The Unethical Nature of Abuse of Childless Women in African Traditional Thought/Practice
One of the major challenges confronting marriages and families in African from the past to the present is the issue of barrenness or childlessness. Childlessness was often blamed on the woman, even though at times it may arise from the medical conditions of a man. African traditional culture had great value for children and childless marriage was seen as cursed and the woman in particular was even labelled a “man” or a witch. The woman is often verbally abused, and physical violence was meted on her. The marriage is often made unbearable and uncomfortable for the woman by the man or the in-laws of the woman. In some exceptional cases, the man and his relatives were understanding and coped with the situation or the man was allowed to marry another woman, while bearing with the childless woman. In order to cope with the challenge of childlessness women even encouraged their husbands to marry another woman (women). This paper written from critical philosophical analysis and hermeneutics argues that this abuse of childless women is unethical/immoral. The paper will draw upon instances from both written and oral literature to bring light on this belief and practice. No woman or man gives children. Even though a woman may have conditions that may impede the birth of children, it is rare to see a woman causing her own childlessness. These cultural practices that still influence the attitude and (mal) treatment of women need to be denounced and abrogated. The paper finds and concludes there is a need to end these unethical treatments of childless women.
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