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I was nearly a victim, my gateway to World Pulse

Relations are supposed to protect each other from harm and abuse. But some of my relatives have acted in the opposite. Twice my cousins tried to rape me, on different occasions of course.

In the first instance, I was staying with my parents in Zimbabwe. I was about seven at that time. A cousin of mine, in his twenties then used to visit us, he was so kind to me. I liked him too. He however took advantage of this and tried to sexually abuse me.

Lucky for me, my mum had warned me of such attempts and so he did not succeed.

Another cousin of mine in Malawi also tried to do the same. He told me cousins can do such kind of things and said it is actually recommended that one should lose her virginity to her cousin to have a successful marriage. He also tried other tricks, but they all failed.

I told him I was only thirteen at that time and did not see the reason I should lose my virginity (even considering what he was saying was true) as if I wanted to get married.

This set me thinking that if relatives could try to harm you in this way, then many more girls, who are not as informed as I was then, are undergoing a lot of abuse at the hands of people who are supposed to protect them.

The third incident, of course coupled with the aforementioned incidences, drove me into journalism. This was when I was waiting for my university entrance examinations. I had a boyfriend to whom I had clearly indicated that I am not ready to engage in sex. He agreed, but he had a hidden agenda.

Someday, he tried to force himself on me, but I managed to escape. I joined journalism with the aim of telling the story of girls being abused. In 2007, I joined Zodiak Radio in Malawi. My first extensive investigation was on girl abuse. This brought to light abuses that men including fathers inflict on their own daughters. It won two awards: investigative and human rights.

When my editor then asked me why I had done the story, I said “ I was nearly a victim too.”

I have continued to fight for the rights of girls and women but it has only been on a national radio in Malawi. The solutions have been limited to the national borders. I still had the desire to extend to an international platform to highlight women and girls’ challenges, a platform that would also offer solutions from afar.

Voices of our Future was the answer. So when I read it on the internet, there was no hesitation. I applied and here I am today, a proud member of the community.

Personally, I had wanted to see the lives of women and girls improve in my country by learning from the global world, this I see happening through world pulse.

Comments

Stella Paul's picture

Congrats

Dear Teresa

Congrats, on having a mother who was there to alert you! Congrats also, on finding the mission of your life. Finally, congrats on reaching World Pulse where you will find many, many echoes of your voice!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Nezed's picture

Women are lights of the

Women are lights of the world! God bless your Mama! Am happy you were not part of the statistics...Great article! Keep telling it.. and writing It.

I do not aim for Perfection; Just excellence!

Nezed's picture

Hey Tee, what award are you

Hey Tee, what award are you holding there? Mama Africa? Seems really huge.. Well done Girlfriend.. Well done!

I do not aim for Perfection; Just excellence!

Maggs's picture

A fighter

You my dear are a real fighter. There is no better way to channel your anger and need for justice and change than to take action. And that action may save someone somewhere who can not stand up for themselves.

And to be awarded for all the work, that is truly the cherry on top!

Congratulations and all the best as you take your action further!

maggs

Teresa Temweka's picture

Stella,Maggs, Nezed

Thanks guys for the encouragement, it is my belief that through World Pulse i will help fight for the rights of girls and women.

Nezed, that award is a CNN health and medical award for 2010.

Teresa

comfy's picture

U are so lucky!!

Hello Tess,
You are so lucky you have a mother who gave you the neccessary information before hand. I am happy you escaped rape on all occassions and even happier you have decided to become a voice for the voiceless.
Incest is a widespread problem in Nigeria and made worse because so many mothers aid and abet their male relatives and husbands to commit incest. The police don't help because they are corrupt. The church actually colludes to cover up such crimes because when victims confide in their spritual leaders, they are told to forgive. Nobody considers the psychological aand emotional trauma victims have to go through.More power to your elbow Tess.

Teresa Temweka's picture

Lucky indeed

I indeed see how lucky i am. It is true that incest is widespread in Africa, but sympathetic that churches can help cover up such incidences. The church should infact help the justice system to bring the culprits to book. The society and governments should help to protect the rights of girls and women.

Teresa

Kadidia's picture

I was nearly a victim

Dear Teresa,

How lucky you were. you were strong teenager and you are a determined woman. Africa needs many of you.
The social pressure is so high that rape is never spoken about. Whenever a child is complaining about certain violations she/he is asked to keep quiet and to stop lying.
It is so wonderful to read about all you've been able to accomplish. Thank you to inform all of us about your plans to expand your project in other African countries. We should be able to help you.
Thank you to speak for the ones who cannot especially children.

Kadidia Doumbia

Dextra's picture

Great piece Teresa!

Teresa, your story is a compelling one and articulated well. Great job, and way to combine the very personal, with a desire to help amplify your own voice and that of others, to help women – I love it!! Keep up the great work!

pheebsabroad's picture

Strength

Strength comes in many forms, and you show such strength of character and will! It is wonderful, I am so glad that you were "nearly" a victim as opposed to a victim-you can reach so many individuals by spreading your story, the story of your mother, the story of your cousins and the stories of those around who have been victims too. Good luck continuing to spread the word and share your strength within your community!

Pheobe

Teresa Temweka's picture

Hie Pheebsabroad

It is encouraging to hear from you, i only hope women across the world will continue fighting for their rights and the rights of their colleagues.

Teresa

Teresa Temweka's picture

Kadidia and Dextra

Thanks guys for your comments. A lot of girls across Africa are being abused in silence. But this is the 21st century and silence must be broken, it is time to talk about it. The more we do so, the lesser the abuses. this can only be achieved in unity amongst women. Thanks again.

Teresa

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