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2011 VOF Week 4 - "AGENT FOR CHANGE "

My body should be mine to do with as I please
It is not a playground,Free way nor slippery path
For Disrespect, Battery , Assault or Abuse
Or an avenue for heat of the moment without MY PERMISSION
It is a narrow path to be respected
A smooth path that is a sanctuary of warmth and comfort
With BOUNDARIES
For I am created in the image and likeness of a Higher Being
It is a sacred ground to be worshipped
It is a temple

I come from a family of many women and I chose to begin my answer with a poem I posted on World Pulse two years ago. This poem reflects the point I was at in my life and rising above it all. One of my greatest visions for my life is to be an agent for change for the girl child and every women both personally , in my community and the world by giving her a voice and the support to rise above invisible societal barriers.

Many of us women spend most of our lives blaming the society and men for many of the misfortunes that affect us. Many times we forget to look within ourselves and ask real questions. Have we ever stopped to think and understand that in some cases we women can be ENEMIES to OURSELVES?

In many societies you hear many women saying they can't have women as best friends nor would they want to have female bosses to avoid conflict. When a woman past the age of 30 is still single, we WOMEN amongst others gossip that she is long overdue for marriage, when she finally marries and is being abused, WE amongst others once again gossip about the horror she is going through and turn a blind eye because we do not want to be accused of ruining a marriage, when this woman picks up courage and runs away, a fellow woman can't provide shelter for her for many reasons I would rather not discuss.

When we complain that we are not respected by men and that they do not help around the house nor do they regard us as equals, have we ever asked ourselves who the nuturers of these men are ? Like the saying " the hands that rocks the cradle , rules the world ". So when as mothers and nuturers we keep our daughters at home all day and let our sons spend most of the day playing and doing other "manly" tasks , or when we tell our sons it is not okay to cry or enjoy domestic tasks because they are men, remember these "little harmless" actions go a long way in forming an individual.

As a growing girl, I remember when a man in my community got his wife's younger sister pregnant, his wife (the older sister) beat up her younger sister and threw her out ! She called this young girl a home breaker and accused her of seducing her husband ! The women supported her and the cheating husband was never called to order nor accused. Another time, there was the case of a man sexually abusing his 10 year old neice and I still remember very well that when he was caught, the wife accused the girl of being a bad girl, claiming that if she had not been "enjoying" it all this while, she would have complained to her when the abuse began ! I had an Engineer neigbour who was always beating up his wife who is a Litigation Lawyer. When he starts to beat this woman, everyone in the compound turns a blind eye because they are married. Before I moved away from that flat, I remember raising alarm with my cousin and calling all the other neigbours to help out. Would you beleive that when the family came to settle the problem, my cousin and I were accused of being single women corrupting his wife !! and the abused wife could not defend us ! the list goes on.

When we women start to stand by each other and form a bond of strength, things would start to get better for us. Many do not like to hear the truth for it can be bitter but the fact is that we as women, need to conquer the fear of the unknown in order to get ahead.

Being a part of this training is very important for me. I have always written but only started blogging years ago as an amatuer blogger, as I have no form of training in journalism but stopped because even though I had many ideas and knew what I wanted to say, I had difficulty in putting it all together to acheive the desired effect. Instead I communicated through short stories and poetry.I beleieve that with proper mentoring and training, it would help me in my networking and communication with other women towards being virtual global sisters to each other by breaking through the barriers of cultural abuse and fear by standing up for each other.

Comments

susanhall's picture

I love the term 'global sisters.'

I love the term 'global sisters.' I have many freedoms in my country: I have worked as a letter carrier, been elected the president of my local Union, run marathons, graduated from college, voted in elections, driven a car, simple things that I could take for granted ... As 'global sisters' we can create a world where women are free to live up to their potential and aspire to be whatever they want.

susan m hall | photographer
www.susanmhallphotography.com

OOLUSS's picture

Beleive

Hi Susan, you are right , as Global Sisters , if we beleive in ourselves, together we can acheive anything !

Maggs's picture

I often think I am alone or

I often think I am alone or wrong in questioning the behaviour I see. It amazes me how it is some people cannot see wrong where it is evident. The world is so unjust and the injustice is so well kept and fed that it manages to go undetected. We shout injustice at wars and crime but the things that happen under our roofs, hidden from view are equally worthy of the same condemnation.

maggs

KeMadagascar's picture

Dear Ooluss,

I just have the impression that you have put down in words all my unexpressed feelings about women and their weaknesseses....All that you say is so true and so sad...How can we overcome that on our communities? I plan to build up a women crisis center - a shelter for beaten and raped women - here in Antananarivo, but I'm afraid this center will stay empty...because women won't come, because they're ashamed, because their family will tell them not to come...

I'm sometimes hopeless but hearing loud voices like yours give me courage back :) I truly hope you'll become one of the selected VOF because you deserve this training.

I hope we'll stay linked and wired, because our voices and our pains matter.

With friendship,
Ke

Titilope's picture

PATRIACHY

Dear Ooluss,
You need to understand the workings of patriachy and its pschological effcet on women. All you have listed as women been enemies of themselves are just a reflection of a patriachal socialization process. Women have been recruited to sustain and support patriachy. We must actively disengage women's mindset from patriachy. it is a task for me and you.

Osai's picture

Our Sisters' Keeper

Hello Ooluss,

It is so pathetic but so true, women seem powerless to break free from abusive relationships or keep silent in the face of adversity or injustice. However, I agree with Titilope, that patriachy explains many of the behaviour you described. You noted that women as nurturers maintain the gender stereotypes when they become mothers, this is due to socialisation and it takes concious efforts to break this cycle even when as girls, the mothers felt the injustice of doing all the house work while the boys played.

That said, a solution to the problem is awareness, education and women empowerment. When people (including women) condemn a girl who has been sexually abused or violated, its because they feel this is their only option and, believe it or not, they are in competition with this 'other woman.' When a victim of domestic abuse does not leave her abuser and even defends him, it is because they have had their self-confidence systematically ripped off and genuinely fear for her life (or children). When people turn away from helping others especially in domestic affairs, it is because of reprisals from the society for interfering in 'private matters' and risk of opening up themselves to unfair criticism or scrutiny.

You are very courageous and should keep the faith. It takes a lot of strong will to act and think differently from other people in our community. Have hope that things can change and do change. When things get rough you need a network of uplifters who encourage you and help you stay focused. I want to believe that you have found such a network on Pulse Wire.

Women hating each other or the saying women are their worst enemies is a myth perpetuated by men because the fear the collective power of women. That is why the women movement needs to move beyond personalities to institutionalising they way we respond to issues that concern us. When you go into labour and need assistance, it is your fellow woman that gives you her wrapper, if you need help with the children, you can easily approach a sister rather than a brother because she understands. If you want to share your personal thoughts, fears and silliness, you have a girl friend who is always there. Don't give up and don't despair, we are our sisters' keepers.

Best wishes,
Osai

Twitter: @livingtruely

binapatel33's picture

God Bless

Dear OOLUSS,
Your stories are very deep. The poem is also very deep and portrays clearly what you have been through. It breaks my heart to read your stories, but you also inspire women to become strong. I admire your strength to put these events in your life into words. The words are very powerful and carry a lot of weight. I commend you for your voice! I hope that you will be able to educate women where-ever you go and teach them at it is not women but rather men who are hurting young girls and raping them. It is a pity that societies across all cultures treat women with so much slack (to say the least).

Thank you for giving us an insight into your world. Keep up with the writing, you do a very good job.You have a strong vision and can place into words very well.

Kind Regards,
Bina Patel
hc Mediate, LLC
www.hcmediate.com

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