Not yet enough for the girl
Not yet enough for the girl child
I have of late been hearing so much about having done enough for the girl child. ‘What about the boy’ has become quite common rhetoric in Kenya which is a very patriarchal society. Those involved in the fight for the girl have been met with a lot hostility while may are out to correct us “it is a high time to focus on the boy child” they say. In fact one preacher the other day said that the boy child is endangered.
But is it enough for the girl child?
NO. I believe there is a lot yet to be done. All children need attention but one has to look keenly at the life of a girl to know that there is need for continued attention. Even as we pay attention to the boy child to help them unlearn the negative masculinities that they have been socialised into, we must not lose sight of the plight of girls.
Last month I listened to the story of a young girl that made my heart bleed. Taabu (not her real name) was sold to some man since her family couldn’t take care of her and so the man got himself a wife (a 13 yr old wife!!). She had to face the wrath of the man anytime she was seen as not toeing the line. She was never referred to as a ‘wife’ but had to do all the wife duties. Rape was the order of the day and she was not to complain since ‘she had been paid for’. She had dreams for her life and marriage was last on the list. She wanted to be self dependent and be able to make decisions on her life. Many are the times when the man was tired of her and she was chased away from the house since the man had brought in another lady who is ‘more woman’ than her she was told. Those are the nights that she had to chose between sleeping in the streets and getting raped or agreeing to sleep with some man for food; what choices are those?
Unfortunately the wonderfully created woman has been relegated to an object of pleasure just because of being a woman. Her natural roles have been used to justify social roles. She deserves better and we can not rest until this happens. If anyone thinks that the boy and the girl are at par today, then they need to travel wider.
As long the girl is the one that carries a pregnancy when she doesn’t even understand herself;
As long as the girl is the one that drop out of school if she falls pregnant and the boy finishes his school;
As long as the girl is the domestic worker that has to take care of families while she needs the care herself;
As long as the girl is the one that gets embarrassed when her dress is all red stained and wondering why she is bleeding because nobody told her that it is part of being a woman;
As long the girl is the one that continues to be bargained for like a price and dowry decided upon by strangers, and voila she is ‘legally bought’;
I will still focus on the girl child, and I have no apologies.