I sometimes wonder what stuff women and girls are made of. Why do they thrive in the mist of so much pain? How do these women continue to give so much care and support to the ailing population despite the fact that the war has taken away everything from them including their names?
I can continue this list of unanswered questions on my mind for eternity. The violent conflict that has been on for more than two years in the English Speaking Regions of Cameroon is not only the world's most neglected conflict but also an encyclopedia of the most dehumanizing and traumatic abuse on women and girls. The situation is so appalling in that perpetrators of these gruesome acts of murder make so much fun of it by doing a video recording and circulating on social media.They equally give the most despicable justifications for such acts while ignoring the fact that #AllLivesMatter. I can't describe my feelings on this because not only has human life be taken unlawfully, children, parents and family members are traumatized as well as radicalized by the videos. I dare say women are not just experiencing violations but barbarism and wickedness as well.
Advocates of the Women, Peace and Security agenda will be shocked to realise that lip service on the need to protect women and children that characterizes speeches of the various factions is just window dressing. These acts on women as cited above, in some ways, are now reasons for many to make speeches to show they are compassionate and loving in their pursue of "justice for all" but we are yet to see any protection plan from them. That which is saddening is the fact that they spend resources and time blaming and politicizing the acts without aiming at bringing perpetrators to book.
Another interesting phenomenon is blaming and castigating women's peace movements for not defending fellow women. This narrative goes a long way to breed suspicion and divides among women peacebuilders. I think this is a well calculated act to deny them access to the decision making table so as to keep assuming what women want. I told a sister that every female in these regions should include in their CV as skill "Can cope in difficult situations ". When asked why, I told the sister that the war is now fought on bearers of breast and vagina. I may sound hard but help me inteprete this; A woman is raped because she is where a soldier or fighter has needs A woman is killed or molested because she has a love affair with a soldier or a fighter A women looses her financial power because of lockdown and her goods get bad. A woman has to sell her belongings to pay ransom or bail her relation or children from either camps A woman disrespects lockdown and is beaten or her business site vandalized or she respects it and gets her business premises sealed and a fine attached to it.
I am sorry I might have been painting so bleak a situation but I have good news too. These women are resilient. They pray in their various religious groups for peace. They carry out lamentations to tell leaders their pain. They talk to both factions and continue to educate them on the golden rule "humanity first" so parties should go in for #Peace negotiations for Women want #TalksNotBlood. Though often ignored, taken for granted or targeted these women continue to cry out. I see this as a real demonstration of power, compassion, love and a level headed way of doing things. I therefore envisage that moment, really soon, when the world will come to lend their support to these incredible powerhouses who have chosen to preach peace even though greatly wronged. I am calling on stakeholders to offer support for them to achieve #TalksNotBlood a way in which #WomenBuildPeace