I stand with her #Being the solution of structural violence

Ngobesing Linda
Posted December 8, 2019 from Cameroon

A young female graduate from one of Cameroons most prestigious university, the university of Buea was looking for some work experience after school,she studied banking and finance and wanted to start an internship in any institution which could give her a platform,so she cane to an institution where I was also doing and internship,she met me at the entrance,greeted me politely and asked if there were any internship or volunteer positions.I told her I wasnt sure but that I would be glad to receive her application and hand it over to my boss,I asked her what she had studied and she said banking and finance.At the time the institution for which I was interning was in dire need of extra hands in the administrative service to manage the accounts of the so many projects that were ongoing at the time,but it wasnt my place to tell her that,so I simply smiled at her and told her if there was any need to have an intern she will be called up by the boss but for now he wasnt on seat. She had a couple of other folders in her hands ,folders which I suppose also carried applications for internship which she was hoping to drop in other institutions. Later that day, when my boss came in I took the folder which contained the ladys' application and supporting documents and handed to him with so much excitement and explained that she was a polite young woman and her 3.3 grade point average from the university was proof that she was definitely up to the task,but I was shocked at his reaction when he heard me say she.She? He asked,yes she I responded.Now my boss simply handed the folder to me without even opening it,he told me to add it to the pile of application for jobs and internships files that we received almost daily.he did this while grumbling,in pidgin English * man di find person for came di manage big money them na woman di came? We need na man pikin weh ei fit di bulldoze up and down for bank them small time I hear sir I will not be able to come am menstruating tommorow pikin di cry next day I dey with belle again,no me oh* which literally translates to (no we dont need a woman because she wont be up to the task,she will take of days when she is on her period or show up pregnant or sometimes have to rush home because her baby is crying we need a man,men are bulldozers).now this reaction from my boss brought tears to my eyes.what!!!! Is that how such a qualified human being can be disqualified and reduced to not worth an opportunity simply because of reproductive roles? Wow! Perhaps I was given that opportunity simply because it was an academic internship and I needed it for graduation but what will happen then when I graduate?I guess I will move from one office to another seeking employment but I will be rejected on the basis of being female and having reproductive roles,something which is totally not my fault.

Wow! Perhaps I was given the chance to do that internship simply because it was an academic internship and a requirement for me to graduate and when I do I will just continue dropping applications just like her ,I wondered how many offices she would go to with those applications and be rejected without even being considered. This is structural violence.The kind of violence that people contribute to without even knowing that they are contributing to,the kind of violence contributing to snail economies and the progress of some countries in the world. The kind of violence that celebrates a 30% representation of women in the parliament instead of questioning it.why are women only represented by 30% when there is 100% representation possibility for all humans. The kind of violence that accepts that for as long as a country like Cameroon has existed there is no female Governor,and when 2 Senior divisional officers are appointed people are celebrating instead of asking why only 2? This is the kind of violence that exist right up to the level of local councils where the people themselves vote their representatives but just decide that women should not be part of decision making processes because that is not quite *their role*. Now each time you celebrate the appointment of 2 female ministers to replace 2 who were removed from office you are part of the problem,each time you make news out of an appointment of a female SDO instead of questioning a system that only appoints female SDOs after so many years of independence you are part of the problem,each time you decide not to vote for women leaders who have incredible potential to lead change processes because you think well we are not ready for a female leader yet you are part of the problem,and you know what makes you even more part of the problem ? It isn’t what you are doing,it is what you are not doing.You are not speaking out,you are not questioning all of these you are not talking to your friends and neighbors and bosses about all these because you dont want to be called a *feminist* Which according to you is simply *odd*. Make an effort,ask your boss why there are only 2 women decision in the office of 20 women and 7 men but 6 Male decision makers out of 7 in the same office. Ask the leader of your political party why they have left women on the bench of hand clapping instead of involving them on key political issues that they should infact be spear heading. Why aren’t they talking about the economy? The weather? The environment? But when it’s time to serve food they are on the frontline? It’s the small questions that bring about change. I recently had encounter with one of my bosses,we had a small party at work and at the end of the party he stood up to leave the table and he made a statement * ladies please do well to keep the place clean* and I retorted immediately as if I was expecting it,* No not ladies ,everyone please ,we all are and drank so we should all keep the place clean* I left him speechless and a I could see the shame on his face ,he couldn’t argue so he just said *yes I know you madame feminist okay everyone keep the place clean*. That was a win,and the next time he wont do that or at least he will look around to see if am there before saying a thing like that. When he responded the second time his time his tone was down,it wasn’t as bold as when he first said * ladies keep the place clean*.

These are the structural stereotypes that we need to break and we all are responsible for that. Just imagine if we all questioned this form of violence in our homes,schools churches ,families and offices? Planet 50/50 will sure come sooner than we expect. Now go out there and get work done.thats is a challenge.send us our experiences on any forms of structural violence and how you are taking action to put an end to it sheplatform@gmail.com

This story was submitted in response to #IStandWithHer.

Comments 11

Log in or register to post comments
Jill Langhus
Dec 09, 2019
Dec 09, 2019

Hi Linda,

Thanks for sharing your important, but sad post. I agree with you that we all have the opportunity to speak up and illicit much needed change. So, did your boss consider her after you noticed he dismissed the young graduate's application? Are you compiling stories for research to the gmail address, dear? Can you clarify what the call to action is?

Hope you're doing well, and having a good day.

Ngobesing Linda
Dec 09, 2019
Dec 09, 2019

Hello Jill,
Well my Boss did not consider her application, he actually did not allow me to bring it up any more and we never heard from her again at least till the end of my internship. It was so sad and it is one of the stories I never get to forget the little things that continue to build a wall of patriarchy that we struggle daily to tear down.
I am compiling stories from survivors of gender based violence on the gmail adress,I want to assess how much the campaign I am carrying out is changing the minds of survivors on speaking out.I have so far received testimonies from survivors and from others who have come across survivors.at the end of te campaign I will be able to figure out exactly the kind of project to carry out with survivors of violence and how to solicit support for that.

Jill Langhus
Dec 09, 2019
Dec 09, 2019

Hello Linda,

Oh:-( Yes! That would be painful to watch.

Oh, okay. Thanks for clarifying. Perhaps you could have a blog or create a book out of all the testimonials?

Ngobesing Linda
Dec 12, 2019
Dec 12, 2019

Hi Jill,actually I am compiling this stories on audio podcasts.Thabks to these lots of people are getting to me with testimonies and I was recently led to a building where girls are being trafficked in the heart of the nations capital.I just got a few contacts today drawing me closer to the sources and am trying to put resources together to uncover the story.

Jill Langhus
Dec 13, 2019
Dec 13, 2019

Hi Linda,

Oh, great. Oh, wow! Horrible. Eeek. Be careful.

Do you know sister, Awah? She runs an anti-trafficking org out of Doala? This is her profile, if you would like to connect with her: https://www.worldpulse.com/user/30831/campaign to help these women.

Good luck, and keep us posted.

Lisbeth
Dec 10, 2019
Dec 10, 2019

Dear Linda,
What a great courage ;-). That is very good quality you got keep it firm dear.
I also like your activity compelling data of GBV survivors
"I am compiling stories from survivors of gender based violence on the gmail adress,I want to assess how much the campaign I am carrying out is changing the minds of survivors on speaking out".
Dear, am a survivor :-). PM me and we will take it from there.
Hugs

Ngobesing Linda
Dec 12, 2019
Dec 12, 2019

Oh really? Am excited to hear your story and how you survived. I will send you a text then.

Lisbeth
Dec 13, 2019
Dec 13, 2019

Yeah
I am waiting ha

Anita Shrestha
Dec 10, 2019
Dec 10, 2019

Dear Sis
Thank you for sharing

Felicitas Wung
Dec 11, 2019
Dec 11, 2019

Oh! It was really a bad experience. We pray for planet 50/50 should come to pass

Ngobesing Linda
Dec 12, 2019
Dec 12, 2019

Amen sister.Together in prayers for this!