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Today we shared our stories, wept and danced

The celebration is still in the air, it is International Women's Day and our riverside women are not left behind. The atmosphere became tensed when the facilitator showed her code to triger off the discussion for the workshop. It was Violence Against women.

There was a deadening silence which was immediately followed by a call for a minute silence for all the women that fell in the battle field, those who died in active action and service for all. I mean women who rested in peace by force, they were those women who were beaten late into the night, went into coma by husband turned boxers and never came out alive.Although their partners never revealed the truth behind the sudden death.

Our one minute silence was for those Indian women, my beautiful sisters; who were intentionally burnt by their spouses; the sacred Indian kitchen accident. Our one minute was for the victims of rape, our sisters who gave up, thinking that the world is not worth fighting for, as they moved on higher journey, where there wont be sorrow, slaps and sudden rage of men. This one minute silence, I mean that excrutiating minute, was for our mothers who died while giving birth to those babies they dreaded their pregnancies after seven alive and seven dead children.

Today, we stood a minute for our girls who died during the vaginal mutilation excercise; I survived this dastard act. Also we shared the minute silence with our sister, who was hit on her neck by her husband after just two weeks of delivery, she died. We stood in silence for all our sisters world over who gave up the ghost as a result of Violence Against Women.

This was immediately followed by a thundeorus clap for all the women in the world, who refused to give up in the face of oppression. Our sisters, though we have never seen you but we feel your stuggle, we can say as it is being expressed in Kiswahili "Tuko pamoya?" We are together with you and we send our clap offering to say Welldone.

Today we celebrated woman hood in our own local way at teh riverside where women are not represented among the counsil of elders no matter their age. We celebrated ourselves, we checked our mileage and we realised that we are moving forward.

No one wanted to share her story. As usual, I shared mine. How I received my blessed beatings and how I drew the line; the day you raise your fist, the day you raise your voice, the day you raise your foot against me, will be the end of our marriage. It was a decisive day.

My story was our story.
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It opened every blocked throat and stories began to flow like a river. Her mother was married off at the age of fourteen, she began forced menstruation after series of rapes from the man that she known as her uncle. At the age of seventeen, she was divorced because the neighbours had to report to teh margistrate that the way the husband was beating her, she would die before her time. The marriage dissolved, the man accepted the son and gave the daughter to the young mmother. She began to pick empty bottles on the streets and these she sold to survive.

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She was married to a primary school teacher who could not tolerate an illiterate for a wife, one midnight, he hit her head on the floor and she rested in peace. The teacher is still at large till today.

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After the sixth child, she began to report her husband to their pastor. "I cannot survive with more pregnancies, she reportedly said, the pastor responded "it is the will of God to act according to your husband's precept, he is your head as Christ is the head of the church". She died after the delivery of the eighth child, the husband could not educate the children. All the seven children are illiterate except the eight baby that was abandoned at the hospital and raised by the late woman's younger sister. The man who wanted eight chidlren could not afford to educate the rest.

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Oh, the story of Zanele, our transformation sister in South Africa, she was raped by four men sent by her intending husband, after raping her, the husband sent cows and money to ask for her hand in marriage as it is the custom and tradition of her people. She never recovered from the trauma, she died last month.

What are the causes of these violence? So numerous but the chorus answer was wickedness. Not culture, not custom, not religion not tradition, because a good man could be good inside his house. It is cheer wickedness of a man could make him cut off his wife's nose, chop off her hands and also gun her down because of a plate of morsel, a story of a hunter that killed his wife in Ondo state - Nigeria last month.

How can we avert this disaster? Speak out was the answer, do not hide a sore hand under your cloak. Help is near, every violated woman should seek help.

The celebration was rounded off with dancing. We danced because we have fought so far and won so much, we have worked so hard and harvested this much, we can say, this is how far we have gone at the riverside. Our women wax stronger and they become bold by the day. They can feed their families and hey appreciate eduation daily. The appreciate themselves more and they are comfortable with their daughters more than ever.

We had 150 clothes that was donated by some women, these clothes were shared according to each woman's needs. We celebrated womanhood. We celebrated ourselves this day.

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Comments

JaniceW's picture

One excrutiating minute

Tosin, as always the power of your words and your acts stops me in my tracks in admiration of you.

How do we stop this insanity? As you said, WE MUST NOT BE SILENT. Each time we hear something, see something and remain silent, we condone the act. We say yes to the continuing of that violent act. We say yes to that act of slavery. We say yes to a woman being treated less than a human being. We say yes to a girl not being educated.

A single thread can be easily broken but intertwined with many, it has the strength of rope. Let us rise up with the power of our conscience and bring all of our voices together for a united front of women's empowerment.

Thank you for reminding us of those who lost the fight and of those who overcame their struggles and are now leading a more fulfilling life.

Much love,
Janice xx

olutosin's picture

Thanks Janice

Thanks for your comment, we must not forget the sheroes and those who are still working. It gives inner strength to keep on working.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

aimeeknight's picture

Dear Olutosin, These stories

Dear Olutosin,

These stories brought tears to my eyes, the women have so much courage. I am proud of you, of all the women, for speaking out and sharing your stories. Together you give each other hope and courage, to stand up against the cycle of violence. You danced! Thank you for touching my heart.

Your sister,

"One shoe can change a life" ~ Cinderella

olutosin's picture

You are my sister

We always speak each others mind, thanks for being there for us always sister Aimee.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Starland's picture

Happy, happy, joy,joy

Keep on dancing!!! I'm dancing, too.

love you
K-lee

K-lee Starland, Ph.D.

olutosin's picture

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I believe you Ma.

Loads of Love to you.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

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