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.