Somebody please believe me #16days

A woman in Lagos protests against underage marriages in Nigeria.

(Pic courtesy of theguardian.com)

I liked the idea of school, the thought of reading, writing, speaking and learning. Opening my mind and world to a whole new realm.  “I am going to be somebody one day. No longer will my family have to live in poverty wondering about where the next meal will come from.”

Today though, today I hate school, I loathe it.  My teacher Mr. Shabakanga, talks and touches me inappropriately. He said that I shouldn’t tell anyone. That it was the way of life and a heavy part of learning. He continued to do this, hurting me and I finally could not take it anymore. The pain was unbearable; it was time to tell somebody. I decided to tell my mother, then my sister. I tried telling my father but he said that it was my fault that this had happened. That I had tempted my teacher. My own father told me this. Can you believe that? He says it’s okay, society says it’s okay. We go to the courts. I feel ashamed. They keep asking me such dehumanizing questions. Questions such as, ‘how sure are you it is rape?’ What do you mean by how sure am I? How do you expect me to speak up in public again if you will shame me for this and make me relive this? Shouldn’t I feel safe when I decide to speak? Shouldn’t the society protect me? Shouldn’t my teacher who abused me in school pay for this? Why is the law so lenient on him when he has stripped me of my dignity, my innocence, my security, my body, and my rights?  Somebody please believe me.

Dear world,

When I tell you that it is my dress and it is my choice, please believe me. It is not just about this fabric that I wear but about how I feel when I wear it. You have told me that in society I have to listen to what you say. Isn’t listening a two way street? Please listen to me, this discussion is not about the pieces of clothing that I choose to adorn myself with. It’s about you acknowledging that when it comes to my body, it is my dignity. That you should not be violent towards me, harass me because of who I am, a woman.

Dear world,

I was slapped today because I had not worn a scarf to cover my head. My mother tells me that I am lucky because the neighbour’s daughter got her ear cut off. I started to thank my God because today, I was slapped and did not have my ear cut off.

Dear World,

I was studying for my exams when I was kidnapped. I was scared, the community had told us that we were not safe but our fathers and mothers tried to tell the government but they did nothing. There were soldiers, 15 of them, very brave I must admit. Just as brave as us who decided to stay in school despite the increasing insecurity in the area. And then it happened, they came and the government was nowhere to be seen. We waited one day, two days, three days, six months, and now 8 months. Why are you taking my safety and security as a light issue? Isn’t it my right to feel safe? I was trying to build my future, realize my goals. But no they came and took us. And you just stood there watching. Today I am tired, I am scared, I am weary from carrying a child in me. I’m almost due for delivery, I did not plan on this. My crime was being female, seeking an education. You have not in any way shown any interest in trying to save me. What you say that you have done is not enough. I feel like if it were my brothers, you would have responded quicker, with more urgency. Day and night, I still wait for the day that you will come and rescue me. Please believe me; I want to go back to my family, back to school.

Dear world,

I would like to know that it is okay for me to dream big, to envision my role in society. That society sees me as a human with needs and acknowledges my input. That I am not just an asset to make money from. I do not want to be a bride. You sell me for $12 and my family is helpless, they can only agree to this. My aunt tried to oppose this, her friends too, but you decided to put her in harms way. You called them prostitutes. I believe that it is my right to choose who I wish to spend the rest of my life with. Marriage before the age of 18 is a violation. If anything, the international convention on children’s rights says so. You signed this and agreed to it.

Dear world,

Female Genital Mutilation is not a right of passage. Exposing me to death is in no way a right. Exposing me to child bearing inability is not a right. I still remember that day, mother and auntie grabbed my legs trying to pull them apart. I tried to resist but I lost the battle. Then came the first slash, I bled and bled, I was told not to cry that I would shame my family if I did. But the pain was unbearable and so I lost consciousness. I woke up to such excruciating pain; I could not go to the bathroom without wanting to kill myself. My mother told me, “welcome to adulthood.” Is adulthood pain? Because I do not want it. Let me be a child. Please believe me.

Dear world,

I want to tell you so much more, please believe me when I tell you this.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. FEMNET
    Dec 10, 2014 @ 08:24:48

    Reblogged this on FEMNET.

    Like

    Reply

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