As a Female in the #NWSW of Cameroon these days

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Posted August 25, 2020 from Cameroon

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

Comments 15

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Tamarack Verrall
Aug 25
Aug 25

Dear Sally,
The women of NWSW coming together to create leadership for peace in your country show us all, including the leaders of the UN what is possible. That the call months ago in March by the Secretary General of the UN took until July to be even passed, shows the slowness of that global governing body, while women in your country have found a way to come together regardless of differences meant to keep you apart, differences men are still fighting over.As a priority we as women must continue to find ways to raise our voices and come forward as leaders together to make the end of all wars a priority. This is why the leadership of women is essential. My heart goes out to all of the women in Cameroon, dealing with this terrible war in addition to all of the current emergencies.

Hello, sister Sally,

This is such a powerful piece. Cameroon is still blessed to have a daughter like you, a very eloquent woman leader both in speaking and writing, who is brave enough to stand up for peace. I couldn't help but think how our country gained its independence. It all began with a novel, and that novel sparked a revolution. There is power in writing, "the pen is mightier than the sword". Writing about peace in Cameroon is a strategic way to be heard, but I hope the world will also listen.

I, too, am wondering why the world stay silent on what's happening in Cameroon. A day of delay in taking action is a threat to a number of women and girls. That thought alone breaks my heart. Surely, the violence/conflict that is going on in your communities are as urgent as the pandemic.

I love how women in Cameroon are taking action. What you are doing, although arduous, is a history in a making. This brings so much hope, "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."

We stand with you, dear sister Sally! Keep on raising your voice!

Nini Mappo
Aug 26
Aug 26

Hello Sally,
I am ashamed to admit that I'm hearing of these atrocities, the dangers they pose to women and girls, and the resilience of the victims of which you have so eloquently written, for the first time.

Your voice is my light and that of many others.
It is the light for Cameroon.

Thank you writing and sharing.
Love and strength to you in sisterhood.

Manasa Ram Raj
Aug 27
Aug 27

Sally, this is a really insightful post on the situation in Cameroon! It is heartbreaking to see that women always face the brunt of war in ways no government is ready to accept or protect. Your efforts to unite women so their voices are heard as part of the peacebuilding process is a testament to your wonderful efforts and a large heart. Women are indeed super resilient and with leaders like you, I know the women have hope. While the journey to "humanity first" is a long road, I am so happy to see that the journey has begun for the women of Cameroon.

Our sisterhood is standing with you!

Chi8629
Aug 27
Aug 27

Thank you for sharing Sister.

Beth Lacey
Aug 28
Aug 28

I have seen women's movements actually not defend certain women so that their reputations are not damaged. To me that is senseless and self-defeating. Thanks for sharing this, Sally

Rebeca
Aug 28
Aug 28

So surprising I am just hearing this, my heart bleeds and I can't help but wonder why this is not all up in the news. Thank you Sally for sharing and I send all love and strength your way, please keep voicing out and don't stay silent. Women are so strong and my prayers goes out to all the women in the English speaking region of Cameroon

Anne-Chantal
Aug 29
Aug 29

My dear sister Sally,
What a piece. I cry when I read. As I read I remember all going on in our country and I weep. For all the mothers, wives, daughters whose lives have taken another turn.
My dear I join you and all the power houses to pray. We really need that peace. I so pray for it so I can visit my home again. See my father's house. So my daughter can see where her mum comes from.
I stand with you sister.
Love from a sister.

Chinyere Kalu
Aug 29
Aug 29

Women have always been at the receiving end of many crisis .
Coming together to make peace will be the best option so they can become a part of the solution.
Dear Sis.You can't stop now.You can't get tired as it stands now.
Get other like minded women and continue to speak up.One day your voices would be heard.
Keep speaking up dear.Many are counting on you.

lemonadelemon
Aug 30
Aug 30

Thank you for the good sharing.

Andrace
Aug 30
Aug 30

Dear Sally,
Thank you so much for sharing this touching piece. Like many other sisters here, I never knew that such inhuman acts are happening next door. Women suffer a lot and still have a heart of gold, truly. So sorry about this all. Psychologically, it is understandably disheartening. We stand with you and would keep praying that the leaders can dialogue and bring a permanent end to this show of shame. Meanwhile, we can't be silenced. Keep writing, Sis. We need to raise our voices.

Please, stay safe.
Hugs,
E. J.

Regina Afanwi Young
Aug 30
Aug 30

Hello sister Sally, I can feel the pain of women as I read his write up. I can feel the pain of especially women with disabilities, women I work and interact with on a daily bases and who are twice Vulnerable. Thank you so much my dear sister for advocating for us. I live in the NW Region of Cameroon and can attest to all what you have written. We are together in this fight against GBV and other atrocities against humanity.
May God bless and protect you dear sister Sally. Hope we can meet one day

Juliet Obiri
Aug 31
Aug 31

Dear Sally,
Surely...#AllLivesMatter. Women across the globe faces all forms discrimination and abuse daily, especially in Africa. It's so disheartening when the voices that are supposed to be heard on such issues are silent. I pray women in Cameron find strength to overcome this.
#WeStandWithYou

Tarke Edith
Aug 31
Aug 31

Hello sis Sali
Thanks for sharing this terrible situation with our sisters .
Indeed sis l am sick and tired of it. At times l feel l should go up and talk , but who will listen,
Dear l have made up my mind just to pray asking God for his kind intervention.
Thanks again dear.
Try to stay safe.

Veronica Ngum Ndi
Sep 06
Sep 06

Dear Sally
Thank you for this touching write-up.I feel you because we are in the same boat.My part as a woman with disability is even worse.I cry for all woman and girls most especially for my sisters and daughters with disability. Courage Sister Sally.We continue to struggle and advocate,one day our peace buildings will yield fruits
In Sisterhood
Veronica Ngum
Cameroon