Her Sister's Keeper

Farisai
Posted November 27, 2018 from Zimbabwe

Women’s Rights work can at times be heartbreaking and draining. Every day we wake up to a world that has figured out new ways to victimise and torture women and girls. We encounter headlines about murder, rape and other atrocities committed against our sex. When we go on social media and try to engage our tweets and Facebook posts are met with misogynistic responses. It is very easy to end up burnt out and hopeless.  How do we keep going? What renews our strength? The stories of sisterhood and solidarity we encounter in this bleak landscape.

I had the privilege of coming across one such story two weeks ago. In the course of my work, I encountered young activists ranging from 15-17 years of age. They represent their peers as a part of a junior council in a small town in Zimbabwe. One of them, a 15 year old girl is currently threatened by the possibility of being married off by her family to a 72 year old relative who lost his wife. The wife was this young lady’s aunt, who allegedly told her husband to marry her niece after her death. Trapped in a religion that condones the marrying off underage girls, the young girl’s family is encouraging the arrangement. They consider her refusal to be in defiance of the “laws of God”. The young lady was absent from school and her junior council meeting for weeks as her family put pressure on her to quit school and marry her “husband”.  Finally she made it to a friend’s house and related her sad tale. The friend who is a fellow junior councilor has taken it upon herself to rescue her friend from this situation. In a time where even her home is not a safe space, she has found refuge with her friend’s family. The friend finally brought the story to my attention and in turn a women’s organisation in Harare has offered the girl shelter and legal assistance.

I cannot help but be impressed by the fierce way the 15 year old defends her friend. The family has threatened the girl and asked her to stay out of family matters, but she remains resolute. She has appointed herself as her sister’s keeper. It is heartbreaking that mere children have to learn to fight at such a tender age; however it is refreshing to see that we are raising a generation that is willing to fight for each other.  Coming from a culture that continues to silence the voices of women it is good to have a generation that refuses to be silenced.

As we all come together to fight for our young friend, my belief in sisterhood is renewed. My message to fellow sisters during these 16 Days of activism against Gender Based Violence is, as they spread hate let’s fight on in the spirit of love. We are indeed our sisters’ keepers so let’s continue to stand up for other women. I’m proud to say a 15 year old reminded me of the commitment to be my sister’s keeper.

This story was submitted in response to What Gives You Hope?.

Comments 13

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Ngala Nadege
Nov 27, 2018
Nov 27, 2018

Waow !!! So touching .thanks for sharing

Beth Lacey
Nov 27, 2018
Nov 27, 2018

Yes, we all need to stand up for each other. Great story to read.
Beth

Lisbeth
Nov 27, 2018
Nov 27, 2018

Dear sister,
Thanks for sharing your story with us. It time every girl child stand up for herself or other family members.

The battle is not easy but it shall be well soon for every girl child. I have hope towards this dream.

Kind regards
Lizzy

Dawn Arteaga
Nov 27, 2018
Nov 27, 2018

Wow! Yet more evidence that the youngest generation today is prepared to turn our world over on its head - and for the better. Thank you for sharing this example of a fierce 15 year old, willing to stand up to all the "powerful" people in her world. Your story gives me hope!

Jill Langhus
Nov 28, 2018
Nov 28, 2018

Hi Farisai,

OMG. Your story has made my day. I have to share this on my social media pages. How awesome is this!!! A lot of times we hear stories of girls and boys bullying each other, vying for popularity, but not standing up for their friend. I LOVE this so much. I hope this is definitely the new trend for girls and women alike. I can see why this has given you hope. It has given me hope, too! Thanks so much for sharing.

Looking forward to seeing more stories from you. Good luck with your story submission!

Theresa Takafuma
Nov 28, 2018
Nov 28, 2018

Dear Farisai
What a touching story. This feels like a breath of fresh air. You have no idea how happy this has made me, especially knowing it's a story from my country. I hope our little sister continues to get help. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.
Lots of love

Theresa

Adanna
Nov 28, 2018
Nov 28, 2018

Dear Farisai,

This is quite inspiring! I am happy to read that a 15 year old could stand up for herself regardless of the pressure from family.

Thank you for sharing and I do hope that this story will inspire lots of other young girls who are also facing similar issues.

Love,
Adanna

Tarke Edith
Nov 30, 2018
Nov 30, 2018

Hi sis
Thanks for sharing

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 01, 2018
Dec 01, 2018

Hi Farisai,

This is a lot to stand up to, and it is so wonderful to read how one friend has made freedom possible, and stood up to "old" ways that are still being pushed as the way it has to be. How great that this act has become a circle of support. We are challenging all laws that cause lack of freedom to choose our lives, and it is so good to read about young women taking control and redefining the way forward.
To continued success toward all kinds of freedom,
Tam

Olubee
Dec 02, 2018
Dec 02, 2018

Dear Sis,
Thanks for sharing these beautiful piece with us.Let keeping fight for our right,lets continue to say NO to Gender based violence

much love

ARREY- ECHI
Dec 04, 2018
Dec 04, 2018

Wow! I had chills reading this. I could picture the defiance of these 15years old, refusing to bow down to a culture which uses religion to suppress and silence women. God speed to the young ladies determined to fight for each other and I agree, may these generation's women not be cowered with fear!
Thank you for sharing what brings you hope.

All the best with your submission.

SanPatagonia
Dec 09, 2018
Dec 09, 2018

Hi Farisai... just loved your posting! So accurate and timing. "We are raising a generation that is willing to fight for each other"--- yes!!! And they're taking paths we've walked alone for too long, leading the way for us all.
You're right - we have the priviledge to find their inspiring stories along the way. They are part of a new kind of strength.
Thanks for sharing your voice!

Sister Farisai,
Indeed in this what seems to be a dark world this is a story to inspire, ignite hope and motivate us to stand together in defence of our sisters and friends and strangers when it comes to justice and inclusion.