"Brighten the corner where you are"
“Brighten the corner where you are” is one of the most inspiring hymns I know. If I brighten my little corner of the world, the light will illuminate other people’s lives and they in turn would be inspired to shine. I have to be the example of the change I would like to see in my community and the world at large. I would especially like to see change in two areas in particular – the role culture plays in the abuse of women, and autism awareness.
Having a child with special needs, especially autism is one of the worst deck of cards life can deal any family. The burden of taking care of that child usually falls squarely on the mother’s shoulders. Unfortunately most women whose children have special needs find themselves single mothers because most marriages cannot survive the strain that the child brings. Very few people know about autism, yet its occurrence is increasing at an alarming rate. Although autism cannot be cured, it can be treated but because of the stigma associated with it, some mothers choose to hide their children or even dump them without giving them a fair chance. Children with autism, with the right medical attention, patience and love can turn out to be contributing members of society. Because I’m so passionate about raising awareness, I have decided to get a degree in special needs education even though I already have one in Journalism. I want society to understand the condition so as not to rub salt to the wounds by passing mean comments to folks who already have enough on their plate. I would also like women around the world to share their experiences and coping mechanisms and know that they are not alone.
Women in my community are trapped between a rock and a hard place. Our culture dictates that the man is the head of the house, and this is usually misinterpreted to mean that he should be standing on the heads of the women around him. Those who find culture too stifling might decide to run to church, only to find the gospel of female subservience still being preached. The men in our lives quote these dictates out of context to suit their hunger for power.
The distortion of culture has resulted in the rampant abuse of women. In the name of culture women are raped, infected with HIV, denied their right to education, the list is endless. As a VOF correspondent I would want to encourage women to work hard so that they would never have to put their tails between their legs because of their sex. Femininity is a source of pride, not a curse. We should speak out when we have to, not cower in corners because we are women. I am not encouraging sisters to be nasty to their husbands, fathers or brothers, I just want to highlight that if there is mutual respect, the world is a more beautiful place. Men have a lot to gain if the women in their lives are happy because a happy woman is a very generous woman – all around. The sad thing is that women in my community also take an active role in abusing fellow women. I know mothers and sisters-in-law who are real dragons spitting fire in the lives of women who marry their sons and brothers.
Being a VOF correspondent would be like being a small stone thrown into a pool. The ripples will spread far and wide. I want to be that stone because I am bursting with issues I would like to share with the world. I have discovered through Pulsewire that women everywhere have the same problems dogging them. As a correspondent I would highlight these issues, especially from those of us with the extra burden of children with special needs. Through sharing our stories, we will find ways to ease our tribulations. I would also want men, in their numbers, to read what women on Pulsewire write so that they can hear our voices in unison. With some luck they will listen and begin to understand that we are not from different planets after all, we just need to co-exist in harmony.