Be thy sister's keeper
As a nation we must all have the idea of supporting, protecting and empowering girls and women. It's all about standing for women's rights and promoting gender equality in order to keep our sisters and mothers safe. Since men are born with more physical power over women, men are taking advantage to abuse women. Gender based violence is happening daily both privately and in public. Our mothers and sisters are abused in the name of marriage and relationships.
Some of our parents are still having the culture that girls are born to be brides and only boys should access education so that they can be able to look after the family. Girls are raised as housewives as they are raised being taught wife duties. By the time they think they are able to meet wife duties they decide to get married at a tender age. Nowadays there is no men to trust, even parents rape their own kids and out of fear the children do not report.
By this, girls think the only way to run out of abuse is to get married. In the marriage women depend on men, since they do not have any fund raising skills. By this time girls are not equipped with husband needs and sexual reproductive health rights education. Most men are taking advantage of this and physically, psychologically and sexually abuse women. These women in abusive marriages they give birth to many kids in a short period of time. Their kids do not go to school because the parents cannot afford the fees. Many kids suffer malnutrition and the cases of death increases. The men begin to date out of marriage and women are always heartbroken. The women become the blame for all this.
Females normalise abuse because they are living in it from the day they are born. Women decide to stay in abusive marriage because:
- They want to keep the marriage
- They do not want a divorcee reputation
- They think no one will love them after
- They think they can't survive without a man
- They think they have nowhere to go with the kids and no one will take care of the children.
- They think that's what women's life should be
Before women report an abusive case, they think 'what will my husband's family say about me?' and 'who will be left to look after the kids?'. Depression and heartbreak become the best friend of women and for some, they decide on suicide. Not knowing they still have a long way to go with their lives.
In school, gender based violence is happening, women are abused according to their dressing and some are tolerating abuse from lecturers because they do not want to fail the exams. Due to this the spread of sexually transmitted diseases is increasing daily and some are leaving school before they finish their courses. Thus they won't be able to fulfil their dreams. Now is the time to make a change, let's keep our sisters safe.
Let's protect our sisters early before they make the wrong decision.
Let's keep girls in school, education is the best security.
Let's keep girls in nhangas, a safe space for girls where we have intergenerational conversations about girls' protection and sexual reproductive health rights for girls, to achieve the best they can.
Let's provide education about gender equality to boys and parents.
Let's report all cases of abuse that we are seeing in our community.
Let's keep our mothers and sisters safe.
Let's empower girls and women economically by providing them with technical skills so they make their own money.
Let's provide sexual health education, social empowerment, economic strengthening and self defence to women.
Let's include women in decision making processes at leadership level. Women are leaders of change, they bring different perspectives and approaches to a situation.
Let's make a change through women empowerment.
My name is Loice Njenge, I am 21 years old. I live at Simba village in Mashonaland Central, Shamva. I am a game changer from Rozaria Memorial Trust where I am a young mentor at a community nhanga. Nhanga is a safe space for girls where we have intergenerational conversations about girls protection and sexual reproductive health rights. I am an African Women Leaders Network entrepreneur and Mashonaland Central member where I do bag weaving and detergent making. I am a member of Girls and Goals where we use sports, arts and culture to empower girls. I am studying a diploma in telecommunication engineering at Telone learning Centre.