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I Must Set Forth, my Calabash Awaits!

The year is 1993, I am cowering behind my mother’s door, listening as her younger sister recounts the beating her husband had just meted out to her, this time it had been worse than usual. My aunt had suddenly descended on us with her three children, a ton of boxes and bruises all over her body; I was young but I immediately knew that something was very wrong. I was curious, so I eavesdropped.
My mother’s siblings were also present in the room, fusing over my aunt and tending to her wounds. The family had quickly rallied around and flocked in from various cities when my aunt had announced that she was finally leaving her husband of six torturous years. The general consensus of her family seemed to be that my aunt should “bear “ the situation and return to her husband’s house, after all what was the alternative, to shamefully return to her late parents’ home? At the time I found it incredulous, I could not decipher what they meant by this. Even in my young mind I thought it quite clear; if someone constantly beat you up then they obviously did not like you and you would do well to stay away from them. Why then were these grownups giving this sort of advice?
A collection of random experiences and stories have greatly influenced and molded who I have become today, but that incident has left an indelible mark. What sort of country ensures that it inculcates in its people the ‘values’ of the worthlessness of a woman in the society, especially without the endorsement of a man, no matter how abusive? And nearly two decades later much has not changed, women are still being beaten everyday without any firm laws to protect them. What laws that there are only crawl out when a woman has been battered to death, and even then we can all hear over numerous outcries of rage, the mocking words; “too late”.
Today I have become weary of relationships and I am paranoid about ever finding myself in defenseless situations. And for this I amplify for the rights of women at every opportunity I get. When I heard about the Voices of the Future citizen journalism training, applying was a natural step. Here is a great platform on which I can unmask the abuses which women undergo every day and the inequality we have to live with. Here I can eschew to the hearing of the world, societies that encourage male superiority and accept violence against women as a sort of norm. On World Pulse I have found my stage. On World Pulse I shall give voice to those who suffer in silence. On World Pulse I shall reorient the world, one person, one community, one country and one continent at a time. With the help of World Pulse I am ready to set forth on this life-changing journey, my calabash of grievances poised and overflowing, waiting to confront and influence the world.


wairimu's picture

Your testimony is the story

Your testimony is the story of the African woman, who is taught to bear it all, well put, it is time for change and change we must.Keep up the good fight.


Athena's picture

Thank you Warimu! The fight

Thank you Warimu! The fight for change continues and we all have a voice and a song to sing.

binapatel33's picture

Good job!

Your article is very true for women from several cultures around the world. I have seen and heard this repeatedly, but I agree, women should not feel ashamed to leave their husbands and it is we as women who has to teach them that it is okay to leave their husbands. I think that our society has been created by males and as such the norms are also developed by them. Therefore, they treat women as they please. What happened to your aunt at the end? did she return home?

I wish you much success Athena in your desire to help women. I admire what you are doing and hope that it gets you very far. Thank you for being such a great advocate!

Kind Regards,
Bina Patel
hc Mediate, LLC

kati.mayfield's picture


Dear Athena,

Thank you for sharing your story and your motivations for joining World Pulse!

What you say about your country supporting "the ‘values’ of the worthlessness of a woman in the society" is very interesting to me. Often we talk about women being the "unheard" or the "forgotten", but the way you describe the gender conflict in Nigeria makes it seem as though your society does not push women into the background, but, rather, brings them to the foreground to become victims of rage, discrimination, and violence. To hear of a campaign such as this makes me very sad, and, as you said, indignant.

I admire your determination to stand up for women like your aunt! And I look forward to reading more.

in friendship,


*resolved this year to think twice and to smile twice before doing anything*

Tari Andrea's picture


Hi Athena!

I'd love to say that Pulse Wire has power to make our voices bigger and bigger, due to the fact that all women here are having the same interests. I also would be happy to read your stories about Gender Based Violence, those cases related to violence must be healed. We all have to prevent the next victims, eradicate GBV, and raise awareness in terms of gender equity. Instead of men having dominant role in home.



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