Single and stigmatized - Unmarried Women
In this part of the world, so much emphasis is placed on single women. Especially women from ages 25-35 get the heat the most. It is really abhorring how our society treat unmarried women with so much disrespect. Unmarried women in our society are seen as sinners and unruly. Unmarried women face multiple problems from different angles. Either from their immediate family, colleagues, friends, neighbours ... The list goes on.
What are the the challenges unmarried women face and how do we tackle the stigmatization?
Pressure on single women
In my country Nigeria, marriage is seen as the ultimate goal and achievement in life. Some parents prefer to give out their children hand in marriage immediately after secondary while some immediately after university. The single ones who were not so 'lucky' to get married at age 25-35 become the laughing stock of their married peer groups,family and society at large. This is where the stigmatization comes into play.
The single women start getting pressure from their parents, some parents even go ahead to threatening their daughter. You will hear threats like "If you don't get married before 30 you will leave my house".
Parents' pressure isn’t all these unmarried women get, the society also contribute in making the situation worse by considering unmarried women ‘defects’. All these attitudes lead most women astray. Some become desperate and get married for the wrong reasons while some just live with it and live their life.
Safety of single women
This particular challenge is as common as peer pressure regardless of the country. Unmarried women are not safe at all. They are voiceless all because they are still single. The safety of an unmarried woman is questioned. They are on their own. In fact, every passing day, unmarried women from all walks of life are being abused, disrespected, assaulted and molested.
The transport, streets and public places especially market places have become headquarters for women molestation. It breaks my heart to see the unmarried and even married women fight every single day. Even though some choose to keep calm about it, some fight their way to turn deaf ears and live their life with pride. I saw recently on news a soldier flogging a lady ... I mean, who does that?
We can go on and on to list the challenges these women pass through all in the name of marriage. The only and best way to tackle this stigmatization is for people to stop seeing marriage as the ultimate goal and achievement in life and respect other people's decision.
Even in the bible 1 Cor 7:1-3 Paul noted that marriage is not compulsory. If you want to get married go ahead, if you don't want to, it's your choice. It is not a sin to be unmarried. Let no one pressurize you. Being unmarried doesn't mean you have bad attitude, there are some married women with bad attitude too.
Please let's not push people to the wrong people. My candid advice to our society, family members and friends pressurizing the single is this- be mindful of what you say or do to that single lady out there. We all have our individual journeys, face yours.