Showing posts from 2014

Real men standing up

Men must teach each other that real men do not violate or oppress women – and that a woman’s place is not just in the home or the field, but in schools and offices and boardrooms. -- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
When conducting gender awareness trainings, one of the sessions I enjoy is listening to people from different cultures express what made them know they are boy or girl while growing up. While some are hilarious, many share how an adult made them realize what they were doing not appropriate for their gender. Habits like climbing trees were frowned upon for girls while habits like crying were quickly condemned for boys. Generally girls were encouraged to be submissive and obedient while boys were encouraged to fight and prove they are strong. Many men have memories of being made to fight off an aggressor to prove themselves. While childhood fights are encouraged by peers, for boys it was a mark of ‘manhood’ and the boy needed to prove that he is ‘a man’. A friend of mine shared …

Gifted differently: Sexuality and disability

“The only disability in life is a bad attitude” Scott Hamilton
Today I remember one great lady that I know. She was crying inconsolably, and many could barely understand what she was saying. This was unlike her usual bubbly smiling self. She was in pain. Eventually someone deciphered what she was crying about. We understood it then, she had been forced to have an abortion and she was bitter about this. She is deaf; she cannot hear or speak hence the difficulties in understanding what she was trying to communicate. She was not born with the condition but it developed after childhood illness hence she has never known speech. Her situation was complicated and I could tell where her family was coming from. She had two more children and did not have any gainful engagement. It was hard bringing up her children. The other element of her story is that it was never clear if she had been a willing participant or she had been raped. Apparently the perpetrator was known but nothing had ever been d…

The silent 'shame'

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”  Elie Wiesel
Silence and fear have been used against survivors of gender based violence. Women keep quiet because they dare not speak out and embarrass the abuser. She may be blamed for what happened. They are likely to be blamed for what happened if not suffer more violence in the process. Men on the other hand though in minority will not speak out since it is unexpected, unmanly to experience gender based violence.  

Sometimes the silence is forced by the perpetrator while other times, one just feels they have to keep silence.

I recall an experience I had in my childhood that has remained edged in my mind. I still recall that beautiful Monday morning when I was excited to start a new phase in life. I was 7 years old, and voila, I was getting to the ‘big school’ as we referred to the primary school. I was wearing my pink dress that my auntie had bought me…

Because they are human beings

Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation, and it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace.” Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary-General.Today is the international day on elimination of all forms of violence against women. It also marks the beginning of the 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence in the world. The campaigns goes for 16 days and ends on 10th December which is the international Human Rights day. This campaign aims to put a focus on violence perpetrated against women and girls. There are other days in between that are marked as well including the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day,(29th Nov,) World AIDS day (Dec 1)  international Day of disabled persons (Dec 3) Montreal Massacre (Dec 6), when 14 female engineering
students were massacred. 

When discussing issues of viole…

Who caused the fire? I cry for Kenya