The only way I can celebrate my womanhood is to renew my pledge for a better girlhood and womanhood

Marie Abanga
Posted March 5, 2019 from Cameroon

Some things happen in your society and which affect you to the core even if you are not 'related' to the victims or parties concerned. An incident like that which happened last month in my country Cameroon, I mean in my city of Douala even, concerned a vicious rape and consistent defilement of a girl child for two years. The 10 year old girl finally gave up the ghost in hospital after two years of rape by her aunt's husband, after developing waist trauma and cancer.

Yes, she is a girl, and not even my daughter some may say. But nope, she would have been a woman tomorrow, and she could have been my daughter. Our collective society is traumatized by such a despicable act, and this got me really thinking. I asked myself this: "Are you going to join other women to celebrate the international women's day on the 8th of March this year under the theme #BalanceforBetter, when little girls women of tomorrow cannot even feel safe in their own homes? Where can any balance for better be seen here? I mean how many more rapes do we need to record in our communities before realizing how unbalancing it has all become? I was and I am still recovering from the shock of that act. I decided to make the following pledge to that baby girl:

Fortune I pledge

1) That I personally intend to seek an audience with Social Affairs and Justice Ministers, and work in collaboration with any other associations picking this case up;

2) That even if no one is joining me, I will do my best before leaving the rest to God;

3) That I wouldn't worry about the resources to do what has to be done because I know God knows it all;

4) That I refuse to feel any stigma or entertain any stigma or naysayers on my way to seek Social Justice for your spirit, and all the others like you going through such unfathomable ordeals regardless of their age;

5) That in God I trust so that He will finish what He has started in and through me;

6) That the association Hope for the Abused and Battered which I founded last year, whose 3rd focus area is being the hope for children victims of abuse (especially sexual abuse), will champion your cause and those of the many others like you with all its energy;

7) That I make this pledge in all Faith, Hope and Charity. May God be my Helper for all times Amen

It was only then I felt like I am really living up to my womanhood, and that I could celebrate the freedom and opportunity I had to be such a fierce advocate for the abused and battered women not only in my community but in my country and the world at large. I think of countries where young girls and women don't even dare to dream, they know that all what they can aspire to is become housewives the earlier the safer. I think of a documentary I once watched entitled; "India the worst place to be a woman", and how grateful I was not to have been born there. I wonder which balance can be spoken of there and when it could ever get better.

There are several ways to celebrate our womanhood especially on the day the international community sets aside for that - 8th of March; let's make it a celebration of impact and not just one of colourful fabric wearing and merry making as has been the tradition in my country for a long while now.

I am not saying merry making and fabric wearing are not good, I got my own fabric already stitched courtesy of my mum this very day. However, she knows I don't do merry making on that day, I prefer participating in symposiums and media events to talk about female entrepreneurship, leadership and all other many issues hindering any real #BalanceforBetter; there is hope nevertheless, and I want to be the hope because I saw hope myself.  

This story was submitted in response to Change Starts With a Story.

Comments 13

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Jill Langhus
Mar 05
Mar 05

Hi Marie,

I see and hear your passion, dear. Your efforts, past and present are not in vain. I'm behind you and your center 100% . Let's make a difference together!

Marie Abanga
Mar 05
Mar 05

Dear Jill,

Thank you. One day at a time, one girl or woman at a time

Jill Langhus
Mar 06
Mar 06

You're welcome:-) Sounds like a plan!

Tamarack Verrall
Mar 07
Mar 07

Dear Marie,
I stand with you in life commitment to ending this violence against women and girls, happening globally. I am so glad to be able to be in ongoing contact with you here as we continue to link arms together.
In sisterhood,
Tam

Marie Abanga
Mar 08
Mar 08

Dear Tam,

I really appreciate your standing together with me, and I do the same in solidarity too. We have a moral duty to leave the world at least a little better than we met it.
In sisterhood
Marie

Marie Abanga
Mar 08
Mar 08

Dear Tam,

I really appreciate your standing together with me, and I do the same in solidarity too. We have a moral duty to leave the world at least a little better than we met it.
In sisterhood
Marie

Sinyuy Geraldine
Mar 08
Mar 08

Dear Marie. Never lose hope. I am happy that in spite of all odds, you are forging your way ahead and you're here in a family. Success.

Marie Abanga
Jul 17
Jul 17

Dear Geraldine o,

Indeed God is good. I am so grateful to be where I am in life currently, living a purpose driven life and feeling so fulfilled. All the best to you

Lisbeth
May 12
May 12

We all need sometimes someone to hold on too, and I think you are doing exactly that. Keep it up.

Marie Abanga
Jul 17
Jul 17

Dear Liz,

Thank you. We sure do and I am so grateful to be such a person for many. We all are trying our mite right sis?

Lisbeth
Jul 20
Jul 20

Right! We shall do our best. Regards

Beth Lacey
Jul 17
Jul 17

Your pledge is wonderful

Marie Abanga
Jul 17
Jul 17

Dear Beth,

Thank you so much. By Grace, I am living up to my pledge and for that I am very grateful.