Every day I condemn myself for not being able to help her .Tragedy fell and as she was sleeping on the floor -the man that her mother brought home that evening got off the bed and raped her. She was drunk and in the spin of time her daughter became prey to some night predator. I see the vision, the images so close I weep at times. The voice of this stranger haunts me and within the background I hear her groans. It is a shame that even after hearing about such an incident I remained quite because I lacked vivid evidence. At least I could have dug information in order to save a soul.
In Africa, across Europe and within Asia women and girls are victims to human trafficking, femicide and intimate partner violence. Gender based violence is a global reality. It is a collective responsibility to stop child abuse; date rape and child marriage. Sexual assault is still on the peak because of people like me -individuals that mind their own business and are self-centered. It was until a spirit of advocacy birthed inside me and I became an activist to a movement, ‘Leave No One Behind: End violence against Women and Girls.’
Being part of a team that seeks to defend women and girls, I observed how as women we have been raised to be conservative and never assertive even with issues that affect our well-being. In conversations about Sexual Reproductive Health most women discarded need to negotiate for safer sex. Patriarchy has taught women to take orders never question the actions of men, whether they are being beaten or attacked verbally.
By reflecting on shared experiences women and girls vowed to be each other‘s watch dog through a sisters’ keeper oath. We took advantage of social gatherings to raise awareness on issues that affect women and girls. This was through music festivals and church congregations. Reality is men are beginning to understand the dynamics of womanhood and are partnering to stop violence against women and girls. To be sure with continuous efforts and community partnership we will end Gender Based Violence.
By Amanda Makombe