It’s a strange phenomenon. I call it “crucifying the crucified man.” This phenomenon mostly happens in the comment section of social media platforms, mostly YouTube, where people express their feelings about certain topics.
Social media is an eye-opener. Through it, we can generally gauge how some segments of society perceive specific issues. Through interactions and reactions in this space, you can deduce sentimentalities and prejudices.
I love going to the comments sections of YouTube videos to gauge how people feel about issues. The ones I am especially fond of are human interest stories and folks sharing traumatic experiences. With my fine toothcomb and magnifying glass, I quietly trawl this vast, lawless space like a super-sleuth looking for clues to a cold-case.
I have noted that, when a woman shares a story of abuse that a man put her through, all the women in the comments section unequivocally believe her. They empathise with the victim and offer moral and spiritual support. They pray that karma will catch up with the man and make him pay dearly. Some women even share their own stories.
However, when a man shares his experience of abuse at the hands of a woman, some women say there are two sides of the story. “Bring the woman too, because I feel there is more to this story.” “This man is hiding something.” “I am taking this man’s story with a pinch of salt.” It is like impartiality is pegged on one’s sex and not their lived experience.
This is a sad state of affairs. It is akin to crucifying a crucified man. Here is man who has done one of the hardest things for a man to do; bare his shame, vulnerability and nakedness for all to see. Yet, what some people want to do is to take him down from his cross, and start the whole crucifying process afresh.
I know. There are three sides to a story. But this rule should not be applied selectively. If we are applying the principle of having the benefit of doubt, it should apply to all persons across the board.
I also understand that if, God forbid, someone has been a victim of domestic violence, it is normal for them to project their prejudices against a people group whom they perceive to be responsible for their trauma. That is why such issues call for utmost objectivity. If we allow our traumas and pains to cloud our judgmental, we can descend down a slippery slope from which it may be hard to climb out of.
Here’s what will happen if this goes on unchecked. Men will be reticent about sharing their stories. A society cannot heal from traumas and pains if one party is forced to withdraw because they are denied an equal opportunity to air their grievances, or if they feel they will not be believed.
Another consequence is that men will suffer in silence. Well? A large number of men are already suffering in silence. Men who are suffering in silence will, consequently, raise men who are vengeful and hateful toward the opposite sex. These are men who will not want to get into long term relationships or marriages because they have grown perceiving them as the source of untold grief.
If women continue crucifying crucified men, men who are victims of abuse will be devoured by depression. Depression can be deceptive. You may think there is nothing untoward with the man you’re with, but his vitals are being devoured, bit by bit. And then, one day – to quote W.B. Yeats – “when the centre cannot hold”, everything that you hold near and dear will fall apart.