No holds barred:This Atrocity Ends Here

Activism, Gender, Sexual Violence, Violence Against Women, Zimbabwe

It is her core-her being- her most private self-her pride-her DIGNITY

When you violate it you have stripped away her dignity, self confidence, pride & wellbeing

And so with a warped mind, a sadistic spirit that derives pleasure from her pain

He chooses to target it- pushing the dagger into her fresh wound

Society has normalised it-it happens, men shall be men & shall be men

They blame her-she wanted it or she looked for it, her skirt was too short

Why was she walking alone at night?

Was he not her boyfriend & what was she doing with him alone in a closed space?

They make excuses for him-mothers, sisters, brothers, aunts

If she speaks up, they label her

If she does not speak out, she dies inside

She questions if maybe, just maybe-she might have gotten what she deserves

She feels unworthy, dirty, violated-EMPTY

And why does she go through this? Because she is a woman!

Who understands what it means to walk with constant caution?

To be ever vigilant for your safety–

On your way to work, to school, in your office, even in your own home

And yet this is the experience of half the population of the world-DAILY

But repeatedly this experience is, IS belittled? Overlooked?

Underestimated? Misunderstood? Misrepresented? Sidelined?

Whichever one it is, not enough has been done to address it for the pervasive vice it is

We, the women of this world, deserve to live without fear

Fear of death, of terror, of hate and hate speech

Of violence and all other threats to our physical and mental well being

The world needs to understand that—;

Rape IS NOT about sex

Rape IS NOT about a desperate man dealing with constant deprivation of sex

Rape IS NOT illegitimate sex; hence justifying the marriage of girls to their rapists to retroactively legitimise the act is simply cuckoo

Rape HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH a wife reaching menopause, hence justifying a husband pouncing on his child

Rape IS about power and domination; hence as women we need to claim back our power

Rape IS a crime; and as women we must nail the perpetrators

Rape IS an attack on the physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and personal identities of the victim

And for this reason I AM RISING TO SAY-

This atrocity ends here!!!

When ‘i’ means ignorance

Activism, Youth

I was sitting amongst a bunch of teenagers in an internet café when the things I observed inspired this article. I peeped at the screens of the computers they were using and made some interesting observations. Two were playing games. One was hiding his screen and from the corner of my eye I saw naked women, probably he was watching porn. The other two were comparing pictures of celebrities. Another one was complaining about how slow the internet was as he was trying to stream a video of one of Lil Wayne’s songs. So I sat there, busy looking for information on human trafficking on Google and I wondered if this was a generational thing.

Indeed the advent of technology with i phones, i pads and ido not know what else will follow has brought forth new dynamics in communication. The era of letters when we would run like mad puppies to the gate to collect letters from the postman or the age of landlines when at the first ring you would run to make sure that no one else picks up the phone in case it was your boyfriend and you did not want your mother or father to pick up are over. Even the use of cellphones’ has metamophorsised from a mere tool to receive calls and send sms’s to become an i(nnovative) tool of technology, where you surf the net, you skype and do all sorts of innovative things.

We live in the era of i pads and i phones

Yes the internet is a Revolution and communication will never be dull again. I love the emoticons on Skype, enjoy chatting on Gtalk, Nimbuzz, Facebook, Whatsapp and everything else that I know which is available. With a multitude of passwords, I am even amazed at myself and wonder how I keep up with all these different technologies. And if I, at my age, am such an addict surely teenagers can be forgiven for burying their heads in this technology.

The internet has become the backbone of life for today’s youths. My worry however is that, that backbone is collapsing & the future rests precariously on a skeletal figure. When we were growing up, we read novels, watched cartoons and played puzzles or Snakes and Ladders. We learnt a lot, we sharpened our brains and we had innocent fun.

We watched cartoons such as Captain Planet and the Planeteers, an animation that taught kids the importance of protecting the environment. The characters who came together to defend the earth from subversive elements namely;  Kwame from Africa, Wheeler from North America, Linka from the Soviet Union, Gi from Asia, and Ma-Ti from South America represented the collective effort of the global community in all continents to come together and defend the well being of the planet earth.We were captivated by the adventures of ‘Denver the last dinosaur’ which were entertaining and non-violent.

Denver the last dinosaur with his friends

This was way different from what the kids of today invest their time into (especially teenagers) when they are on the net. Most of the time a good guess would be, watching porn, playing games, chatting with possible ‘soul mates’ and watching some more porn, in that order.

The few more ‘innovative’ ones will watch sport, follow tabloids, chat with friends, and check out the latest fashion and such other things. Oh yes it is ok to want to read about sport or fashion or sex or gossip on celebrities. After all these things are proven stress relievers & once in a while we all need to let go of this complicated world of politics, global finance, abuse, hunger and poverty to think of things that do not stress us or give us headaches.

My worry is however that the youths of today do not make these things (porn and games) a pastime. It is their way of life. Young people do not like to read. They prefer watching pictures of naked women and rich people instead of figuring out how to get rich. Very few of them realise that it is in reading and critiquing other people’s thoughts that we sharpen our minds. And not just any junk but meaningful work that talks to our daily issues. They do not realise that it is through reading that we develop critical thinking which took many people far in developing innovative technologies-including the ipads and i phones that they abuse when watching porn. They also do not realise that it is through reading that the soul finds fulfillment & enrichment; after all ignorance is just as bad as death.

I wonder what it will take to develop & resuscitate a youth that loves reading, not just any lump of words put together, but meaningful reading that gives them much more value than that  famous article with close to a billion hits entitled ‘How to get multiple orgasms.’

I have considered giving my blog posts raunchy misleading titles hoping that the youths will read them even after discovering my deceipt? But then again I realised that they will read the first paragraph, realise that the content is not what they expected and leave a rude message to the sum of: “WTF is this s***!!!This article contains none of the things implied in the heading.”

Surely the creators of modern technology did not mean to create generations of ignorant beings. The internet is supposed to be a media for education and information dissemination as much as it should be a source of entertainment. Oh well, besides writing this article and hoping it changes a few of the youngsters’ minds about the kind of stuff they invest their time in when they are on the internet, I will just sit and hope for a miracle that a conscious bolt of lightning will strike them and implant in their thoughts ideas of development and progress to override the prevailing thoughts of women or men, sex, drugs and money!

Can we interest the youths in snakes and ladders once more instead of watching porn?

Sex is (not) easy in Africa

Gender, Human Rights, Sexual Violence, Uncategorized, Women

Shall we be silenced?

It had been a long journey and I was exhausted. I had left Zimbabwe some two days before and was now stuck at the Leopold Senghor Airport in Dakar, Senegal eager to embark on the last leg of my journey to Banjul, the Gambia to take part in the 50th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights. I was exhausted and in no mood for chit chat. May I join you? He asked. Sure, I responded. He asked all the niceties about where I was going, where I was coming from, why I was travelling. Then the conversation got more personal, do I have a boyfriend, is our relationship serious and all this time I wondered where the conversation was going. Then came the bombshell, was I a virgin. At this stage I was doing my level best to control my temper because clearly this Indian man was trying to pick me up. I asked why he was asking such personal questions and his response was blunt…Oh well you know, sex is easy in Africa.

On investigating further, I discovered that his conclusion emanated from his experiences in Guinea where allegedly he discovered a society where it is easy for a man to get sex from a woman he hardly knows. I doubted his assertions about Guinea and I objected to his generalisations about African women. It is such generalisations that breed prejudices and such prejudices lead to the abuse of women. It is from the presumption that all women love attention that most men think they can comment on a woman’s looks loudly and she will appreciate it yet some of us find that to be harassment. It is from the presumption that all women should not have an opinion that women’s voices are suppressed yet without my voice I am incomplete. It is also from the presumption that a woman’s place is in the kitchen that the girl child is not given an equal opportunity to an education as a boy and hence her chances of making it big in life are limited yet those of us who have been given the chance are proving to be equally capable to men …if not better.

Hence I made it clear to him that sex is not ‘easy’ in Africa. I made it clear that simply because women have a choice to determine their sexuality and sexual conduct does not make them prostitutes as he suggested. I made it clear I was not available for a pick up. I also made it clear I found his attempt to pick me up deplorable and that he owed me an apology.

In the end I spent the 12 hours of my transit comfortably ensconced in the VIP lounge, having warm tea and delicious cookies, all paid for by the Indian not-so-gentle-man as part of his ‘apology package’ and NO I did not have to sleep with him to get all that.

No-we stand firm-up in arms