Behind the Screen
When I made the decision to break my silence it was one of the hardest things I had to do. I was unprepared for the knowledge that hundreds of thousands of victims have no voice and its not by their choice.
I never imagined the enormous role which the Internet would play in my life as an advocate, survivour, a grassroots woman, and budding author. When my voice went unheard by many who willfully blocked their ears and shut their eyes to the many atrocities of abuse and domestic violence.
I did the only thing possible at the time I turned to the Internet, being new to the Internet I sought help as to how best to navigate and I searched for groups, individuals, organizations, and online spaces to share my experiences, seek help, advice, and to help others and myself, and launch various causes and campaigns.
One site which I found was Facebook, back then it was not as popular as it is today I learned how to navigate this site and soon began my online advocacy. Having just a handful of friends on the social media site did not deter me.
I was encouraged and motivated by the many advocates, survivours, groups, and organizations who found a space on facebook, whenever I read the various post, testimonies and articles I felt empowered and a burst of energy would push me to become active and educated in this line of work.
I was empowered by the many advocates which I met online in various groups, individuals from across the globe who befriended me and encouraged me whenever I felt weak and thought about giving up.
Receiving advice, and words of encouragement from total strangers who today are some of my best friends, I created my first page online called 'I AM SAYING NO TO ABUSE' each week I would see an increase in page likes. I began to receive messages where persons stated that the page post were informative, enlightening, and supportive.
This propelled me to continue for persons were now dependant on the post to get through their day, find hope, and feel encouraged that there was a voice speaking for them. Empowerment comes in various ways and never in my wildest dream would I imagine being empowered by the Internet and this tool would help me accomplish many goals.
I had a dream of having a radio show and magazine in my geographical location of the of the world the Internet made this possible and still is. Online I felt as though I could move mountains and there were no roadblocks or red tape.
I began to search for resources and organizations in various countries whom I could network with but more so I got their contact details and the services they provided and made notes and posted to the facebook page so fans can access services in their country and regions.
I began to reach out to fellow advocates and speak about networking, some of them reached out to me we began to share information about understanding the cultural differences and how to bridge the gap, embrace the unique cultural differences,and understand the laws so we can advocate globally and locally.
I began to search the web for tools to make this happen, realizing that wonders can happen online. I was enthusiastic and purpose driven to make a difference. I found my way unto an online radio site called Blogtalk radio I felt as though I found the gold at the end of the rainbow, I listened to a few shows then opened an account.
Soon enough I dived in and hosted my first show. Radio on the Internet! Persons from all over the world can tune in and listen be it on a laptop, desktop, or mobile device. Messages of prevention, empowerment, advocacy and support was now going to another level.
After each show I would share the episode on my page, my personal page and within groups very soon I began to get a following and listeners sent submissions for various topics. I called upon fellow qualified advocates to assist me and asked them to host a show we all used the same account, and assisted one another while one hosted the other was in the chat room.
Now listeners got five shows per week with different hosts and a variety of topics. Each host had a separate day. This all happened all because of being empowered online and the Internet helping me to achieve my goals. Shows continue to be hosted and minds and hearts continue to be blest.
But the new found drive which I had did not stop there being energized by the Internet and empowered by the online tools, resources and people I began to search for a platform to do the e-magazine a place where global voices can unite against abuse and domestic violence.
Involving men in this task was instrumental as they are pivotal in the process of gender equality and having spaces free of violence. I have met and continue to meet some wonderful and interesting people online. Many of those meetings have blossomed into fruitful friendships.
In June of 2012 our first issue of the e-magazine called 'O.A.B.I. Voices United in the global fight against abuse' it was an immediate hit with many today we have suspeneded publications as we work on rebranding the magazine and bring up to a professional and international look.
I have met authors who shared their books with me, doctors from various fields who were eager to give advise and even write articles for the magazine, amazing survivours who shared their stories like Laura Cowan and so many others, educators, lawmakers, models, and those petitioning for change.
Those persons whom I met and took the time to touch my life by sending me a note of commendation, support, or encouragement will forever be close to my heart they will became my support network and the family which I did not have offline. My online family kept me sane and encouraged.
Did the Internet inspire me? Yes it did, and it continues too as I draw inspiration from it daily, inspiration from the stories shared, the events hosted, the articles posted, the books published, the radio shows conducted, and the silence being broken.
Did I learn something new? Certainly, I was able to take courses and training online and become certified in various areas dealing with child protection, domestic violence and abuse, victim service provider and protection, empowerment, family, life, parenting, law and much more.
Many of the above courses and training was new to me, if I did not have access to the Internet and having an online presence I would not of known about such training and being able to sit behind a computer in one country while being taught and trained in another. If this is not empowerment then I do not know what it.
When I am online I find joy in researching and networking with women and men around the globe for enhancement of the cause. As women we have such a powerful tool at our finger tips and we must fear if we lose the opportunity to use it well.
We must fear if we do not embrace it and use it to empower our sisters to become great, to change lives, to make a difference, to share information, to educate, advise and lend support.
We should fear if we let this great technology just pass us by while others use it to spread misogyny, intolerance, and illiteracy. If we fear to use the Internet, if we fail to embrace it then we would of failed our daughters and our sisters and open a floodgate of chaos and destruction to future generations.
Now is the time to call on every government official to push for the empowerment of every woman and girl to have free access to computers and the Internet. I had a dream that one day I will become an active advocate not for myself but a voice for many and many voices for one.
The Internet has afforded me this privilege and my dream is slowly becoming a reality, as a grassroots woman, survivour, and activist who does not have the luxury of many established organizations or woman but work much harder and sacrifice more. This dream is coming through, I dream of a place where women can come and be trained and empowered this dream is coming through not only for me but for every woman and girl and man and boy.
There are endless opportunities and possibilities and the use of the Internet has only just begun this is our time let us not fail for future generations are counting on us.