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I Live in a Society Where...

I live in a society where a woman’s struggle begins way before she is born. A tiny lump of flesh and blood, she is unable to plead for a chance to live as her parents opt for sex-selective abortion. I live in a society where the birth of a girl casts a gloom of uncertainties on the face of her parents. She is placed in the warm embrace of a mid-wife, another female, only to be murdered, buried alive, or abandoned. I live in a society where a woman is easily labeled a prostitute, a witch, an adulteress, an inauspicious widow or barren, and is flogged with 100 lashes, stoned to death, or burnt on pyres. I live in a society where girls are given dolls and make-up whereas boys are given toy-cars and books.

I live in a society where a woman is instructed, from a very young age, to be a perfect housewife as exemplified by her ability to cook, to obey and serve the husband, to compromise, and to gossip about others, while watching soap operas with her mother-in-law. I live in a society where women too conspire against other women in a property-grabbing bid, often driving out the legal but weak owners; separate a mother from her son; slander an accomplished woman; and hand over a female friend to a pack of lustful hyenas.

I live in a society where a woman is considered aggressive, Western, and even Satanic if she is expressive, independent, educated, and ambitious. She is a threat to modesty and religious values. I live in a society where beauty of a woman is judged by her looks, not by her character or intellect. I live in a society where chocolate-skinned, healthy woman are hardly venerated. I live in a society where a girl as young as 8 or 9 is married off, often to a man 8 times her age, to safeguard her future. I live in a society where a woman’s choices are dictated by others and she is expected to submit to the will of others. I live in a society where men are the decision-makers, the bread-winners, the leaders.

I live in a society where a woman risks remaining unmarried for life if she loses her temper yet a man is honoured for doing the same. I live in a society where women are blamed for rapes, domestic violence, extra-marital affairs, divorce, acid-attacks, and unruly children. I live in a society where a woman is frequently beaten by her male family members as a method of disciplining her. I live in a society where a woman’s right to sexual pleasure is curbed by female genital mutilation.

20 years of my life is a testament to a rather lopsided society. In the next 20 years, I aspire to challenge the status-quo and overturn centuries of oppression against women. This is the sole reason I joined this community of women who, I am sure, have the same vision as I do.

Comments

atzili's picture

Stay brave

Your passion is obvious from your words and I look forward to hearing what you do to change the world around you. Stay brave and strong

Monica09's picture

Thank you!

Thank you for the encouragement! Apart from advocacy on print media that I currently do, I have some other ideas involving interactive mapping on social media, anthology, TV shows, etc. that I would like to implement by 2014 to benefit vulnerable women.

Warm regards,
Monica

Flavia Nyadoi's picture

Hey Monica, It sad to know

Hey Monica,
It sad to know that is the kind of society you live in, however I am also delighted that you have chosen to up an action against oppression. Please follow your vision. May be you should tell which society that it and you have personally encountered as a woman and also while challenging the status-quo.

Thanks,
Flavia

Monica09's picture

Thank you!

Dear Flavia,

Thank you for reading my post and leaving a comment! =]

My post refers to the society in general. I think the situation is more or less the same everywhere. There is discrimination/violence against women in every country. It is sad that gender based violence receives so little attention, although it takes the life of so many women every year. (Please read for more statistics: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/02/201327114230765738.html)

I have personally encountered, as a woman as well as while challenging the status-quo (and witnessed other women around me being subjected to), most of the injustices that I have mentioned in my post. This post is really an account of all that I have seen, heard, and experienced. But these injustices only push me to work towards achieving a more safer, equitable world.

Warm regards,
Monica

mjose3's picture

I can feel your courage

I can feel your courage through your writing. It only takes a spark to get the fire going. I hope and pray that you provide the spark to other brave women of your community. We are all here right behind you!

Lisa

Monica09's picture

Thank you!

Dear Lisa,

Thank you for your encouraging words and unwavering support! Glad to hear that my words could convey and inspire in others the passion that I hold for the complete elimination of gender-based violence and inequity.

Warm regards,
Monica

Chinemu's picture

Monica

Monica you are a great voice, what women and girls go through in your society is similar world over.
A certain lady in our area was divorced because she had given birth to two girls, Shame on the man. he does not realise that he too came from a woman and without a woman he could not have been here.
indeed there is a lot of injustices against women in this world, we need to change that

Monica09's picture

Thank you

Dear Chinemu,

Thank you for your comment!

I completely agree with you about transforming the society. It's great to see women all over the world are working with whatever resources they have to bring changes in the community they live in.

Monica

One of Many's picture

outrages against women

Hello, Monica:

Yes, you have seen an outrageous litany of abuses against women -- our gender is truly amazing to have persisted in the face of that. What is it in women in your country that keeps them alive and motivated?

I am looking forward to hearing about your vision of the future, and how you became inspired to make a difference, and how you see that coming about.

Thanks for your passion, Monica. Through our passion, I hope we can make a difference ~

Anna

Speaking my Peace

Monica09's picture

Motivation

Dear Anna,

Greetings from Bangladesh!

I think women in my country are motivated by empathy and a sense of belonging to the community. It can be overwhelming for many women to either experience or hear about so many injustices. But what keeps us going is the realization that we are not alone in this journey, that we are responsible for the many others who are in the same predicament. Too often, due to these injustices, women commit suicide or shut themselves away from the world, ignoring the reality (my mother for example), but it is my dream to help these women to regain their confidence, to understand that they matter to so many others in the community, in the struggle for equity.

My vision for the future is a safer, equitable world with a complete elimination of gender-based violence. I feel the spark has already been ignited. I see women all around the world speaking up and actively helping the community. I myself work as a journalist in my country to bring social issues, especially gender-based violence epidemic, to the forefront of all media discussions. Media is powerful and I want more female leadership in that sector.

At the moment, I am working on launching an initiative that will allow people in my city to map gender-based violence. I am also researching stories to publish an anthology of stories of women who suffered violence but are not deterred from contributing positively to the society and helping other women to achieve their potential.

Warm regards,
Monica

One of Many's picture

so glad to hear back

Thank you so much, Monica, for your informative response. That work, supporting women to tell their stories, is a huge proteective factor to boost their resilience. It's fun, too, to rewrite stories, with different responses by the women and different endings.

That will be very interesting for you to gather the mapping information -- will you share it with officials? Do you have Domestic violence support groups in Nepal?

Do you know Usha KC Raut in Kathmandu? She is an amazing woman, and you both will be blessed to connect.

Best wishes, and thanks again,

Anna

Speaking my Peace

Thank you for your encouraging words!

It will be a web mapping initiative. Therefore, the figures will be available online for everyone to see. However, one of the aims of this project is to indicate differences between the reported "unofficial" figures and the official figures. If drastically different, it will reveal flaws in the official statistical methods. It will reveal the inefficiency of law enforcement agencies in encouraging victims to report incidents and in protecting certain areas. (More aims of this project here: http://worldpulse.com/node/69994)

I live in Bangladesh and here, as of 2012, there are 6 one-stop crisis centres throughout the country, which provide medical treatment and legal support to victims of violence against women. (More statistics here: http://www.e-ir.info/2012/04/30/violence-against-women-in-bangladesh/). Many active women's organizations exist and they are working on women’s political participation, violence against women, and women’s livelihood issues. However, these are not enough (both in quantity and quality) to deal with the total number of women affected, who need support.

Living in Bangladesh, although I have connections in India and Sri-Lanka, I have yet to make connections in Nepal. It would be great if you could connect us both.

Deepest respect,
Monica

One of Many's picture

one step at a time

I am so impressed with your awareness of what is going on and your passion for what matters to you and to us.

I have emailed Usha and I bet she contacts you on facebook soon.

All the best,

Anna

Speaking my Peace

Monica09's picture

Thank you!

Thank you! I am sure together we can transform this passion into concrete action and activism.

Thank you for connecting us both!

Monica

Thank you for your encouraging words!

It will be a web mapping initiative. Therefore, the figures will be available online for everyone to see. However, one of the aims of this project is to indicate differences between the reported "unofficial" figures and the official figures. If drastically different, it will reveal flaws in the official statistical methods. It will reveal the inefficiency of law enforcement agencies in encouraging victims to report incidents and in protecting certain areas. (More aims of this project here: http://worldpulse.com/node/69994)

I live in Bangladesh and here, as of 2012, there are 6 one-stop crisis centres throughout the country, which provide medical treatment and legal support to victims of violence against women. (More statistics here: http://www.e-ir.info/2012/04/30/violence-against-women-in-bangladesh/). Many active women's organizations exist and they are working on women’s political participation, violence against women, and women’s livelihood issues. However, these are not enough (both in quantity and quality) to deal with the total number of women affected, who need support.

Living in Bangladesh, although I have connections in India and Sri-Lanka, I have yet to make connections in Nepal. It would be great if you could connect us both.

Deepest respect,
Monica

Y's picture

Our sons and brothers, too,

Our sons and brothers, too, must be taught anger management techniques. If the men who love us are taught to use their words, rather than their fists and other parts of their bodies, perhaps changes will come to pass.

My younger brother made it his mission to learn so that he could finally approach our brilliant, but abusive father with a reason-based argument for stopping the violence against the children of our family. It worked.

A young mother I know beat on her her husband the first time he put a rough hand on their infant daughter. In other countries, she could have been killed for this. In this country she could also have been secretly beaten by her husband, but was not. It takes this kind of courage in defending our children to stop the violence against all vulnerable members of society.

If a man has no verbal problem solving skills, he should probably not be sought as a husband or father.

Y

Monica09's picture

Verbal Problem-Solving Skills!

I agree with you that men should be brought on board in the movement against gender-based violence.

I love that term: verbal problem-solving skills! So precise and powerful.

Love,
Monica

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