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Reflections on Module 2

When I was writing my first Module, I kept hoping I had more space to write. And then with Module 2, I had sufficient space to write. I emailed my mentor with several thoughts on what I wanted to write about, and as usual, I ended up writing about something I had not included in any of my emails :-)

I anticipated that I would need more time, because I took so long with my first Module, so I asked for an extension. I stumbled upon Mukut's excellent front-line journal. I emailed my mentor and told her about how reading Mukut's post had pushed the boundaries further. (Thanks, Mukut!)

Sometimes I am afraid to write in the first-person narrative. Will I be selfish? Will I add my prejudices to the issue, and take away from it? How do I say this is important if I am only speaking from my experience? Of course there are times when you want to tell people "this is how I felt about this!" or even just to describe what something looked like, what a conversation relayed. Because in that moment, because you are the one that is present there, you are the eyes and the ears of the other world.

I had been thinking a lot about teenage pregnancy. There seemed to be more cases coming up. I had worked in a district upcountry and while I was getting an update from one of the people- for I often wonder about them, even when I have moved away from there- I was told about a girl who was in Grade Five who was living with her Grade Seven boyfriend. Their parents had given them a room to live in. They were pregnant with their first child and in that community, if you are old enough to get pregnant, you are old enough to live alone and start a family. The boy, who is about 12 years, continued to go to school while the girl, who is about 9, stayed in her new one-room apartment waiting for the birth of her first child. The room was by the roadside and I thought that the world should have been outraged! They should have thought "there is something going on here, what can we do?" Instead, the attitude was "ehh kids these days are having sex too early."

Grace Ikirimat commented on the post. This was her comment: Today we had a discussion with Members of Parliament on teenage pregnancies and what they can do to stop this vice. They expressed their dilemmas in fighting this issue "What do i do when I'm invited as guest of honor to a marriage ceremony of a teenager. This information may be obtained through whisperers in the ceremony- that bride covered over there is just 15 years.....", " My campaign slogan was No defilement, I was warned by the men and women in my constituency that -we shall not vote for you, my son has defiled so why should I vote for u to jail my son...", ''I know of a boy who has impregnated 8 girls between 13-15 years at the same period in my constituency..." and many such statements. I'm disillusioned. how then can this be fought is this is what our legislators say??

I still have not responded to the comment because it made me feel so much. I curled up in a corner from the intensity of my emotions. The reason we vote for Woman Members of Parliament is so that the women of the country have a voice, so that their issues are debated and solutions are found. They are supposed to be the ones writing our frontline journals with the powers-that-be. But if they know all of the problems and they feel powerless to do anything, what does that leave us with? Where is that boy who has impregnated 8 girls between 13-15 years during the same period? Why did he think it was okay to do this? And, how on earth was he let to even get to girl number 2 when the world knew him and what he had done!?!

It was then that I was most comfortable with the style of frontline journal. Because sometimes you want to tell a story like you see it, you want to tell people that it is important. That it concerns you and it must concern them too because you live in the same world as they do.

P.S I was super excited about how many people read my post and left a comment, so thank you all for taking the time to. The day I found it under "Spotlight" on Voices Rising, I sent a very excited email to both my mentors.


Mukut's picture

Thank you darling

Your front-line journal was extraordinary. Well done. And thank you for liking my journal. I have to ONLY thank my mentors. All credit goes to them. All the mentors are fabulous.

Lots of love darling

Mukut Ray

shahd's picture

I, for some reason, did not

I, for some reason, did not get the chance to read your journal, but I am glad I did now and I read this post from you. I was touched and moved and the same time angry how people underestimate the importance of childhood innocence.

I am working on child marriage, as my topic for Module 3. It is kind of similar in terms of abusing children and getting girls in such an early age, as early as 13 years old, have sex, start a family, get pregnant, and be at risk of childbirth death!

It makes me wonder, where does this going to stop? what level of knowledge and development we need to reach for such crimes to stop?

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Dear Rebecca,


Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Dear Rebecca,

. . . your story of the 9 year-old pregnant girl and her 12 year-old boyfriend is so sad. It is so sad for the girl, for the boy and for the child who will born to parents who are still children.

A community -- not to mention a world! -- that turns its back on this sort of situation, dismissing it as just bad behavior while doing nothing to stop it from happening again, is of course irresponsible, negligent and completely lacking empathy

One has only to imagine walking a mile in the shoes of that 9 year-old girl to realize the pitiable situation she's in.

Thank you for sharing these reflections. I stand with you in despairing over this issue.

With Support,


Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

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