When I was born my mother was happy but the whole family was not happy as I am a third child of my parents and still a girl and my father and his relatives were expecting me to be a boy. I was name after a man (Emile) but my name was made to sound feminine (Emilia).
My whole relatives treated me like a boy cause of my name I grow up been praise because of my name sake was a hardworking man, this really upset me as I was a little girl I had never dressed like a girl nor been treated like a girl not even by my own mother.
I remember, my mother use to get angry if visitors or acquaintances tell her that I look like her: She was screaming no she don’t look like me. I grow up a tomboy, boy likes me too much because I use to behave and dress like them. I didn’t have a problem with that as I was seen as a strong girl in my family through the teenager and as well in my adult life. And this taught me two; things to be strong and an independent woman. My relatives and friends praise me for my bravely as I always stood up for myself if not happy about something around me.
I god married and my husband pass away, His family wanted me to be inherited by his cousin and I refuse, they took away everything I and my late husband had , because they say I killed my husband to inherit his properties, I can only inherit If I marry someone from their family and to that I refuse. I walk out of our house with my son only and our suitcases. It was heart breaking because I was young and my son was only 4 months old. But I stood up against widow inherit, and I know my late husband will not be happy the way his relatives treat me and his child.
I walk away knowing that I am doing that for the younger generation in my tribe to refuse force marriages and widow inherit. I am a role model for girls in my family and in my community. I know older generation was very upset for me to refuse to be inherited, but as the see me today and I told them my reasons to refuse they are happy and some of them says; they are happy that women are standing nowadays because in their time it was very difficult and refuse. I refuse cause I am not own by someone I am a free human being, and want everyone to respect me as a woman.
One of my goals this year is to hold girls talk show with aim to discuss harmful cultural practices that put our lives in danger as women.