My words had an impact

Jane Frances Mufua
Posted May 28, 2016 from Cameroon

For the last one month, I have been engaged in a discussion on rape in an egroup belonging to the Kom Community –one of the principal ethnic groups in the northwest region of Cameroon. Though a great kingdom, it is embed in Patriarchy. The common belief is that women are to be seen and not to be heard and most harmful practices that debase women are simply labeled as tradition.

Amongst the several forms of violence against women that many in my community condone with, I will like to talk about rape and how men including women feel about it from the experience I lived in our egroup discussion.

It all started when a community member call Emma drew the attention of the rest of the community that she had been sexually harassed by another member Bobe T. Emma narrated her story about her bad she felt and how much she is still hurting three years (since 2013) after the incident took place. She ended by cautioning the rest of the women to be very cautious with Bobe T because he had sexually abused many other ladies who decided to stay quiet out of shame or fear. I don’t know if Emma’s allegation against Bobe T is true or false because there is need for investigations to prove the accused guilty.

What really troubled me about Emma’s story was the reaction of most of the men in the forum who think or believe that it is a woman’s fault to be raped. Out of 70 emails that were posted in relation to this rape allegation, (60) mails came from men who defended Bobe T. Given Emma’s claimed that the incident happened in Bobe T’s house, the men were quick to conclude she had come to Bobe T’s house to seduce him. The traditional questions that would only help to victimized the victim in the case of rape in my community were recurred. Famous amongst them were questions like ‘what was she doing in Bobe T’s house alone’ What was this girl/ woman doing in the home of a married man in the absence of his wife? Pretentiously seducing this guy?. Others came in with comments like ‘Come on lady, this man is just a man like any other man. This is no news like seriously. Guys will always try their luck .It doesn't mean we should make blablabla about it. Anyway, thanks for keeping the house warm with this.lol’

I was also very disappointed that only five women in this community joined in the discussion. Amongst the women who reacted, two cautioned Emma to let it go and to stop disgracing herself and the rest of the female folk in an egroup with thousands of readers. Two other women: myself and another sister reacted by stating clearly that there is ‘No Justification for Rape’. Rape is wrong and is punishable by law. We called on all the women to speak out against rape. The strongest weapon we have are our collective voices to ‘ name and shame rapist’.

It has been a few weeks that I contributed in this discussion. Little did I know that the information I was passing through could have an impact in someone’s life. Early this week, I received two clients in my office who have been victims of rape. Although they both had no intentions of taking up their cases to press for charges against their rapist, they needed someone who could listen to them without being judgmental. I am glad I provided an opportunity for these women to unburden themselves of pain and emotions that had linger for so long because they had no one to trust. I was able to reach out to them just with the words ‘There is no justification for Rape’ I am glad I did and it had an impact in these women’s lives.

Comments 23

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Damilola Fasoranti
May 28, 2016
May 28, 2016

Dear Jane,

Thank you for speaking up and your single action has started helping others to speak up.

Rape only happens because someone is a Rapist. There is no other justification for such inhumane habit. And we all have to stand to create a better, sane and safe community with women and children (boys and girls).

I am certain that you've created something worthwhile that will lead to positive social change in that community.

Keep up your awesome work.

Hearty cheers, Fasoranti.

Jane Frances Mufua
May 28, 2016
May 28, 2016

. I am optimistic that  much can be done just by speaking out. Thanks Fasoranti for your encouraging words.

Ese Ajuyah
May 28, 2016
May 28, 2016

Dear Jane,

This the reality of many women in Sub Saharan Africa where rapes go on in silence. So many women do not speak up because of the shame attached to it.  Many cant access help and remain silent thus bearing the burden and hurt associated with the menace alone.

Thank you for speaking up the change always begins with breaking the silence.

Cheers Ese

Jane Frances Mufua
May 28, 2016
May 28, 2016

Thanks Ese. Once we begin breaking the silence many survivors will feel confident to speak out. I know we are together in this.

helen.ng
May 29, 2016
May 29, 2016

Hello Jane,

Thank you for sharing your experience with the community. I commend you especially for your bravery in standing up, despite the majority defending the other side of this issue. Like you said, although the allegations may or may not be true, we still cannot allow such opinions about the scenario to simply pass by without fighting them. Rape is never the victim's fault and should not be pinned on them. Rather, we should focus on the important issue at hand - preventing rape, speaking up about rape, and providing support for victims. And thank you for doing just that.

With kindest regards,

Helen Ng

Jane Frances Mufua
May 30, 2016
May 30, 2016

I agree with you Helen we have to focus on the important issue -prevent rape by speaking out and providing support for the victim who is often more victimised like in the case of my community. Thanks for inspiring me more with your words.

annadassa
May 29, 2016
May 29, 2016

Dear Jane,

You touched me with this story! I was able to feel the pain and shame while reading. The sinner in most of cases try to throw their sin on others without taking any responsibility. But you stood up for the victim. Thank you for having a listening ear for your people. I'ts hard to find one person with a listening ear.

Thanks for being a loving sister!

Grace & Peace,

Annadassa

Jane Frances Mufua
May 30, 2016
May 30, 2016

Thank you Annadassa. We have to be our sister's keeper. I am really glad I was able to make an impact.

annadassa
Jun 01, 2016
Jun 01, 2016

You are very welcome Jane!

Grace and Peace,

Annadassa

nadine4hope
May 29, 2016
May 29, 2016

Dear Jane,

This story just goes to show the power of a listening ear.

It is unsettling to hear that Emma and many other women in Cameroon have to suffer in silence about their sexual abuse and live in fear of being blamed, criticised and ousted in their community.

By simply speaking out in your group, you have started a movement. A movement of support and understanding that encourages more women to speak up and in turn promotes better understanding to all that rape is not acceptable under any circumstance and perpetrators should be held accountable for their actions.

Thank you for your actions.

Nadine

Jane Frances Mufua
May 30, 2016
May 30, 2016

Dear Nadine,

Thank you for your encouraging words.

Jane Frances

Laetitia Shindano
Jun 02, 2016
Jun 02, 2016

Chere Jeanne

Il faut amener les femmes et les filles de ton milieu à denoncer les  violences  sexuelles et celles basees sur le genre dont elles sont victimes de la part des hommes afin que ces actes soient bannis dans ta communaute. Le silence encourage  les auteurs et l'impunite de ces derniers. 

Courage car la travail  de changement  de mentalites des membres de la communaute ou  le pouvoir de l'homme est induscutable, la presence des coutumes retrogrades,est une tache vraiment  ardue.

Je suis prete a partager avec toi mon experience sur cette question .

A te lire bientot

Laetitia

Jane Frances Mufua
Jun 03, 2016
Jun 03, 2016

Je vous remercie. Nous sommes ensemble dans ce combat.  

Jane Frances

PeaceBStill_RebeccaM
Jun 04, 2016
Jun 04, 2016

I've been a rape victim myself when I was a young teenager (naive and cornered with no way to escape my attacker) so I completely agree that "there's no justification for rape" and I hope greater attention can be brought to this type of crime so that women all over the world can stop being violated in this way just because they are women....I've never heard of a man being raped by a woman.

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Jun 10, 2016
Jun 10, 2016

dear Jane

Thanks for starting the conversation within that egroup. My dear mentality change is the level where we are within our community. getting victims to speak up with being victimised is the toughest. I particularly like the fact that you stood up for the girl despise the show of patriachy. I am sure two more of such moves will set the fire burning

Jane Frances Mufua
Jun 12, 2016
Jun 12, 2016

Thanks for your comments. We have to keep shouting at the top of our voices that rape is wrong.

Ooreofeoluwa
Jun 12, 2016
Jun 12, 2016

Thanks Jane for this, The truth is that we should all rise up to the responsibility of been a voice to the victim of rape and to show them we truly care and we are able to love them even in the mess they may seems to find themselves.Also write up like this encourage the ladies and women out there that there are people that truly cares.

Jane Frances Mufua
Jun 13, 2016
Jun 13, 2016

I appreciate your encouraging words. Thank you.

Feka
Jun 15, 2016
Jun 15, 2016

Jane, I am also from Kom and I know how tradition is strong there. Rape is no joke and must be taken seriously. I also work with young girls through my club in school and when those of them who are rape victims, narrate their stories, I begin to ask how a 5 year old child can seduce a 20 or more year old male. Keep preaching wainnawhom!

Jane Frances Mufua
Jun 15, 2016
Jun 15, 2016

Thank you my dear sister. I will certainly connect with you backstage and we would work together as a team to support our sisters who are victims of this hideous crime.

ayongn+ wainnawhom

Tamarack Verrall
Jun 29, 2016
Jun 29, 2016

Dear Jane,

Your story gives such a powerful example of what one woman can do by having the courage to make the powerful statement, that "There is no justification for Rape". With your words you have already encouraged women coming forward for support from you, and left all those hearing your message with new ground to stand on. The messages of agreement and support flowing in here from WorldPulse members show how visionary and powerful we are becoming, working collectively to change the mindset that any form of violence against women is completely unacceptable. I hope you feel surrounded by support as you make inroads to women who have never heard such support.

In sisterhood,

Tam

Obisakin Busayo
Jun 29, 2016
Jun 29, 2016

Dear Jane,

Thank you so much for your words on this matter. The silence on rape has made the cases to be on the increase. If we continue to break the silence and justice is given to victims, rape cases would be so minimal. Thank you for the good work you are doing.

Love

Busayo

Avera
Jul 21, 2016
Jul 21, 2016

Hello Jane,

RAPE IS BAD!  THERE SHOULDN'T BE ANY JUSTIFICATION FOR RAPE!  CULPRITS MUST BE PUNISHED! 

You see achieved and well respected men in all walks of life being accused by streams of women of rape; even priests.

   A million thanks for starting an egroup to discuss such a taboo subject. Rape is something  that stays with the victim forever. It happens all over the world. I happened to have attended an all women conference in California, USA. One of the ladies (an artist) who gave an address, shared her story how she was raped as a child(40 years earlier). As she spoke, it seemed it had just happened.  

This therefore is not something to play with.  Men should learn to zip it up and when a woman says NO, she means NO.

 Hey men, stay clear even if the woman is half naked, you have no right whatsoever to go close least talking of touching her.

Jane, I hope the responses won't discourage you to continue the amazing work.

Regards,

Avera