Until it’s over , let’s talk
Ever wanted to focus on something but then something else of equal importance pops up and you wonder whether to re- strategize? Maybe, maybe not.
I stand rather perturbed, doleful and excruciated by the recent incidence of Gender Based Violence against a 22 year old pregnant housewife for allegedly stealing and nagging. She suffered severe injuries but her child is safe (thank you Lord) following the medical treatment she received from Lang’ata hospital.
If I was a judge , my sentence to the perpetrator would be life imprisonment because that is a direct endanger to life. In fact he’s release on bail would have a restraining order. It’s saddening how our justice system is corroded by a series of graft allegations.
Judiciary: The institution mandated to deliver justice in line with the constitution and other laws. It is expected to resolve disputes in a just manner with a view to protecting the rights and liberties of all, thereby facilitating the attainment of the ideal rule of law.
What part of this definition is implemented in our country’s judicial system? By virtue of being ‘a common mwananchi’ do my rights dilute and for some reason I have no right to experience the full privilege of been Kenyan?
Well, maybe that is difficult to answer, so let me pose another query. What part of a woman reads ‘hit me at your own convenience’? It beats me when women are continuously battered, even worse to death for being ‘a woman’. The feminine nature is complex and that’s what makes us unique anyway, but so are men. Life is about accommodating each other regardless of our difference in human nature.
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size But when I start to tell them, They think I’m telling lies. I say, It’s in the reach of my arms The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me.
Without diverting any further from my original thought, let me delve into matters FGM.27th January 2016, enorute to Kajiado with my colleagues for a Zero Tolerance to FGM meeting. Located in the heart of Kajiado County, lies a hilly, quiet and green terrain characterized by a population that’s predominantly of Maasai culture. As you approach Kajiado town, it’s a beehive of activities, defining its fast economic growth.
I am exhilarated, mostly because I’ll get to purchase Maasai’s best ornaments, unapologetic about my love for fashion. Our first stop is at a modern restaurant at 8am for breakfast as we prepared for the meeting.
Of course I have always been angry about Gender Based Violence and FGM is all part of it, but that’s as far as my anger goes. The meeting goes on well and the activity plan for 6th February 2016 is on point. We all seem to see in one direction in the commitment to fight the practice and according to the theme, hopefully put it into extinction by 2030.
This was closely followed by a visit to a local public primary school where some girls were sheltering after they ran away from FGM and early marriage threats. When we arrive, we get a hearty welcome from m the head teacher who’s humbled by our visit. He quickly calls other teachers to acknowledge us and call the girls.
As we stand outside the staffroom we recognize a new building which we are informed is where the girls sleep. The building is sponsored by a foreign investor in the quarry business within the locality. ‘Here they are’ the head teacher calls out.
Youthful, beautiful, focused, enthusiastic and hygienic is all I could see as the group of ten girls approached us. We are informed that the uniforms have been donated by their fellow students and well-wishers. Evidently, this was the first time such a huge number of people were coming to visit them. At face value, you could easily denote everything is fine, at least they have somewhere to seek refuge, but the story behind their faces, formidable.
They all ran away from different homesteads in December 2015 after they were forced into Female Genital Mutilation to be considered eligible for marriage. Their homes over 40 kilometers from Kajiado town, almost proved difficult for them to set free but thanks to the women network Iloodoklani, the girls found a place to seek solace. The group pleaded with different local primary schools to accommodate the girls while they try getting support from the county government.
This has not been an easy road as some county officials believe in the practice and thus do not carry these cases with the magnitude they deserve. In addition, some men are married to women who’ve undergone the cut and believe it’s normal practice. This belief is deeply entrenched in them that some chiefs sabotage rescue missions to save girls locked up to undergo the cut.
Well, having a roof on top of their heads is a blessing but not enough to sail them through as food, water, clothing and sanitary towels are impossible not to have. The teachers and the network have overstretched themselves to provide what they can but at this point the future looks blurry.
Every child has an equal right to education, proper healthcare and every other possible basic right but is equality for all or for those who can afford it? It’s rather unfortunate that the poor girl in Kajiado will have to sit for the same exam as a child in a private school and with access to much more. If this is not worse, they will scramble for the same job opportunities. You can guess who’s is likely to have an upper hand.
I could talk about the unequal distribution of resources but it would equate to trying to explain what you can already see. It’s however time to walk away from retrogressive cultures. FGM does not add any value to the girl; rather it robs a woman of a chance to enjoy the unwavering beauty of her anatomy. Maturity as often justified for the carrying out of the act, can only be instilled through a strong value system. Among other dangers include the risk to contracting hepatitis, difficulty during birth and formation of cysts. More dangers .
As part of finding an alternative to these practice, communities need to be sensitized and among them have champions who can carry the message especially men who are married to uncircumcised women. Political good will is inevitable in this fight because according to communities, leaders are considered as opinion shapers. Lastly, legal action ought to be fully exercised against those that force the act on the girls including instigators.
There is hope in this long-standing journey but it starts with the little you can do. Give a donation or join movements against the cause so that our girls see the light of day, free from cultural barriers and a chance to a life they envision.
SAVE OUR GIRLS!!!