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CULTURE OF FEMALE SILENCE IN FAMILY SEXUAL VIOLENCE

These are some of the questions people ask;

Who dares to speak when you are told seal your mouth? who dares to mention to a friend or relative when voices around you tel you it is not honorable to speak about sexual life of your male relative? who can get the courage to stand in solidarity of a minor who is being sexually harassed by a male member of the family the same man threatens kill or throw out from the home who ever tries to do that? not many can do for fear of the consequences.......But then I ask, is this what is supposed to be? is it right? is it honorable? the answer is no!

In the recent past, many reports have shown that a lot of sexual violence to female minors is being done by male relatives among them ; fathers, uncles,brothers, male cousins, grandfathers, male family friends and males who know the female children very well. in cases where the father sexually violates the rights of his daughters, three things happen;

-The father threatens the child not to mention anything to the mother or any relative
the mother fears to tell anybody who could help for fear of being killed or thrown out of the marital home

-The mother feels ashamed to disclose such a shameful act to relatives and so chooses to keep quiet even when she fully knows what is going on, and the implications to the vulnerable daughter

-being a child, and socialized not to speak about sex and sexual matters suffers in silence. The other dilemma this child faces is the trust and respect the child has in the father makes it complicated to share about sexual violence in the family.

- the minors become vulnerable to sexual harassment and exploitation by male family members, and only learn to survive the ordeals by avoiding the male family members though this is short lived.

Because of the above, the culture of sexually abusing female members of the family is perpetuated.The male take the slightest chance to sexually harass the girls and women. The males in the home feel safe and continue to harass female members of the family with the assumption that the female members have no where to take them(which is just an assumption right?). the mothers or older females in the family witnesses to this horrific events choose to give a blind eye and seal their mouths.How can they normalize such barbaric acts and continue with life as if nothing has happened?.........

The thought of this alone makes me sick as i write this journal. I condemn in the strongest terms possible acts of pedophiles and sexual harassment of female family members. this is not right,this is not Godly, this is inhuman, this is betrayal, this is insane and should be stopped.

How can a respectable man do this for God's sake? and you still call yourself a father? How can a mother....a real mother who cares and loves her children hear and see this happen and deliberately choose to keep quiet? what an ugly conspiracy? is she fit to be called a mother? how then should she relate to her own daughter? as a co-wife? How? when she is her own blood who is just a minor? it is unbelievable ........really unbelievable.

yesterday was a different day for a man(Mason) who started raping his daughter from age 8. The daily nation reported that A mason has began a life sentence for defiling his daughter over a period of eight years.He had the incestuous relationship between 2003 and 2010 at his Ithekahuno village home in Nyeri County. Her cousin informed her mother — the girl’s aunt — who in turn called in Fida and the police, leading to the mason’s arrest.

But the girl, who is now 17, told the magistrate that she first reported the incidents to her mother in 2003, and when confronted, her father promised to stop the habit.However, the abuse resumed three months later with the man defiling his daughter whenever her mother was away doing casual labour.This continued until she joined secondary school and gathered the courage to inform her cousin.

The court made a ruling and on 23rd October, 2012 the magistrate based on the facts and evidence sentenced the mason for life behind Bars.

I am aware that this is just one lucky case where justice has been served, though not to my expectation because i feel the penalty has to be stiffer. i know that there are many daughters out there who need our voice and our support.

For world leaders around the globe, How i pray that you get the communication to help inform your structures to understand the magnitude of torture the girl children go through so that you can stand to protect and address issues through the legal systems in your relevant countries. mothers, speak out for your babies......speak out and protect your daughters...! don't make your girl children vulnerable to such monstrous acts!! mothers, do not conspire with the men who are out to harm your own daughters.

Finally, I want to honour the cousin who shared the information to the girl's aunt, who in turn took a bold step to inform FIDA and the police of 8 year ordeal.i know it has consequences, but the implications to the life of the girls who has suffered sexual violence are positive and immense. I also want to stand in solidarity with this girl, for when she could not take it any more, she verbalized it......better than her own mother. I am proud of you girl. I can not forget to stand in solidarity with girls throughout the globe going through such challenges......and i encourage us to say no...to family sexual violence by male family members in our society. lets say no to Social, Emotional, Physical, and psychological violence against women.

I wish the girl featured in the daily newspaper of 23rd October 2012, health, inner peace, rebuilding of her life, and a better future, filled with hope and realization of her dreams.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Comments

Amei's picture

Silence feeding on fear - Glad you shared.

Dear EK Chemorion,

A cycle of fear - generated by social systems. To keep honour when there is no honour. The women, children are fuelled by fear. When fear is so great the only outcome in silence. A slow painful suffering in silence.

It is us who understand the power of fear must lead and educate the people. Men, Women and the children. It is long journey yet we will experience the joy that gives us when we achieve our goal, hear the voice and when just is done.

I pray and wish all children who suffer in the hands of adults be granted strength and love to raise their voice. I hope more girls will find strength and seek help from caring people from this example. All the best to the girl.

With Love
Amei

sallysmithr's picture

Appreciate you sharing

Thank you so much for sharing that story. It is horrible how often this occurs and as you stated it is often hidden for very long. I worked as a Parole Officer and I was unable to work with the sex offender population, it was too difficult. I have also worked with children most of my career and protecting them is my number one! I wish I knew what would assist in stopping such behaviors and as you mentioned although it is a success that man received life, the effect's on the child is also a life sentence. I am glad to hear that she had the courage to speak out and I wish her well in her recovery on all levels.

Thanks again!!

Sally

Ali Shahidy's picture

Honor perpatuates silence

People with extreme tribal practices consecrate honor as an essential and major component of their culture. And mostly, honor is perpetuating silence by shielding the courage and inspiration to talk. So it makes it harder for the assaulted girls to stand against their immediate male relatives. As long as there is a presence of a firm proclivity to protecting honor in a tribal context, it’s close to impossibility to break the silence and speak out.
Besides, I know it’s really hard to identify and collect evidence for cases of sexual assaults. So it is simply surprising to see that the magistrate was able to put him in a life sentence based on some facts and evidence.

Just today 6 people were hung to death for different crimes including rape and defiling immediate family members like daughter. (in our country - Afghanistan)

As you said, there are girls out there who need our voice. I think it would be a good idea to bring such cases into public. It can ignite, in victims, the courage to talk or share their pains with others and eventually seek help.

Thank you for sharing, dear EK. Chemorion

Ali Shahidy

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