Fighting for the unborn generation
Motherhood, widowhood and silence
The journey does not begin today, it began years back when I was a child and we were neglected because my mother was able to bring forth just girls; she tried many times to bear boys but her womb could only breed girls.
Therefore, when our father died in 1976, May 9, my mother could not demand any inheritance. She single-handed raised her girls and there was thickening hatred in the family, they were looking for who was responsible for his death. Later on, as I began to understand life, I discovered that every widow in my town was responsible for her husband’s death and never the other way round. There and then I understood the politics behind male and female, the preference for male children and the silence surrounding violation of women and girls rights.
The inequality between men and women was the drive behind my strength, the more the violations, the more my inner power releases strength for me to survive the violations and experiences.
Birth and beatings
Gradually, the journey began, I got married to a tall, huge, broad shoulder and a Christian, I mean the every woman’s dream...
The story remains the same.
In May 25, 2002, I gave birth to my first daughter, I was not immediately discharged because I had Pregnancy Induced Hypertension and was in hospital for more than a week. After discharge from hospital, I expected my husband to support me in the caring for the child but it was new to me because he was always with his friend. I wondered if it would continue this way too; I thought I made the right choice for marrying a well educated and gentle man.
When the baby was twenty eight days old, I received the worst beating of my life, his blows were fully concentrated on my mouth, just for asking my husband to assist in carrying the baby for few minutes so that I can catch some sleep too, his reason for beating me like a forbidden snake was that I was disturbing his concentration while he was watching film with his siblings. He beat me to stupor; I ended in hospital the next day, with fractured jaw.
My scream woke his parents. His mother was the first to express her feeling, “How can you expect a man to carry a child? I have eight children, 6 male and 2 females, I never for once ask my husband to carry a child, you girls of nowadays are strange.” That was her comment.
My father in law, a man of few words, said his son was gentle - the provocation would have been so much for him to handle - I should not ask a man to carry a child again. They left as he began the usual apologies.
"No woman is free from slaps"
It was like the heavens were collapsing on me, I decided to file for divorce because I was afraid of moving forward in the journey of life with such a man.
I invited my immediate elder sister the same day and, after narrating my ordeal to her, she said,
“This is a Christian marriage, it is till death do you part. If he refuses, carry your child now and it is the duty of a woman to nurture children. Violence against women is part of life; it happens in every marriage. No woman is free from slaps. That is why they are called husband, head of the house and mind you, you brought him to us, nobody forced you to marry him. Violence is part of marriage,” she left afterwards.
While I remained dumbfounded about everybody’s responses, I knew I must quickly take some steps.
With the realization that I was alone in the world, and that I am responsible for my actions and consequences that follow, I took some time out to myself and I had time for reflection on my past life how I used to write and fight for our rights then, in the university. And I began again, to write poems, books drama, etc.
I began the struggle again because of those women out there, who would not know how to reflect and take action. I continue the struggle because of my daughters too, who are not fully accepted because they are not sons and they will one day be stuck if the struggle seizes.
Consequently, I got my groove back and my husband became an advocate for violence against women.
The fight is for us all
I became an advocate for sexually assaulted children and began to understand the dynamics of sexual assault.
The fight is for us all, for the generation of women who are yet unborn.
With the opportunity to join Worldpulse, and my award as one of the Voices of our Future, I knew that the end is not in sight.
There came opportunities to join leading women from all over the world, I began to learn about women again.
The story is the same
I visited Visthar in Bangalore for further training on Gender, Diversity and Transformation. Through learning about violence against women in India and the rest of the world, I discovered that the story is just the same only the geographical differences.
I picked special interest in Dalits women in India and rural African women because violence has levels too.
In furtherance, Mercy Kappen of Visthar recommended me for further training in Cape Town that is a 4-5 year on Transformation; it is a movement for women and men who are interested in one world for all.
Women wake from the slumber - the stage is set
This journey is unveiling by the day, because women worldwide have decided to awake from slumber.
The fight began sometime in the past and each passing day is a witness that the battle can be won, because there are more passionate women joining the stream of our cause; some women did it then and it is our turn to fight the battle now, the stage is set.
The battle is not replacing patriarchy with matriarchy; it is giving equal rights, access, control and opportunity for both female and male.
"World Pulse told me: I should report through the eyes of women so wherever I go as long as there are women there or their children too, may be their husband, I must report" - Olutosin.