Community Update

World Pulse Toolkits Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits are all available here.

We are especially excited to share our signature Citizen Journalism and Digital Empowerment Curriculum. Start learning today!

Connecting the dots

It began with the vagina monologues. Moved by the stories penned by Eva Ensler I stirred. The timing was sadly, perfect. Every thirty minutes a woman was being raped in Kenya. This systemic gendered attack seemed impossible, but possible.

Why was sexual violence so rampant in Kenya? Why were women in this context, my context so vulnerable? What was the government going to do about? How could women better be protected? Why? What? How? When? I was young, searching for answers and consumed by a hunger to know more. And then somewhere along the way, the web happened.

I took in all the evidence, literature, analysis, opinions, everything. I took it in hungrily. Knowledge is power. And it was right there. All I had to was click. I soaked in the stories, the realities, the tragedies and the gains. I discovered women using the internet as a space, a medium to articulate their realities, their concerns, their issues. Threads and threads of deeply layered collective struggles were revealed.

Delirious, scared, excited I sat down and typed. What started off as an email-a letter- to my family and friends about the rape crisis in Kenya turned into an appeal; to have the conversation, because not having it was dangerous. I pressed send. I couldn’t stop. I kept sending online petitions, video blogs, articles everything. It triggered the conversations. In my little circle, we were talking about it lifting the lid off the silence that breeds stigma, fear and indifference. I used the web to feed myself and those around me with information on difficult, uncomfortable, unsettling issues that thrive on socio-cultural norms that hush frank discussions on sexuality, gender, sexual violence and HIV/AIDS.

Fast forward later, and I volunteered at a gender violence clinic. On a slow afternoon the phone rang, and I answered it. In the next few minutes I was chilled to the bone. A survivor of gang rape wanted to know what to do. It had just happened. My heart shattered. My mind searched frantically for the right words, the right information and I knew my response could change everything.
In those few minutes, the stories, the struggles, the facts I had seeped myself in floated to light. I used them. I took from what other women had shared, had learned, had faced and shaped my response. A couple of hours later, this brave survivor- a woman of strength- came to the clinic to receive care and support.

In those spare fragile moments, the web had become pivotal. And that is the promise of the web 2.0.
That using social networking sites, blogs, videos, articles, and more, we can be connected to the experiences of women around the globe. We can share what works and what doesn’t. We can demonstrate, we can point to evidence and we can channel this to shift thoughts, attitudes and actions.

Comments

MaDube's picture

Great work

I loved reading your post. Speaking as one who has worked with women victims of gender based sexual violence, I know what you mean when you say it consumes you. Because yes you develop this urge to do all you can to help the victims/survivors and indeed web 2.0 does help. We (at the organisation that I worked for in Zimbabwe called Research and Advocacy Unit) began to use video to share the stories of survivors and launch a national and regional campaign for the government of Zimbabwe to do all it can to stop violence against women especially the kind that is politically motivated. You can watch one of the videos here http://hub.witness.org/en/HearUs-ViolenceAgainstWomeninZimbabwe2 Maybe you could also try and partner with WITNESS, the organisation that helped us with training and equipment to get this campaign going and you could do a similar campaign in Kenya.

Best,

MaDube

NakhuloD's picture

Thank you MaDube. I just

Thank you MaDube. I just finished watching that moving video that you shared. I would love to hear more about the campaign. When it comes to gender based violence especially in the political and electoral context, too often women's voices go unheard. Thanks for sharing- it keeps the message alive.
Peace,
N.

ruthibelle's picture

Excellent and moving

I thought this was exceptional and very moving. I've seen Eve Ensler talk about the vagina monologues (on the web) and what they represent for women. I agree that Web 2.0 represents freedom of speech in action. Thanks so much for sharing.

Love,
Ruthibelle
ruthibelle.blogspot.com

amiesissoho's picture

Web 2.0 will force them

Thanks for the piece. Governments do not voluntarily do strategic things for women's right they are forced by the voices speaking for themselves. Rape if one of the abuse taken for granted and women blamed for it.

Amie

JenniferKishan's picture

This was very moving- thank

This was very moving- thank you. Rape and sexual abuse are such taboo topics in many communities, thanks to the internet we can connect and help survive.

NakhuloD's picture

Thank you all. And Amie I

Thank you all. And Amie I love that, 'web 2.0 will force them'- we will make sure of it! Governments tend to forget, we need to remind them.

Dear Sister, you are amazing. your words are very touching and encouraging. Having read through your experience, i immediately reflected through my own personal digital adventure. It is true, what people say - that activists seem to have a similar characteristics. This is evident in the comments which I have read under this post. Keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing !!!!

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Dear Nakhulo,
Thank you for this great article. Indeed web 2.0 is doing great not only to gender based violence but in all aspect of life. Every woman has experience to share, problem and solutions have been and can be shared. Without it we would have lost our land to a hungry community elders and leaders. Web 2.0 is doing great and is a way forward to any self seeking woman.
You are doing great!

Beatrice
Uganda

I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.

Leina's picture

Captivating writing!

Hello Nakhulo,
This was a powerful piece.Your writing is quite captivating.It gladens me to know how much you have been doing to come to the aid of suffering women via the strength of web 2.0.Keep up the good work dear sister!
Shekina
Cameroon

NakhuloD's picture

Togetherness

Zoneziwoh- you are so right. We are all connected because we want, struggle and fight for the same thing. This forum reminds us that we are not alone, we are together in this.
Beatrice, yesss, there so many spheres of our lives that need the web and its interesting to share experiences so we can continue to build and expand the possibilities.
Shekina, thank you my sister.

Thank you all for your kind words.

Peace

N.

neffy's picture

WOW.

This was really engaging. Inspiring. Real. Powerful. I love how you brought your personal experience
into the global context of this work. I was deeply moved as I personally connected
to your experiences. You drew me in through your vivid descriptions and your feeling
tone. This is so well-put, the fact that as women we are no longer alone. YAY for you!

Deborah L. Neff aka "Neffy"

NakhuloD's picture

YAY

Neffy,

Thanks for your comments. Really encouraging words. YAY ;-)

Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Letters to a Better World

Letters to a Better World

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

shazia @ shiree's picture

BANGLADESH: Finding Fatima

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Blog »

Read the latest from World Pulse headquarters

The Women of World Pulse LIVE: Meet Olanike

The Women of World Pulse LIVE: Meet Olanike

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative