I had just turned 14. I chose a pair of shorts to wear with a relatively demure top. My mother chastised me, telling me revealing too much skin, i.e my legs could turn my uncle on! In my head, I started wondering whether I had truly made a mistake, whether my clothing ought to be less ''revealing'' so as not to tempt men. But then, like an epiphany, it occurred to me that I wasn't responsible for anybody else's actions. If the thought of hurting me or taking advantage of me sexually occurred to a man just because I wore the wrong clothes, it would be pretty obvious that this very man hadn't an iota of humanity in him.
Explaining these things to the people in my surroundings was hard, especially growing up. I was consumed with a lot of fury in regards to the amount of violence that was meted out to women, for the sole crime of them seeking to exist. My sisters in Western Africa would undergo genital mutilation, so that men only could benefit from sexual pleasure. My sisters in Saudi Arabia weren't allowed to drive, let alone step outside their houses without a male guardian. My sisters in India were being gang raped while the world watched in awe, in awe of the unspeakable cruelty that men were capable of.
How was I, a mere teenager, supposed to feel lucky to be alive? I feared for my life, and not just my own, but for my unborn daughters' as well. I lived in a world where everything I said could be used to define my character. I lived in a world where my physical attributes were my only prized assets and my intelligence and compassion, irrelevant. I lived in a world where men could stare at me blankly, and I just had to ''take'' it. My male classmates enjoyed a freedom of the sweetest kind while my sisters and I prayed every night for a sense of security, in a world where hostility was being lobbed our way from every direction.
Needless to say, I was frustrated. I joined Worldpulse to let some of it out, vent about the injustices I witnessed happening to our sisters every day, in every corner of the world. Women in the West fought hard for decades to get where they are now, legally equal to any man although the norms might dictate otherwise. Women in Africa have never had the chance to witness a feminist upheaval, a feminist movement to untether us from the shackles of our very dangerous societies.
In my country, a recent incident made headlines and not for the right reasons. A female parliamentary member was victim of domestic abuse and she brought her case to the national fore. Most of the people here pointed at her and laughed, dismissed her plight and urged women to ''make peace'' with their abusers. It wasn't the first time she had come forward with such accusations, three more times she reported him to the police and they did nothing. That they would do nothing for a female MP whose reputation ought to bolster their devotion, goes to show how little they do for women in general, in Mauritius. Last year, around New Year's eve, a radio program focused on the many women who'd been murdered by their boyfriends/husbands. The situation is so alarming and yet nothing has been done to aid women in this country. Even if you'd been brutally assaulted, as in Rihanna's case, and you went to seek help at a local police station, they would tell you they aren't allowed to arrest another person without their side of the story.
How is any woman to live safely when violence is looming high above them, preventing them from cherishing their freedom? Men who murder their wives here have been known to get out of jail in less than 5 years! Progress is being made in other areas, but not in the liberation of women.
But I have not given hope. I have been very stoic in the face of these injustices but I will let my writing do the talking. Everyday, I sensitize women on social media, gradually building an audience of self-aware women who do not want to stay silent in the face of injustice. It's not realistic to believe that one can change everything from the get-go, but I'm optimistic enough to believe that when everyone will join forces, we'll witness a great sea change in terms of the stability between the two genders. This will be the great Feminist movement of Africa, the first one and the one that will ensure a brighter future for our daughters.