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Hidden power

Dear girls and women, truly you are able; I can testify to that. When I was young in our village there were many cases of sex abuse. One day a woman was raped by a man of a neighboring village, so there was a committee of old men which was in charge of solving community problems. Women were not included in the make-up of this committee. When the committee decided the case, they (comity) asked the accused to pay a fine equal to the amount of an evening of beers for the committee.
This story is only an example of a typical Decision handed down by the all-male committees set to judge the cases brought before them by the community. The Decision given was only the final humiliation, for it came after the victim herself was is tormented at length by many questions that were allowed to be asked by anyone in the room, and obviously asked so as to quash and completely shame the victim.
But what made this particular case standout was that after the unjust Decision was meted out, there were four women who were so incensed at the cold, heartless treatment of the woman who had been raped that when the Decision was given, they rose up and rushed to rapist and began beating him and those standing with him with all the strength they could muster.
My mother just happened to be among those four courageous women. So that evening my family received a subpoena from the local officers of the court, hand delivered by a police man who asked a hen for in lieu of his transportation costs. My Farther was very angry with my mother for her outburst of violence upon hearing the verdict because now he would have to pay a fine. My mother asked my dad, “what could I have done?” The next day morning my dad accompanied my mom to the courthouse and paid the fine for beating the rapist.
Maybe this case was what they would call a landmark case, because it seemed to set a precedent that continues until this day. That day in court was thirty years ago, but now these types of verdicts are commonplace, and the women have been so beaten down by years and years of such humiliations that they have forgotten that they have the power within them to fight against these injustices. But this is the time to take the stand again. You have the power – I have witnessed it – and I will stand with you.

Comments

delphine criscenzo's picture

You made my day!

Hello Kinyama,

You just made my day! Reading the story you shared and the reaction of your mother was so uplifting. Women have been told for generations that they do not have the power to change anything. Of course, here on World Pulse online community we believe this is false and that in fact, women are the strongest agents of change.

Thank you for being a strong ally and taking this very valuable position. It is essential to have men say, "I will stand with you" and let us, women, lead the way!
Thank you friend!

Delphine Criscenzo

Kinyama carlos's picture

You made my day!

And you made my day with your comment Delphine! My mother instilled love in my heart for all people because she loved all people, especially those deemed unlovable. I appreciate the World Pulse online forum because here we can all stand together for what is right, making a distinction against all that is so wrong.

Glad to be called your friend,

Carlos

mrbeckbeck's picture

Thank you from a fellow male

Kinyama,
Thank you so much for sharing your perspective here. As a fellow male in this world working for equality and justice, I applaud you for standing up and cheering women on. With male and female voices together, we will surely create a transformation.

In solidarity,

Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Volunteer

Kinyama carlos's picture

Thank you my brother

Indeed my dear brother. So good to hear from and be connected with you. It is very satisfying to be standing with you and the women and girls on World Pulse. I know that together we are going to bring about the world we all believe in. It is only right.

In unity,

Carlos

Wendyiscalm's picture

Your article

Kinyama Hello from Chicago (OBamaland),

What does Kinyama mean?

I love your article and your standing up and being a force towards equality. I have always said, that if women are to be equal we MUST have men to be a part of the process. Your strength, compassion and determination are inspiring. Please keep it up.

Ubuntu (I am who I am because of who we are together),

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Kinyama carlos's picture

Your Article

Thank you Wendy. It's remarkable how sometimes only saying or doing what is right can stand out as such a bright light when darkness is trying to rule our day.

Regarding my name, my mother told me I was named after a Congolese General from another Province whose helicopter fell out of the sky when it lost fuel, but landed safely near my village. In the native tongue of the General, the name means, "the rank of king."

As you say my sister, we are together. And as we say in Congo: umoja ni nguvu (together we are strong).

Carlos

Wendyiscalm's picture

Umoja ni nguvu

So, how is Carlos who has the rank of king? Love the story of how you got your name. I asked because I have noticed that Africans have stories behind their names that are so interesting. I know one guy from Jo'burg S.A. who is named "Day Off" because he was born a day off, on a Sunday instead of Monday. Isn't that funny?

Good to hear from you and happy to see that you are getting a good response from WP members. You ,know it is so true what you say about saying or doing what is right can stand out as a bright light when darkness is trying to rule our day. I feel strongly that this should be the normal modus operandi for ALL OF US. I often get told "Wendy you go above and beyond the call of duty. You give 120%". I know it is meant as a compliment BUT I am so sad to hear those words.I should not stand out. For me this is my normal. It should be everybody's normal. It isn't hard. It doesn't take a long time. It is about being your authentic self and as you say so well, it is saying and doing what is right without thinking "How will the person take this?", "Will I look Silly?" "What if the person doesn't like or approve of me?" I used to be like that. But now I make so much change in people's lives by giving it all up and being myself. I am older. It is good to see someone younger already "gets the point".

So, my friend from the Congo, Umoja ni nguvu

Ubuntu,

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Kinyama carlos's picture

Umoja ni nguvu

How am I? These days I am feeling inspired Wendy. I am looking around and listening more, and I think I am seeing more clearly every day. And certainly, receiving all these responses has been eye-opening. Thank you for taking a minute to invest in me. I will pay it forward in your name.

Best to you,

Carlos

flora1's picture

THANK YOU for your story

Your mother did not only stand up that day long ago for she planted a seed in you and now you are carrying on. With your truth and your strength, your support and encouragement of women, you are multiplying those four women of whom she was a part.

Thank you for being a male voice in support of women. A real man who can work to ensure a better reality for women in your village and beyond.

~flora

Kinyama carlos's picture

The Story of My Mother

I agree with you Flora. It is something from within that moves me. I am compelled to stand with my sisters and am proud of the Maman Shujaa who come to the Media Center in Bukavu to voice their hearts online.

Thank you Flora,

Carlos

Noreen D.'s picture

I applaud your Courage.

Dear Kinyama,

You are an amazing young man. Thank you for sharing your mom's story with us. I'm going to put it on my facebook page so that more people in the US can read and know what is really going on. I feel that transparency will lead to transformation.

We need young men like you to stand hand in hand with strong women to lead the world out of darkness into the light.

Thank you, Noreen

Noreen Donohue

Kinyama carlos's picture

Courage

Thank you for the encouragement Noreen. I think when you say "transparency" you mean honesty, and I agree that we all must be honest with ourselves and one another. Most all of us had the benefit of being loved deeply by our mothers. In that love conveyed we were taught many things that are intrinsic to love's nature. Maybe society teaches us things that are contrary to what mom's love taught us, but if we are honest with ourselves, her love spoke a deeper truth.

I must be truthful and say that I had my struggles as society and my peers tried to suggest what was acceptable behavior toward women and girls, but in the end, the values my mom instilled won out.

At your side,

Carlos

Susan K.A.'s picture

Thanks, Carlos!!

Others have already articulated what I want to say--that I have so much gratitude for your support of women. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for standing up for justice and equality! Thank you for sharing your story so that others may learn from it, be inspired, and change the world for the better.

With love,

Susan

______________________________________________________________________________

"I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being."
-Hafiz

Kinyama carlos's picture

Thanks

Thank you Susan. I have many stories about my mom and not all of them are my own; many are from others. She was really a great woman. She touched many lives with her strength of character and wisdom. She did not get to go to school but she was a professor to many in our community.

With regard,

Carlos

Sutanuka Banerjee's picture

Amazing

Salute to your mother and also to you.

Best Wishes,

Sutanuka

I live in my convoluted mind....

Kinyama carlos's picture

Amazing

Thank you Sutanuka. Best wishes to you as well.

Carlos

Hello, that was a really interesting read, which speaks volumes. Looking forward to reading more inspiring and life changing stories like this. Thank you.

Hillary24

Kinyama carlos's picture

Very Inspiring

Dear Otto, thank you for taking time to read this story. In our rural villages there are so many stories like this because sex abuse has become as a joke where people have become insensitive to this issue. Only the victims are suffering, and suffering in silence because of the shame they have to bear in our culture. They are victims, and yet they are the ones being punished.

Thanks again. All the best,

Carlos

Wendyiscalm's picture

Men's empowerment group

Hi Carlos,

Since you put in your article on WP I have been thinking of suggesting you contact Otto - or Zim Man as I like to call him. He is interested in the same things you are and he has a street band to do it and I suggested a men's empowerment group which he likes that idea. I was hoping the two of you could get going supporting each other to get this started in both of your areas.

Anyhow, let's do something.

Ubuntu (I am who I am because of who we are together),

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Wendyiscalm's picture

Hi Otto

Hi Otto,

How is it going Zim Man !.

I was thinking of you regarding Carlos but didn't know if I should suggest he cotact you and now you have contacted him. May be the two of you can work to support each other starting a men's empowerment group to help with this issue in each of your countries.

Ubuntu,

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

hillary24's picture

Hie Wendy

Dear Wendy, that is a brillianty idea and thank you for that wise thought, we will definately try to learn from each other, and will definately keep you informed all the way as l know that you and all the other women here are very supportive in every way. Its always refreshing to hear your encouraging words Wendy, Ubuntu for sure.

Yours truely
Zim man.

Wendyiscalm's picture

GREAT

Okay, Zim Man,

I'll look forward to hearing how you get started, progress, etc. Don't get discouraged if groups are small at first. It only takes 2 people to make a group. Each month or week or whatever, each person could try to bring one more person they find who has a sincere interest.

I don't have to give suggestions, you know what to do.

Take care, Otto,

Ubuntu,

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

radiocami's picture

Kinyama, what a powerful and

Kinyama, what a powerful and well written article. Thank you for being a man standing up for Women's rights in the Congo and thank you for inspiring us to remember our innate strength.

valerie camila rhodes

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