Lately, I’ve been writing what I’m now calling ‘As I retire to bed diaries’ on Facebook. I guess it’s my own way of finding what I celebrate daily. There’s too much stuff going on around me such that it becomes easier to forget the good stuff that make me grateful for each day, that make me expectant for each the new day. I discovered today that I have been running away from blogging yet I’ve somehow started it on Facebook. So here goes today`s entry-
Finding and following one`s passion is a fulfilling point in one`s life. However, it seems as if when one finds this passion that’s when life gets tougher. My advice today is simple-
When you find that following your passion is some disillusion, ask yourself where your passion lies? – in the doing or in the aftermath?
I find that my passion lies in the people whom I impact! The doing itself can be so traumatic, painful and frustrating that I often question why I even bother. However, hearing from a fellow passion follower, from a young woman I shared a heart to heart with, a big sister I’ve hugged, another sister I’ve cried to…just knowing that someone is managing to smile and believe in the goodness of the world despite all the pain, hurt, trauma and discouragement they’ve faced is more than enough to make me wanna go back and fight one more day for what I believe.
I’ve been called all sorts of names, labelled and vilified. Some people fear me and avoid me. Others fear me such that they resort to telling tales about me. My sexuality has come under attack and scrutiny and attack, never mind the ridiculous speculation. I’ve met ppl who have turned out not to be the sisters I initially thought they would be. I’ve met ppl who’ve turned out to be chancers who thought they were too ‘masculine’ for me to ‘resist’!!
But in all this, I’ve met women who’ve proved to be fellow kindred spirits. I’ve met men who are equally passionate about this cause to end violence against women! I’ve developed a thick skin and a tough heart. I’ve developed friendships that will span my own lifetime and beyond.
I am grateful for the privilege I have of impacting one woman at a time. When it gets overwhelming I find that one memory that reminds me why it’s all worth it. When fellow kindred spirits reach out to me and express willingness to create a synergy, I am encouraged that this war IS coming to an end.
Violence Against Women isn’t only physical- the beatings, the rape, the inappropriate touches. It’s also psychological and emotional- the insults, the catwhistles, the inappropriate words, the berating words, the attack on her self esteem, the subtle and also obvious threats to her, her children, her family- sisters, brothers.
It’s also economic- the threat with loss of her source of livelihood, the threat that the family bread winner will be unable to provide anymore, the threat that if she earns more than her husband/spouse she’ll emasculate him, the threat that if she goes into formal employment she’ll attack male attention and thus destroy her marriage.
It’s religious and cultural- she must be submissive to her husband and any man she encounters despite her own feelings regarding their conduct. She must die to her fleshly/carnal needs lest she be possessed of the devil/loose/cheap/whorish. She must be obedient to every ‘instruction’ from the man of God/man of the cloth/religious leader. She must take instruction from the males because she’s only better than a child in that she gives birth to children! The woman must know hop place at all times and stick to it. The woman is responsible for any wrongdoing that ‘her man’ does.
Violence against women is a carefully orchestrated reality whereby every individual plays their part like the 226member symphony it is. Sadly, women play a crucial role in it as we often are the gate keepers of patriarchy and act as social and cultural checks on one another. It is us who are responsible for grooming the next ‘befitting’ women for posterity. It is us who teach one another what ‘being a proper woman/wife/spouse’ is. It is us who monitor one another, ensuring that we are all keeping in line with ‘societal/cultural/religious’ expectations. This is the sad reality.
However, I retire to bed tonight knowing full well that women are stepping up and speaking out. We are taking our cultures, regions and societies to task. Slowly but surely the culture of male impunity is coming to an end. Slowly but surely, women are stepping up and speaking out against gender based violence. We are engaging men and women from across the religious, political, cultural and socio-economic divides in this fight. Generations are reaching out to one another and coming together in this fight.
I sleep easy tonight knowing that each one of us is making a huge difference in our own little corners. This is a collective effort and every little victory counts. I retire to bed tonight knowing that the world is becoming safer for us day by day.