the streets with chants and songs. The kingdom criers sat in town squares and told the story of each maiden who had been lost, naming them again and again until they were on the lips of every citizen.
So, those men in high places devised a new plan. It was written into law and each citizen was bound to a contract. It was decided that there were some who were pre-disposed to this kind of behaviour if not before birth, the surely straight after. It was decided that these boy children would have their penis removed as soon as they were born. When the citizens raised their voices in horror, those men in high places decreed that what the boy child had never had they could never miss, and this procedure meant that real men could be preserved in their rightful places within society. And those men in high places made this decision to show the rest of humanity that they understood. That they could deal with their own.
And for a while the idea worked. A boy child was detected by scan at 26 weeks. The mother was given a detailed questionnaire to complete, with help, of course, because not all of them could understand what they were being asked. Some were too young, some didn’t finish schooling, some had no inclination to comply. Court appointed officials were based in each antenatal clinic ready to assist. The questions were very intimate, very personal. Designed to make sure she knew the responsibility that lay on her shoulders by having a boy child. Poking into every aspect of her mind to make sure she was capable of raising a good boy, to teach him right from wrong. Making her responsible for his fate. Fathers were not exempt. No, no. They were easier to deal with though. A blood test and a brain scan could determine what they were passing on to their offspring. It wasn’t of much importance, but science insisted genetics were taken into account, so science had to be appeased.
At first some women tried to hide their boy child. They would give birth at home or deep in the bush. But a few postpartum grisly deaths made it not worth the effort. And the women who had lost maidens shouted out their anger at the selfish mothers and aided the kingdom officials to find them and to force adherence. The horror stories of gaping wounds and maggot infested infections that ate away at the testes and rendered the boy children sterile did not deter the men in high places. And once the removal operation was perfected it wasn’t an issue and so much easier to keep those boy children clean.
Many years passed and the men in high places thought they had done it. They felt very proud of their innovative solution to an age old problem. Except the numbers were not changing. Every week four or five maidens were being pulled out of a river, or a cesspit or from the side of the road. Broken and violated. And the voices soared in pain for these children of the land who were being taken. The voices demanded something be done and the men in high places listened. It was decreed that the problem was the hands that could carry out these heinous crimes and therefore hands were surgically removed from pre-disposed boy children at birth. Hands and penises were the perpetrators and with them removed the maidens would be safe.
At the beginning, mothers complained bitterly about the extra work they would need to do, but the men in high places encouraged them to breed girl children to help. It was being done for those same girl children. They had to be part of the solution. And for a little while it helped. The number of maidens being dragged from bushes reduced to only four or five each month and young women started to peel out of their houses and walk alone around the streets and not peer around every corner looking for the bogey man. The pre-disposed boys played football and video games with voice activation and finally, peace appeared to be in sight. The kingdom collectively began to breathe easier. The sun shone brighter, the mountains stood taller and the sea became calmer.
One day, a new phenomenon appeared and nobody could trace the source. But it began to disrupt life from the classroom to the supermarket to the office. On public transport and on the streets of the kingdom. Nowhere was exempt. Vile words began to spew from the mouths of men and boys. Words directed at women like chainsaws at a tree. Constant and without restraint these words began to chop at the legs of young maidens, and mothers, at aunties and grandmothers. Lewd words made to shock and disturb, and it passed through the kingdom like a virus. Even those who had not been identified at birth, who had kept their penis and their hands, began to spew the filth.
It began as a whistle, then a strange sucking of the lips, like that used to call a dog from the field. Then words formed that sounded sweet to begin with, offering delights to the mind and succulent body of the female targets. And for a while, some unsuspecting maidens smiled or laughed, not knowing that their ancestors had also taken this route long before and that there was nothing innocent in that path taken.
Letters were written to the men in high places and they knew something had to be done. Maidens had once more begun turning up in rivers and fields, naked and covered in suck marks, bite marks and saliva. There was only one way forward and the men in high places decreed that the tongues of pre-disposed boy children should be removed at birth, along with hands and penises. The men in high places said this would guarantee the survival of their gender and show that they would not let the kingdom down.
For the next hundred years pre disposed boy children had their tongues removed and lips partially sewn together at birth. And though mothers complained about the extra work of guessing what their boy child may need, they were told to be grateful for the extra girl children who could help.
And once more maidens were free to roam in peace and live their lives in harmony with each other and the disfigured men they came upon. There was no threat to their being and only one or two maidens each month were succumbing to a brutal end and the men in high places felt that this was acceptable.
Until one of their own was taken. The men in high places turned the kingdom upside down and their anguished screams could be heard ringing through the land day and night. Until their own was found naked at the edge of the lake, trampled into the mud, bitten, sucked, choked, raped and battered. The men in high places howled and ripped their clothing and did not know how this thing had happened when they had tried everything in their power to stop it.
The wives of the men on high had always respected their husbands’ insights. Had bowed to their greater intelligence and understanding of the male species. This, though, was too much to bear and while the men lamented the loss of their daughter, the women took seats at the high table and made a decree.
From that day forward no longer would boy children be mutilated at birth. Instead they would be brought up exactly the same as girl children. They would be trained to think of others, they would be of service to all, they would show respect for themselves and as an extension for all others. Mothers and maidens, aunts and grandmothers would show the boys how they were expected to act. Boys would not be allowed to congregate in groups without at least two maidens present to make sure their mouths and minds stayed pure.
And for many years peace reigned in the kingdom, until the men in high places began decrying these maiden men and began holding secret meetings, inviting men to join them and learn to be real men. Encouraging them to understand the ways of their ancestors and to take their rightful place as true men, in a society that needed them. And the men felt that a new world was opening up to them and books were written that told of man’s place in the universe and the rights that he should be afforded.
And soon maidens were turning up naked in storm drains and secluded beaches, battered and broken. And the women howled and collected their girl children to their bosom and left the kingdom. They travelled far and wide until they found an island newly emerged from the sea and claimed it as their own.
Back in the kingdom, time passed and one by one, the real men perished and nature claimed the earth where they had once stood. The mountains and the bush grew thick and lush and the rivers and the sea flowed with ease. And it was as though the kingdom had never been.
The maidens flourished in their new homes and danced naked under the moonlight.
Free to be.
Free to breathe.
Free to live.