The girl that I knew

Sophie Ngugi
Posted November 15, 2019 from Kenya
Photo by Adrianna Van Groningen on Unsplash

The girl that I knew She was only 13 Or maybe she was or 12, or 14 or 15 years old It does not matter, Oh it matters She was a child

I knew her as a classmate. An older girl, I thought.  Sometimes I admired the older girls They seemed to have more confidence Or maybe not Tishala was not very confident The teachers made fun of her She was not bright enough in class The boys made fun of her, She was not ‘cool’  Classmates avoided her She was smelly Her confidence waned Poverty did not allow her to afford good perfume Or water to bathe everyday Or clean underpants every day And who took care of her? For she was a child

Tishala is pregnant! Tishala is an embarrassment How could she get herself pregnant? Everyone seemed to ask I got confused, I did not realize anyone can get themselves pregnant! Rape. Abuse. Violence Those terms were never used She was to blame Despite that, she was a child.

The girl I knew, Was my friend.  I did visit her home or meet with her parents But she was a friend We were in the same class Only that mattered And she had a good heart She made me laugh That is all that mattered for friendship For we were children

Years later, realization dawned on me She did not get herself pregnant

Maybe she was sexually exploited In exchange for some perfume Why did nobody mention this possibility? Why did nobody treat her as a child? Why did she lose her right to education? Why did nobody mention That she was a child

This year as we commemorate #16daysofactivism I dedicate my thoughts to girls like Tishala Girls who lost their life’s dreams without any support I stand with her I stand with girls struggling to claim a space I stand with girls abused and rejected I stand with girls who do not have someone to tell them You are a child! 

This girl that I knew, Motivates me to do my part She never escapes my mind It has been so many years She is now an adult Possibly with daughters of her own Or granddaughters For their sake, I wake up each day Determined to do my part To make my little contribution In the life of such girls And to get inspired by the power of girls I stand with her For  She  Is  A  Child  And deserves to be treated As a child

   

This story was submitted in response to #IStandWithHer.

Comments 11

Log in or register to post comments
Joy Xi
Nov 15
Nov 15

What a touching story. It's so true that so many people never think to question assumptions like the assumption that it's the victim's fault.

Sophie Ngugi
Nov 15
Nov 15

When I think of my childhood I shudder at how child abuse was not named and girls were blamed. I wonder if much changed today

maeann
Nov 15
Nov 15

Hi Sophie,

Thank you for standing for Her. A child or a young girl deserves to be treated well.

Sophie Ngugi
Nov 15
Nov 15

Yes! May we always have the strength to do so in our own small ways

Lisbeth
Nov 16
Nov 16

Dear Sophie,
Tishala story is very painful and I also agreed with you she was explored. How sad! Do you still live around each other? And how is she? She is married now? Or did she got the opportunity to continue her education?
Thanks for #istandwithher
I am sure she will appreciate you if she heard about this your loved post for her. Have a great weekend and take care of yourself.
Regards

Sophie Ngugi
Nov 16
Nov 16

That is about 30 years ago so no idea. The least we can/ I can do right now is keep impacting lives of other girls and do my part so they do not go through this. Aluta continua

Lisbeth
Nov 16
Nov 16

Ohk! Lots of years. Yes impacting others will be great for us all.
Have a great weekend
Take care of yourself

Jill Langhus
Nov 16
Nov 16

Hi Sophie,

How are you doing, dear? What a sad story:-( Poor Tishala. It seems that you haven't stayed in touch with her. I was wondering how she was doing, too. I'm glad that you're determined to help other girls like her so they can fulfill their dreams rather than being victimized.

Hope you're having a good weekend.

Anita Shrestha
Nov 16
Nov 16

Dear Sis
Very very heartbroken reality.

Selemika
Nov 17
Nov 17

Thank you Sophie for sharing this story. It resonates with me deeply- as I think back to the many stories I know and heard. So many children- girls - were abused and Instead of getting justice and support, they were blamed & shamed. Their lives’ paths were altered, dreams shattered, and unfortunately the pattern of poverty continued and still does. I often ask myself- did it matter to anyone and does it really matter to most today. And so I chose to do something- take action- however big or small to be part of change and be part of a different outcome.

lizzymark
Nov 17
Nov 17

Sister, you are right its all we should live for, the pains of the past always opens us up to see around us those who may are in what our past had done to us. Its good you realized it,keep doing what you do for girls more grace.