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The Gentle Tamers in Transition: Women on the Move

I envision my life in a very multi faceted way: supporting the widows and the women infected by HIV/AIDS. I will continue to supporting programs that deals with eradication of topical issues like gender based violence (GBV), violence against girls in schools (VAGS), HIV/AIDS, stereotype on women etc. I will continually support programs that transform women and girls to better position in the society for example women leadership trainings, education, entrepreneurial skills for women, women & political participation among others. With a attainment of all these women economic and social empowerment for women will be greatly increased.

I will love to see a transformational change in my community in regards to the way women are treated. I am referring to retrogressive cultural practice of ‘Wife Inheritance’ or levirate. Widows are forced to undertake this ritualistic practice after the burial of the husband. It is forced on them and should she decline the penalty is heavy; either she will be regarded as a prostitute or be made an outcast who will not be involved in any family functions. Sometimes the widow is sent away because they fear she will bring a curse or she will make the family members die of funny disease known as ‘Chira’. On the other side of the coin, many women whose husbands have inherited widows are now infected by HIV/AIDS making the region to have the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS which is currently at 15.5% while the national statistics is at 6.7%.

I really want to be among the Voices of Our Correspondent (VOC) for world pulse as this is an opportunity for me to articulate women and girl-child issues in my community. Through VOC I will be able to network with like-minded people, share my experience and learn from their best practices. As the platform is digital which bring millions of women from different parts of the world I feel VOC will help me realize my vision through posting of my articles which are on women and girl child issues. Finally, it is also the best forum for me to publish my articles that are not published.

Comments

Chinemu's picture

True

True, there are a lot of injustices in this world against women. indeed inheritance is demeaning to women, violence against women and girls is fast spreading we really need to do join forces.

Keep the fire burning

Ayunnie's picture

A lot of injustices

Hi Chinemu,
Thank u for reading and responding to my article. aluta continua on women issues until we get there!

@ Nairobi KENYA
Women have impeccable character, if tapped society realizes quantum leap in development

binapatel33's picture

Thank you

Thank you for sharing your story. You have a good vision, and I know that you will express your desire for change in your articles. Do you mind sharing them with me? I would like to read them. Also, what is the ritual that women have to face after their husbands' die? Is it similar to sati? In India, Sati is known as a widow who has to throw herself into the burning fire, or the fire that is burning her husband's dead body. It is not widely practiced in India, but it does occur in smaller villages.

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

Ayunnie's picture

Rituals that women undergo

Hi Bina,
I am humbled that u took your time to read my write-up and getting your response. Well i am shocked to hear about that ritual of women required to throw herself in the fire that burns the remains of the husband...its so unfortunate but there is light and the end of the tunnel us we are coming together to end such dehumanizing rituals to women.

Well our scenario is different...
When a man dies, an inheritor is obliged to inherit (ter) the widow, this includes "ritual cleansing" through obligatory sexual intercourse. The Luo practice of ter entails cleansing as a pre-requisite for restoring normalcy of the widow into the society, and as a means of neutralizing the assumed cultural impurity and avoiding chira or taboo violation. The inheritor (Jater) can be either the brother of the deceased, or a paternal first cousin, or a clan cousin, or an adopted stranger. the union is always temporary and that is why its risky. The inheritor has his own family. Upon inheriting the widow he gets infected and passes the virus to his other wife/wives. This cycle is also most often fed by denial whereby the inheritors will attribute other causes of death of the deceased to malaria, typhoid, TB or chira . Sometimes inheritors will reason that witchcraft killed the deceased and goes ahead to inherit the widow.

if a woman is not inherited...when she dies the body must be inherited before burial...i mean a man must have sexual intercourse with the dead body before burial...isn't this not archaic?

@ Nairobi KENYA
Women have impeccable character, if tapped society realizes quantum leap in development

Ellie's picture

Horrific practice!

Dear Ayunnie,

Thank you for sharing more about this horrific practice of wife inheritance in Kenya. This is a horrific practice to read about, and undeniably unjust for women to be forced through it, especially during hard times of grief and loss. I agree with your comment below that it will take time for eradicate such practice and the cultural stigma associated with it, but there is no better time than now to bring stronger awareness about it, in Kenya and worldwide. I salute your leadership and vision for change.

Ellie Angelova
World Pulse

innerdelight's picture

bringing awareness

Hi Ayunnie,

Thank you for sharing your story and vision for women in your community and the world. Through sharing these stories, it is bringing awareness to the rest of the world where many of these practices seem hard to imagine and yet, they are occurring. This really is a grassroots movement... change from the ground up.

I would really like to read about what occurred in your life which resulted in this inner fire to be a voice for change in the world, especially as a voice for women...

What do you envision as being possible for women in your community when they have a support network in place? And are you finding that more women are starting to rise up to put an end to these old traditions, even if it means risking they will be outcast? Is there an openness to discovering other options for dealing with aids etc?

I look forward to reading more from you.

joyful blessings,
Tina

Ayunnie's picture

GRASSROOTS AWARENESS

Hi Tina,
Thank you for sparing your time to read my article and responding to it. I must first apologize for my late response, i was in the rural home coordinating farming projects that we started with Ramula HIV support group.well the group began various economic activities to make them more independent, for instance they grow water melon, sweet potatoes, butter nuts and various traditional vegetables which they sale both as retail and wholesale. they also have plastic chairs and tends which they hire out during functions. through this i envision an independent woman/widow who will not sit and wait to be inherited by a man in order for her to eat and educate her children. This also gives the widow opportunity to share information and worries with her fellow group members.

My personal story is not very direct, as i was raised with parents who were concerned with the education of their children. However i have witnessed my close cousins and many women in the rural homes, undergoing this kind of humiliation of wife inheritance. the menace of HIV/AIDS was declared a national disaster in my country. many are infected and affected. i lost my young brother through it and it still pains me to date as it could be prevented or he would have began medication but the medication began late due to stigma and denial. that is is one of the reason i feel it is my duty to sensitize the community and especially women.

well i do agree with you that women are coming up and participate in various issues that affect them and the community, however on the other side...some traditional aspects and cultures cant be eradicated immediately. The issue of wife inheritance wil take long to be eradicated. I have noted this through a qualitative research that i carried out in March 2013 on 'wife inheritance'. i noted that many including women were still supporting it because its how we were socialized and no one wants to be an outcast. i will be sharing with u this article soon. Thank u once again

@ Nairobi KENYA
Women have impeccable character, if tapped society realizes quantum leap in development

innerdelight's picture

Thank you so much

Thank you so much for your message Ayunnie. How wonderful to read about the farming projects!
I look forward to reading your other article. Absolutely, nobody wants to be an outcast and socialization can take quite some time to transform, however, with women like you having the courage to take a stand and show what else is possible, you are a bright light... and when enough women shine together...
I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your younger brother. He would be so proud of you!
joyful blessings,
Tina

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