Wow! I never imagined I would make it to the final assignment at all! I thought I was whiling away idle time and boredom as I registered into the World Pulse VOF program. At first I settled on just browsing through the membership directory, viewing profiles and adding names to my "community". I was having fun reading names I could not pronounce... until one testimony led me to another. I found myself staring at my own bleeding heart and tugging at my own ailing soul at one point and then getting stuck to a gory and heinous story of a victim or a witness the next instant. Little did I realize I got addicted to World Pulse. Every time a new assignment is opened, I worked on my own as fast as I could so that I could go about reading more and more testimonies without being bothered or pressured!
The past 4 weeks at World Pulse had been a roller-coaster journey for me ... hope alternating with despair! Those odd times when I soar off into the clouds with optimism and think we will make it in time ... and those other times when I could pine away and cringe with sheer anger, pain and disillusionment! When I read Halima's testimony on her own circumcision and the terrifying reality of Female Genital Mutilation in Africa - with 3 million women at risk annually, and 89% of Sudanese women circumcised ... and the gory details on dowry murders and female genocide in India from Rita Banerji's 50MM campaign ... and the "breast ironing/fixing" still being practiced in Cameroon by Shekina ... Good Heavens, how could humanity go on this way to this day? Well, I've heard bits and pieces of these types of unspeakable ruthlessness to women in the world news, but I never viewed it the way they are being related here by the women victims and witnesses themselves! I always believed these were isolated cases happening in some backward and illiterate community!!!! Why has the world not exploded into an uproar for justice and emancipation all this time?!!! World Pulse should make it to its highest ideals! We have to break through anything, everything - for all it's worth, for whatever it's worth - for the whole of womanhood past, present and will be!!! We have started, we have bonded ... all that is needed to be done is to get going!
In my country, some of the indigenous tribes practice the "dowry" system until now. But it's the men who offer the dowry to women for marriage. There are crimes committed on raising the dowry, of course - like cattle rustling or highway robbery, but these are isolated cases. And we Filipino women are also "circumcised" - but it is when our lower earlobes are pricked by a needle so we can wear our earrings (well, many Filipino men are wearing earrings, too - as an "artistic' expression). As to breast ironing/fixing ... that's something so horrifyingly strange to me! And female genocide!!! How could a people banish the very source of humanity - motherhood?!!! It's real unthinkable! Men and women exist because they are sons and daughters of a WOMAN!!!! How could a society imagine a future generation without a woman?!!!!! Don't they realize that a people without women ceases to become a race?!!!! They're gonna fizz it out somewhere and they are no more!!!!!
Whew, I got an overload of conscience-striking realities of the piteous plights of my sisters all over the world in just 4 weeks! And I thought I was just whiling away my boredom!
World Pulse, women, sisters ... my never ending gratitude!!! I could not have gone this far without the amazing way we interact with each other! It could have been less encouraging without the testimonies of real people pouring their hearts and exposing their souls around here! I know I will never ever have a chance to meet most of you in person in my entire life .. but a million thanks for making me see my own being through the heart and soul of a bigger me! Exchanging notes, sharing experiences, expressing views ... wow, that was real amazing!
Again, a million and one thanks to all of you from the deepest sensitivity of my being...!!!! I am right here ... I know as you know, I understand as you understand ... and I care as you care...
Always, Emie Zozobrado