It is important to note that some tribes and culture still treat widows cruelly. This cruel treatment varies from one culture to the other. But as a result of our involvement in the widows ministry, we have encountered different treatments meted out to widows in different communities. Some are so dehumanizing and inhuman. In some culture the moment a man dies, the first suspect of the husband's decease is the wife!
IN SOME CULTURE THE MOMENT A MAN DIES. THE FIRST SUSPECT IS THE WIFE
She is accused of being responsible for the death of her husband, she is made to swear to an oath that she is innocent, sometimes she is asked to stay locked-in with the corpse of her late husband for twenty four (24) hours if she survives, then she is considered innocent. At other times, they bathe the corpse of her late husband and the bath-water is gathered for her to drink. This is to prove she is innocent of the death of her husband.
In some cultures, the woman’s hair is shaved and shined to the skull to show that she is mourning her husband. Incidentally, no none does that to a man who loses his wife, or is the man not equally expected to mourn his wife?
In Northern some community in Northern Cross River State where I am based, the woman who lose her husband is made to put on a black apparel for a period of time ranging from one year to two years, within this period, she is not expected to have a bathe, even if she does, she must do so without soap. She is not to comb her hair. She can’t go to the market or to work, she is confined in the house for these period of time.
When the duration of time is fulfilled, she is demanded to buy certain items as listed by the elders in the community to show that her time of mourning is over and she is about to put off the black apparel. She is expected to cook and entertain them in addition to the items on the list which she bought.
Now tell me, a widow who has been confined for almost two years, can’t go to work, farm or market, where is she expected to get the required funds to provide these items. When we interviewed some of the widows, they confided in us that some of those elders come secretly to sleep with them in their place of confinement and thereby help them with the required funds to fulfill the requirement for getting out of mourning.
In some other cultures, the man’s brothers take over the properties of the man and chase the widow and the children away. Some of these women labored with their husbands to acquire landed properties, houses, etc but once the man dies, his wife and children are sent packing and their properties taken over.
In some cases, the brother to the man desires to have his brother’s widow and if she refuses, she is in trouble. Now a woman who is traumatized by the sudden death of her husband and saddened with huge responsibilities of raising her kids all by herself is also being made to face crisis from relations and family members who ordinarily should be there for her at a moment like this. What a wickedness!
In Gen. 2:24 says “A man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh (husband and wife)”
God Himself institutes marriage between a man and a woman. So in the event where the man dies either timely or untimely death leaving the woman behind, perhaps with children, such a woman is considered a “ WIDOW” (Ruth 1:1-3;2 Kings 4:1); when the man is alive, he is her source of comfort, security, hope, joy, help and support, they shared the same culture, beliefs, tradition and ideas that will promote growth, love and unity in the family.
So when the man dies, all these that life gives, is taken away from her, leaving her in the hands of her “wonderful in-laws” who sometimes go extra-miles to throw her out of her husband house. She is left alone, without help or perhaps no source of income to carter for herself and the children.
That is why industry-watchers gave Kudos to Faithful Widows Foundation for caring for the plight of these Widows.