Calling for a Ceasefire to the World`s Longest War:Violence against Women

Leina
Posted September 29, 2018

"My breasts developed when I was barely 10 years old. I was the only one among my mates with breasts.My mom could not afford a bra for me,so I went around with my breasts dancing from left to right when I walked,ran or played with my friends.I  was mocked by boys and girls in my neighborhood and in school. Every time I went to fetch water from the stream, the boys will throw unripe mangoes at me and call me “Mami bobi”,referring to my breasts.One day,while I was fetching water alone in the stream which was surrounded by a bush with  raffia palm trees, one of the boys jumped on me and forced himself into me,taking away my virginity. That is the day I died.I am moving about like a normal woman but inside, I am dead.I went home that day straight into the kitchen and warmed the grinding stone on the fire and began pressing my breast.I did that every night for months with the hope that they will disappear and I will never have to be molested or mocked by anyone again.Instead of disappearing they grew bigger but this left side became flat due to burns.It itches and oozes a clear liquid,that is why I came here to be examined.What if  your doctors tell me I have cancer?Will I ever forgive myself?In trying to solve a temporal problem,I created a permanent one.It`s been 12 years since then but I have never known peace,I don`t feel secure.I always feel like someone will attack me again.''

Edna 27 years old.(Real names withheld for privacy),Participant,Gender Danger`s Women  Health Fair,Santa,Northwest Region Cameroon,May 2018

 

Penned above, is one of the touching stories I listened to during  one of our expeditions against breast ironing in Cameroon early this year. After we finished our  talk on breast ironing, many of the women walked up to me and recounted their experiences so far as the practice is concerned.A common cry among them was the lack of a sense of security.The feeling of not being enough,of shame,guilt and fear of the unknown.When you are told that the natural state of your body is a nectar to rapists,the burden of rape ceases  to be that of the perpetrator and lies on the shoulder of the victim or potential victim, who lives in fear of the unknown.Mothers are forced to go the extra mile by pounding away the breasts of their daughters in order to keep them safe from predators.This is insecurity at its best!Security to me therefore refers to world that is safe for women and girls.One which is void of fears of attack and  the absence of justice.Definitely not the world we live in today.

Everywhere in the world,  if anyone breaks into a private space  and takes away property,they would be prosecuted  for trespassing and theft. Unfortunately, when a woman`s body is violated in the same way,she is blamed,shamed,labelled  a liar and a whore then asked to keep quiet. Online,offline,domestic,corporate,name any sector, there are always customized and culturally acceptable methods of inflicting emotional and physical  pain on women.The greatest insecurity lies in the fact that perpetrators are often not brought to book and in some cases live under the same roof with the women.Sadly,some of the worse crimes against women are committed by other women in the name of  tradition and culture.(See video above)If a sheep cannot find safety in the midst of other sheep ,why blame the wolf?Culture in most parts of the world says women are to be seen and not heard. They have to internalize the pain and keep living in fear of the next attack.

Across the globe,at every ticking second of the clock, a woman or girl is being  stripped off her dignity and security.Come with me…..There is girl being raped somewhere in the Bronx of New York City as you read this post.In Arusha,Tanzania,a woman is being beaten to death by her husband .Right now in the slums of Kibera,Nairobi, Kenya, a 12 year old is being forced by her mother to sell sex in exchange for sanitary pad, meanwhile somewhere in the suburbs,her cousin  is losing her clitoris to a razor.This second in far away Pakistan,a girl is being roasted to death for the honor of her family,meanwhile in Benin Nigeria, some are being smuggled into Stuttgart ,Germany where they will be undressed and packed naked in brothels and sold for sex daily.Come …without exaggeration, I am telling you,there is a new mother fresh from the labor room in Dakar,Senegal with painful birth induced vagina stitches who is being raped by her husband every night.She has to choose between  being beaten and rape every night.She cries every night while her fellow new mom in Edea,Cameroon cries every morning because her mother deeps a traditional broom in hot boiling water and whips her belly in order to flush out the after birth debris in a bid to ritually cleanse her and safe her from ndjeg gwal(delivery insanity).In a nearby village,a 13 year old girl is being given out for marriage to a man as old as her grandfather in exchange for 3 pigs and 6 bags of salt.Their closest neighbor is married to six wives,thereby making his home an arena of  jealousy,competition and hatred.A constant state of emotional and physical torture makes the home as deadly as a war zone for the women and children.If there are 20 of such homes in a village,there maybe no visible arms or signs of war but a silent magma is boiling,a volcano waiting to explode at the least provocation.

There can be no security in a   world in which  almost half of the population is living in a state of emergency.(Fear, pain,shame and uncertainty=INSECURITY).So far as I am concerned the world has been at war from the day woman was created.Unfortunately ,Violence against Women is a professional jargon and not a painful reality to those who have the power stop it.Maybe grassroots women are often brought to the table for peace talks just for  the decor of diversity and not for any concrete change.That is why we go from one event to the other,speaking and shedding tears, plunging  some soft hearted ones in the audience into our river of tears for a brief moment,after which we go back to  ground zero with no resources to end the war.

Violence  against women is  often trivialized and not perceived as a threat to national security.Unfortunately when it is ignored during moments of political stability,it becomes deeply entrenched  and standardized, waiting to manifest on a larger and more complex scale in times of war.The general feeling of fear,uncertainty and insecurity that looms in communities when there is war is the same feeling women  and girls who are victims of violence harbor at all times even in the absence of armed conflicts.Everyday,thousands of women and children worldwide are forced to leave the comfort of their homes to face the unknown as a result of domestic violence and harmful traditional practices .This war also leads to internal displacement of people.

 The past decade has registered  some giant strides to world security  at the global level, as more and more women are using online platforms like World Pulse to  outstrip their pain,birthing the audacity to transform their lives and communities. Just like me,they believe that placing priority on justice and security is  a sure route out of this quagmire of violence into an unbiased world where the contentment of one gender is not owed to the denigration of the other.We want the stripes of our tears of suffering to be the foundation on which we will build an anchor that will guarantee a secure tomorrow for humanity.When we demand a place at the peace table it is not only ensured ceasefire  in armed conflicts but also  the wars that are being fought in homes and on our bodies.

The most evident path to ensuring global security is the release of women`s  caged voices through the provision of safe spaces online and offline where they can speak out and use their stories as pathways to the creation of a new world of security and equity.

 

This post was submitted in response to The Future of Security Is Women .

Comments 32

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jlanghus
Sep 29, 2018
Sep 29, 2018

Hi Leina,

Thanks for sharing your sad, but real post about the reality for a lot of girls and women. I do hope that a lot of these old traditions and beliefs can be changed in our lifetime, or even sooner, preferably. I'm glad that you help to listen to a lot of girls' and women's stories as it will help them to heal from some of the pain they have endured.

Good luck with your submission. I hope that you have a safe and good day!

Leina
Oct 02, 2018
Oct 02, 2018

Thanks Jill,I too long to see a day when all these shall be eradicated.That desire is the driving force to the undying passion we have to keep pushing against all odds.
Thanks for encouraging!

jlanghus
Oct 02, 2018
Oct 02, 2018

Agreed:-) Good luck, and you're welcome:-)

Tarke Edith
Sep 29, 2018
Sep 29, 2018

Hi Leona
Thanks for sharing the experiences you have come across so far as concern the insecurity of the woman ,well sister as a woman l creid at times went l see how a woman is being molested by the husband how some are being molested by a fellow woman, but l hope that on platforms like this some of this ills will be looked into and joining our voices together we create a greater impact than ever before thanks again sister

Leina
Oct 02, 2018
Oct 02, 2018

Dear Tarke Edith,Yes you are right sis,we shall keep trying until our little drops are enough to fill the ocean that will wash away this pain.Together we can!

Jacqueline Namutaawe
Oct 01, 2018
Oct 01, 2018

Hallo Leina thanks for sharing about the many ordeals women and girls across the world go through and the breast ironing practice. If the future of security is women then we must do everythinf in our power and capacity to end these henious practices on women. We are sick and tired of being violated and then blamed for what has happened to us. No more dying in silence.

Leina
Oct 02, 2018
Oct 02, 2018

Sis Jacky,You are right the worst part is the blame.We shall overcome!
Hugs,
Leina

Princesse MUHINDO Malembero
Oct 01, 2018
Oct 01, 2018

Bonjour Leina,
Merci d'avoir partager avec nous votre histoire si triste, toutefois j'ai espoir que toutes tes difficultés et insécurité en toi prendra fin car nous sommes là à nous guider vers un monde plus éveillé et épanoui que le traditionnel du passé qui est juste pour nous un référence.
Juste est de gardé en toi toute la foi et luttons ensemble pour le développement, la paix et la sécurité. Madame Bienvenue encore une fois sur Worldpulse !

Leina
Oct 02, 2018
Oct 02, 2018

Merci soeur Princesse,Il ya de l`espoir pour un monde plus éveillé et épanou quand nous somme ensemble.
Bisou,
Leina

Beth Lacey
Oct 01, 2018
Oct 01, 2018

Leina, this is an excellent article. Thank you for sharing.
Beth

Leina
Oct 02, 2018
Oct 02, 2018

Thanks so much for reading and for all you do to amplify our voices dear Beth!

Adanna
Oct 02, 2018
Oct 02, 2018

Dear Leina,

Thank you for sharing this story on breast ironing.

I agree that "Violence against women is often trivialized and not perceived as a threat to national security."

I do hope that by reading stories such as yours, more girls and women will be encouraged to speak out.

Love,
Adanna

Leina
Oct 02, 2018
Oct 02, 2018

Lovely sis Adana,thanks for adding your voice.So long as we keep trying,there is hope for a brighter tomorrow.We shall overcome.Bless u!

Ngala Nadege
Oct 02, 2018
Oct 02, 2018

Hello Leina dear ,thanks for sharing your story .its a pity that it happens in our community.I pray that one day some of these our barbaric traditions will be eradicated.

Leina
Oct 11, 2018
Oct 11, 2018

Thanks for reading and adding your voice dear Nadege,just by raising your voice you have done your own part in eradicating the practice!

Ngwa Damaris
Oct 04, 2018
Oct 04, 2018

This is so sad !!!!! Thanks to women like you who are working tirelessly to make other women feel secures

Leina
Oct 11, 2018
Oct 11, 2018

Thank you sis Damaris,yes with our joint efforts,there is hope!

emma matondang
Oct 04, 2018
Oct 04, 2018

Hi Leina,
Thank you for sharing your story. Many times people taken action on behalf of tradition and culture. I believe it's misuderstood and misperception. Traditions and culture must be ways to live better in harmony. Respect genders. But it's practically wrong. It has to be fixed. Great, for what you have done. I also have to fix it here even among sisters. Let's go for it. We'll get stronger by sharing and speaking out our voice.

Leina
Oct 11, 2018
Oct 11, 2018

Yes dear Emma,you are perfectly right we must do the fixing!

Kika Katchunga
Oct 08, 2018
Oct 08, 2018

It's sad to listen to what's going on in your life; glory to God when you are still alive and with a lot of strength sharing with us your story, as you said that world not only guarantee a ceasefire in armed conflict, it right also happens to what is going on in drilling them and our bodies, you have all my support.

Leina
Oct 11, 2018
Oct 11, 2018

Merci soeur Kika!

Sharon Makunura
Oct 09, 2018
Oct 09, 2018

Thanks for sharing Leina. Women and girls should be able to live in their bodies without fear.

Leina
Oct 11, 2018
Oct 11, 2018

Absolutely sis Sharon.Freedom is our God given right!

Akinjise Daniel
Oct 10, 2018
Oct 10, 2018

It's nice seeing women speak up on issues such as this.

Well done Leina

Leina
Oct 11, 2018
Oct 11, 2018

Thanks so much Akinjese!

carolepng
Oct 10, 2018
Oct 10, 2018

My heart breaks a little bit more each time I read and hear about it. I can't bear the thought it happening to my daughters or to me - when we read it somewhere it seems unreal - but through WorldPulse knowing that this is a place where women, real-live women are given the opportunity to speak, to share their inner-most stories - you know that it is very real and somewhere in the world today - another sister is being 'violated' in some way. Having just done my post on Knowing God, Knowing Peace - sometimes it is hard to fathom how a loving and gracious God can allow such cruelty to take place. I wish that we could just wave that magic wand and zap all that 'evilness' away - but unfortunately we can not and some of these things we can never explain why - but hope and pray for the best to come. Thank you for sharing this story - May your story be heard far and wide and may it bring change sooner than later.

Leina
Oct 11, 2018
Oct 11, 2018

Thanks so much my sister,we are God`s arms and legs in this world.We will keep doing our utmost best.Change is on the way!

Evelyn Fonkem
Oct 13, 2018
Oct 13, 2018

HI Leina,I greatly agree with you that GBV is a canker worm that has eaten our society.We need to empower boys and girls that it is important to teach them about adequate gender socialization norms

Rosylyne Nabaala
Oct 14, 2018
Oct 14, 2018

Sorry for that sister and it's true you fear people you think that they are the same one's but be courageous and life must continue.

Sister Zeph
Oct 26, 2018
Oct 26, 2018

My dear Leina

Thank you very much for sharing this so painful story and for all the great work you are doing,women are suffering a lot and most of the time it happens because they do not have awareness, they are always being taught to depend on others instead of themselves but you are like an angel for so many girls and women because you are giving them awareness on how to protect themselves. Thank you very much

Sherna Alexander Benjamin
Nov 25, 2018
Nov 25, 2018

Hello Leina,
You made some valid points in your post. I admire your strength and courage in using your voice, sharing your narrative and working to bring about social change. Public Awareness and Education, working to counter the norms which enable gender inequality and social injustice. Working with state parties to develop an adequate and responsive mechanism to combat and prevent violence and support victims and survivors in a substantively. Incorporating the voices of victims at those decision-making tables is critical for progress.

Keep up the good work.

Nicole Joseph-Chin
Feb 07
Feb 07

Leina
So glad we spoke!!!

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