Real men never rape!

Last week I met a young girl, who turns 6 this week. Very shy at first, but quickly warmed up after a few minutes. She enjoyed dancing and definitely loved cake. Her story; she was raped by her father.

My first question to her carer was ‘baba vake chaivo chaivo, kana kuti murume umwewo wamai vemwana?’ (Is this her real real father or just her mother’s boyfriend or step father). This was her real father that raped her on several occasions, and her mother knew about it. Her father also has other wives (polygamous) but that was not enough to quench his thirst, he still went on to rape his own 5 year old daughter – may he rot in jail for ever, amen.

In the same week, I heard about a father who was physically and sexually abusing his 6 month old daughter. The mother of the child had at one time left the daughter in the father’s custody as she went to fetch water (somewhere in Harare). When she returned she found her husband with his penis in the daughter’s mouth. Not knowing what it was, the daughter was suckling on it. The mother said she is afraid to report her husband, because he is the bread winner – how will she fend for herself and her daughter if he is arrested? What will his family say or think? – she is just almost as bad a perpetrator as her husband.

Rape1

I have heard many misogynists argue that some women dress seductively and this invites men to rape them. Many have also said women get too drunk at parties and it’s not that they get rapped but they ask for it. A lot more swear that there is nothing such as marital rape, rather conjugal rights. So when a father rapes their 5 year old daughter, please show me the seductive dressing. Was she drunk? Or are they married? Many associate rapists with drugs, alcoholism, broke men etc; for the record, the father abusing his 6-month-old baby is a pharmacist. Sex is being sold on the street all day, why not go buy than to rape? or better yet, why not masturbate? Bottom line is nothing, NOTHING, justifies rape – those that rape deserve to be castrated really.

The Sunday Mail of June 22, 2014 carried a headline “Over 170 men rape daughters in a year” while The Herald of February 10, 2014 read “Father rapes 2-month-old daughter”. On Friday February 7, 2014 there was another article titled “Rapist dad gets 20 years”. Many more reports with similar titles have been published while many other cases go unreported. One thus wonders what on earth drives men to commit such an unthinkable, selfish and criminal act of sexually preying on their own flesh and blood. Research points to rituals as chief among the reasons noted, with some being raped in order to enhance the family business’ profitability, to cast out evil spirits or to rid the family of poverty or the misguided myth that sex with a virgin heals an HIV positive person, usually as directed by a traditional healer.The Herald

Society must also actively keep its eyes open for signs and symptoms of sexual abuse on girls at school, churches and even as they play at home. As neighbors instincts that something might be wrong with a certain child’s living conditions or behavior are probably correct. That inquisitive eye may be the difference between a girl being raped by her father or escaping before it is too late.

While children may not disclose sexual abuse, they may show possible indicators. This might include one or more of the following:

  • significant changes in behavior (such as reverting to soiling or bed wetting, a decline in school performance)
  • sexual behavior or knowledge about sex that is beyond the child’s age
  • sudden fears or fear of being with a specific person
  • unexplained change in emotional state
  • becoming unusually secretive
  • pain in the genital or anal area.

But according to The Conversation, be alert not alarmed – these are possible indicators, not tell-tale signs. Just because an older child wets the bed does not mean they are (or have been) the victim of sexual abuse.

end-rape

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“Ko ndini ndaendesa magetsi here?”

I screamed as i was suddenly awakened from my short slumber by a splash of cold water in my face and a loud drunken voice that followed; ” nezuro ndakadya sadza rakatonhora, ndakageza mvura isina kudziiswa, ndikapfeka hembe isina kana kuiswa iron, nhasi futi kwete, muka undibikire rimwe sadza” (last night I had a cold meal, in the morning I took a cold shower, I wore a shirt that was not ironed but today i refuse, you have to wake up and make me a fresh meal).

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Angered to the max, I woke up, looked at the time; it was 9.45pm, and the electricity still wasn’t back since before we had woken up that morning. I went outside to start a fire to make a fresh meal as expected of me by my husband. The next scream that was heard from our house was not from me, but from a no-longer so drunken voice screaming “yohwee, wandidira mvura inopisa”…I looked at him with tears in my eyes and responded, “ko ndini ndaendesa magetsi here?’.

The Case of Gaza’s Electricity and Fuel Crisis 

The recent increased electricity and fuel crisis has only further intensified the situation making the living conditions of women worse, disrupting almost all aspects of daily life, especially the household tasks, which by society are considered the job of women. 61 per cent of women believe the blockade and electricity cuts have contributed to a higher rate of domestic violence against women. The psychological effects of the crisis on women are
lager as they become more exposed to tension, depression and violence compared to others as women are considered the corner stone of the family. The structural, cyclical and hierarchical nature of violence, therefore, means women often become “shock-absorbers” of the crisis.

The electricity shortage with limited electricity till up to four hours per day has increased the uncertainty for womenthereby turning women’s lives upside down. Women, therefore, often have to ensure the electricity required household tasks such as washing, laundry, ironing, cooking and ensuring children studying all have to be completed during the four hours of available electricity, which usually is during the night. (Source – The Humanitarian Impact of Gaza’s Electricity and Fuel Crisis on Gender-based Violence and services )

29 Days to 30; Changes

What has changed about me in the past 2 years? That’s what this post is about today. I sometimes used to think my sister was faking her eyesight or lack thereof when she spoke about failing to see someone that was just a few meters away from her. She could recognize it was a person but who it was she could never tell. 2 years ago #bang, genetic and karma bit me in the behind. It feels like it just happened. I didn’t see it coming. It’s like I could see perfectly today, then the next day I couldn’t, just like that.

I however only got glasses this year and now I am singing ‘I can see clearly now…’. But funny thing is even though my eyesight had become bad it isn’t that which got me to the optician but the migraines. If the migraines had not intensified, I am not sure if 2 years was as long as I would have stayed without bothering to get checked out. It is important to take care of yourself and your body, it’s the only place you will live in for your whole life.

I had literally become a druggy. The last 5weeks before getting glasses I felt like i was dying. I was literally surviving on pain killer. I’d take a dose every 4 hours but the migraines would not go away. I couldn’t actually remember what it felt like to be normal and not constantly feel pain. It really made me appreciate good health, something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. And people should stop assuming that a headache and migraine are the same thing; stop telling people to drink more water. It’s not about the water, it goes deeper than that.

The past 2 years have also changed how I see things (not physically). I now can pin point what makes me happy and do the most of that. Quiet often people know what they do not like or what pisses them off but we focus on the negative so much that we do not take time to determine what it is that makes us happy; flip the coin and focus on the positive. My last 2 birthdays have been celebrated doing something I am passionate about. I have decided to share my cake and birthday with little boys and girls that may never get the chance to celebrate birthdays the way I was blessed enough to growing up. The past 2 birthdays have been some of the greatest memories.

So much can change in 2 years, but even as people grow apart, seasons change; some things also remain constant. What has remained constant in your life?

#29daysto30
#may4yacho

28 days to 30; What I wear to bed

So every time I decide to sleep naked I cannot help but remember that story of a fire that broke out at a house in the night and the occupants had to run out naked. #laughs.

It reminds me of 1 time in Maine when the fire alarm went off around 3am and we all had to leave the building. It was such a cold day outside, but because the heating system inside was really warm all I had on was a t-shirt. Now imagine waking up from a deep sleep at 3am to a fire alarm. All I managed to grab was my dressing gown and wore my morning sleepers. People wear the weirdest things to bed though, no one was laughing at anyone because we all looked some type of way.

What do you wear to bed? And why?

#28daysto30

#may4yacho

30 Days to 30; Weird things I do when I am alone #day30

The countdown continues. But just that now it goes a notch higher. With 30days to go, I am so ready for everything that the 30s have to offer. Many people wonder why May4 is such a big deal, and also wonder why I am excited to age. Well, you will soon find out. But bottom line, celebrate it or not, you are getting older.

I generally am considered weird by most of my friends and family, so I guess I do more weird things in public then even more in private. I talk to myself often #weird. I enjoy my own conversations and I tend to answer a lot of my own questions. When I drive alone the conversations get deeper, and I often continue with these conversations when I get out to open the gate. I am so sure those that hear me think I actually have someone else in the car. My partner thinks out loud and talks to himself often. I always laugh at him but he doesn’t know that I talk to myself when alone too. #laughs. Here are a few of the reasons why I talk to myself, you will understand after this.

I turn 30 in 30 days, join and enjoy the countdown.

#30daystogo

#since1988

#sofarsogood

#may4yacho

Besides talking to myself, I also scratch my bum and I take imaginary alcoholic shots 😆.

Enjoy conversations with yourself, how do you expect others to enjoy conversations with you if you don’t- Tinashe Madamombe (2018)

When Men Stand-Up for Women

When the He4She campaign came up I was or maybe still am a typical radical feminist about that view and thought *shoot me* #laughs. But I still believe that men should just allow. Many a times women are told they cannot achieve change without the help of men…eerrrmmm, wrong. Tell me women cannot achieve change without the help of other women and I will agree. I would rather the support and vote of the majority than the minority but then again that is a story for another day.

I received these images and story via a Whatsapp group from my church [disclaimer – I have not verified these reports but the placards speak the message]. We were not allowed to discuss this issue on the group for reasons beyond most of us, but because it involved something I am passionate about (women) I was itching to say more about it. So here I am taking it to my blog.

This was the message; “Nemaziso angu aya, nhasi ndaona mashura. Was in church minutes ago. Mufundisi vepa Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, Dzivarasekwa circuit received an embarassment of a lifetime.Just as he was ready to preach varume vemu church vasimuka with placards written, “USANYENGA VAKADZI VEVANHU CHIGABA” Ambo freezer, akazowana hake maguts ekufamba achibuda coz abva anzi don’t preach hako, we will find another preacher. Ma funnies ini neimwe almost third of the church tabudawo. Ranga richanzwika shokoipapo? Problem ndiReverand here or madzimai ainyengwa acho ndodambudziko. A wasted Sunday, can’t even believe it happened right in my face”,

(directly translated this would read – with my own eyes today i witnessed a shocker. I was in church minutes ago The reverend from the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, Dzivarasekwa circuit received an embarrassment of a lifetime. Just as he was ready to preach, some men from the church stood up with placards written “DO NOT MAKE LOVE ADVANCES TOWARDS PEOPLE’S WIVES”. He froze for a while before getting the guts to walk out as he had been told not to preach as they would find another preacher. These were jokes, then about a third of the church and I also walked out. Would hearing the word have been possible after this? Is the reverend the problem or the women are the problem? A wasted Sunday, can’t even believe it happened right in my face).

First thing, it is pleasing when men start to get it and stand up against sexual harassment. These kind of issues have been swept under the carpet, especially in the church where not only do the women speak out, but even when they do, they are met with various threats and shaming from other congregants. When women do speak out, they risk being judged, being shunned by the church and it is very common that women are made to feel like they are to blame for these advances – do not mention if this woman is a widow, single mother, or a young adult. When women speak out, the issues are likely to be covered up not by the congregants alone,but also by the clergy #touch_not_the_anointed. But who stands up for the women who do not have a male figure to stand up for them? Who stands up for the widows and the single mothers? In the same breath I salute these men that were able to stand up to this abuse.

Secondly, can we talk and answer that last question asked by whoever wrote this message that was forwarded. They ask if the reverend is to blame or if the women are to blame. let’s just stop there. It is common for the first questions and the blame to be put on the victim, shifting the blame from the perpetrator. These kind of questions are amongst reasons why women do not report sexual harassment.

According to a research done by RAU, the problem of sexual harassment stems from the history of our country. Zimbabwe is a patriarchal society and women are often raised to be submissive to men even in cases where they are abused. Many feel powerless to challenge things that make them feel uncomfortable. When a woman does raise issues of sexual harassment she also risks becoming the subject of scrutiny; her dressing, her conduct, her lifestyle. She is often blamed for the behavior of the perpetrator. So sexual harassment continues to be a problem, something that we do not talk about yet it happens in our society all the time.

The other day i felt violated when one of the pastors only used words that describe the physical structures of the girls as the good on them. I remember complaining about it but after I did I started questioning my own complaint; was I being too sensitive, was I over-scrutinizing the whole incident? Was I over-imagining what had just been said? Not being allowed to discuss issues that include the story shared on the group about the reverend that was abusing women remains to show the oppression that continues not only in the church but in society. There are issues you are not allowed to challenge, once you challenge the status quo you are considered a rebel.

New Year, New Me

You honestly do not need the  first of January to change old habits or your character. This is just the begining of a different calendar month and year but change really can just happen at any time that you decide on changing. I guess it is easier to start on a clean slate together with the calendar year but how often do people keep up with this 1st of January craze?
 I miss writing and blogging most times and I have figured that if I do not physically and consciously challenge myself I begin to neglect my outlet and hence I begin to lose myself. So here goes another personal challenge for the next 31 days…get ready for a blog a day. September 2017 was a great month for me. It was as if I found purpose and fulfilled one of the reasons I was born for. The Blogtember challenge really challenged me and revived my passion for writing.

If you are a first of January person, my thoughts and opinions are that find something that excites you and do it. Something that ignites the fire in you, something that you are passionate about. Even if you are not a new year, new me person, find your passion and keep it alive. If you love collecting stamps, maybe you enjoy site seeing, or maybe it is volunteering; find it and do it.

Often society suppresses our passions by underestimating them, don’t dim your light…allow yourself to flourish.

I wish you all a blessed and prosperous 2018. May it be filled with passion and excitement.

Tears may fade, or do they really?

10 years later and I still find myself wondering how life would have been if  you were here. Stupid right? I’m meant to be over it by now, well moved on and having let go of all the memories I have.

It sometimes feels as if you were here this minute, then the next you were gone. As if you just left. I obviously would have wished you had been around longer to watch me grow, to watch  find myself and to watch me blossom.

For years I blamed myself; just maybe if you had waited for me to come and get you, maybe the accident would not have happened. If you had just agreed to wait…but destiny and fate were already at play.

I am greatful for the times we shared. I am greatful for the love you had for me. I am angry at your mistakes. I am greatful for your belief in me. Thank you for the memories we shared. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for allowing me to be me.

When fathers are present, and loving, their daughters develop a strong sense of self and are more confident in their abilities.

In order to develop positive self-esteem, a healthy father-daughter bond is key.

But when do you really get over the loss of a loved one? How many years or months does it take? 

When you Lose a Loved One to Cancer #Pinktober

Anonymous
I am a 28 year old Zimbabwean working as a receptionist. I am recently married and the last born in a family of 3, I have older sister and brother.
My mother was a book keeper. She was a mother of three and was married for over 30 years. My mother was strong willed and believed very much in God. She never doubted him.
She was diagnosed sometime in 1992 with breast cancer and won the fight, well so we thought. 10years later she was diagnosed with stomach cancer stage. She got really sick and weak kept going to the doctors and one even told her it was a mental disorder. A year or so later she just fell to the floor in pain and was rushed to hospital. A few nights before my grade 7 dance I was called to the room and my parents told me that she was given six months to live. I was young and I didn’t really know what was going on, I did not quite understand what it all meant. I guess all that hit me was that I might not get to see her again. Ever. Scary for a kid of 12. From there all I remember is growing up with the screaming from pain, vomiting and ups and downs. Up and downs from when she would be dancing to her favourite song to where she couldn’t get out of bed. From when we would sit as a family and have a meal to when she just couldn’t eat anymore.
It was the hardest, most painful and amazing journey of my life. To see someone you love dying in front of you and not be able to do anything to help them. She pushed me away so I wouldn’t get hurt but I saw more from the outside than they did from the inside. In a way my child hood was taken away from me. All the same, I wouldn’t be the women I am without seeing her be as strong, as happy and as grateful as she was for every day she had to live. It never broke her nor did cancer ever rule her life. She became close with God and together they went through this. I will never understand it but I will always admire everything I saw in her.
My family has cancer in both sides but mostly on my mother’s side. Her dad died of cancer, so did her brother. My mother and then my cousin (mom’s brother’s child) also died of cancer. I have never been tested and fear taking the chance of getting tested.
During this difficult time I was going through I lost almost every friend I had but one. Some of my family (uncles and cousins) that had nothing to do with my mother and some that my mother didn’t like craved the attention of someone in there family being dead. The same people looked forward to what belongings of hers they could get. It was a challenge we faced alone with my siblings. No one could understand nor did they know what to say so they distanced themselves from the unknown so as to protect themselves I am sure.
My resilience and strength came from the fight my mother put up; from her attitude of ‘life is what you make it’ and her trust in God which she had all the way to the end. Something else that got me through this journey is my belief in God and believing that he had a reason for everything, through to this day. I hated and I was angry. I couldn’t understand why us, why me; what did we do wrong? Were we cursed? Are we cursed? Did God think we were not good enough for him to let us go through everything we did? These were all the questions I had, and the emotions I felt.
The last thing is what message would I give to other women that maybe going through a similar journey? Maybe you have just found out that someone close to you has cancer, or maybe you are living with a loved one who has been diagnosed with cancer, or you have lost a loved one to cancer. Don’t worry about how everyone thinks you should handle this do it your way go through this your way. If you have cancer fight but enjoy life and don’t forget that living for tomorrow is not more important then enjoying today. That goes for those watching a loved one with cancer dying too. Once they are gone it’s a whole different story, nothing is the same and you can’t wish them back-so don’t run or hide from this. Be together, embrace each other’s company, talk about everything, live as much as life together gives you. You will miss them at your wedding and miss them through everything else. Losing them is hard and the memories of watching them die stays with you. It’s what you do with that that matters. Let their death be a reminder that you come from a strong family and do your best to be happy as they live on within you. There is probably not much more I can say because it’s different for everyone. JUST REMEMBER YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It helps to increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of the disease. It is also important to document local stories of women’s journeys in this fight. Very often we read about the journey of women in another country, which at times sounds foreign. 

This series of local stories from local women aims at encouraging other women that may be going through a similar journey and also to encourage young women to get screened early, as early detection saves lives. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 1.38 million new cases and 458 000 deaths from breast cancer each year (IARC Globocan, 2008). Breast cancer is by far the most common cancer in women worldwide, both in developed and developing countries. currently there is not sufficient knowledge on the causes of breast cancer, therefore, early detection of the dieses remains the cornerstoneof breast cancer control. When breast cancer is detected early, and in adequate diagnosis and treatment are available, there is a good chance that breast cancer can be cured.

It is Finished #Blogtember

Day 30 of 30. I guess I can call myself a blogger now right? 

It has been a great journey. Not only have I enjoyed the tough experience but it has also reaffirmed that I enjoy writing, especially documenting women’s stories. Reading from other bloggers also opened my mind to different ways of thinking. Being part of the bloggers chat group introduced me to a space of respect and good conversation. Nothing is more enjoyable than knowing you can share your views and opinions freely with no judgement and also having an open minded conversation.

Wait…My blog followers and readership also increased. Woop woop. The scariest thing when you share what you have written is having to face the criticism. Not everyone enjoys hearing a different pespective. The joys of not agreeing with what someone else thinks is the respect that comes with it. Knowing you can share your thoughts and opinions but having people that can respect the difference in thoughts is a healthy environment. 
Wow, add the role of my accountability partner. I had days I did not want to blog but he would not let me. I’d often get the “we are waiting for today’s read”. I’d hear that more than I’d have wanted to. But it got me writing. 

What next? October  is Breast Cancer Awareness month and I will be documenting stories from young women cancer survivors, those who have cancer and those that have taken care of loved ones with cancer or those that have lost a loved one to cancer. The voice of young women is important to document in history (herstory), not only for later reference but because these stories may help someone going through the same or a similar experience. Watch the blog and other spaces for these and other stories.