It’s Time to Talk

From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.

In 2016, the UNiTE campaign strongly emphasizes the need for sustainable financing for efforts to end violence against women and girls towards the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

One of the major challenges to efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls worldwide is the substantial funding shortfall. As a result, resources for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women and girls are severely lacking. Frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals, which includes a specific target on ending violence against women and girls, offer huge promise, but must be adequately funded in order to bring real and significant changes in the lives of women and girls.

To bring this issue to the fore, the UN Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women’s call for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence in 2016 is ‘Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence against Women and Girls’. The initiative provides a moment to bring the issue of sustainable financing for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women to global prominence and also presents the opportunity for resource mobilization for the issue.

In support of this period of activities I’d like to share my experience. In my time of reflection I have made some interesting choices. However, with the treatment that I have received from this type of behaviour it should never be accepted.

I met a man who at first I thought was interesting and it was at a time in my life when meeting him I thought that he was nice. Things started well between us and I began to think that we were going somewhere. In my plight to make the relationship work, I found myself going above and beyond to ensure that I was doing the “right” thing. I now understand there should be comprise in a relationship. However what I did was give too much of myself and lowering my standards just to be accepted. I was in a phase where I wanted so much to please him that I disregarded my values and the image I was painting of myself because he would be happy

There were moments where I felt uncomfortable with what he wanted me to do and at that time, I was afraid that if I didn’t he would end it….I believe he noticed that because he would threaten to do it if I didn’t do what he wanted.

There were other instances where he would make decisions that affected us both without consulting me and when questioned, he got defensive and said that I don’t have to worry I just control the situation. When I decided not to follow through- he got annoyed.  Other moments occurred when I stood my ground at his requests, provided an alternative and he called me crazy for what he claimed he was saying what I had been rambling about all along – Mi ‘ead tough.

My time for redemption came when I did something wrong and that got him very upset. The request he made was his way of making things right but at that very moment, I remembered something my father said to me once “Hold yuh head high”. It was then I realized that my current situation should never be and that if I want to go I can always do so. I’m not tied to him, he doesn’t own me.

I ended it . 

Months passed and I fell for his charm again, then I realized that this second time wouldn’t work. Days after hearing him apologize and reassuring me that things would be different, he went right back to his old ways. The blatant disregard displayed for what he did in an incident that took place, was a sign that I would not be happy. I remember explaining how I felt about the past and was told that I was the reason why he was acting like that. It’s my fault.

Ending it again, I went through months of ignoring his messages, blocking him to ensure that he could not contact me after conversations that went nowhere. I must say that reflecting on what happened he did have a point; he was just being himself. I was the one that wanted so much to be someone else than myself. Since I was willing to do- what’s the issue? With this new information, I was willing to fully accept that he was NOT the one. I learnt that all that glitters is definitely not gold and I should never lower my standards to just be happy in a relationship.

With this negative experience I can say that I have grown, I’m not perfect but I’m no longer interested in him. That is one road that is impassable. I remembered our last conversation where in his plight to win me over, I was degraded. During this conversation he told me:

“You can’t afford to take care of me”

“You’re just a country girl, you’re nobody”

“The only reason why I’m talking to you is just cuz no one else is awake at this time”

If I am a girl that was conditioned by Disney to find my Prince Charming why should I settle for someone who thinks less of me? Where is the love? Looking back at that conversation I have achieved many things. Keeping those remarks in my mind I vowed then and still continue to be the best version of myself. You nah go more dan me.

I don’t  hate people  and I try not to malice either, there’s no progress to be had from that and life is too precious to waste time doing things like that.

It takes two persons to make a relationship work, as I said before I am not perfect but it doesn’t mean that I should be subjected to such treatment.

 

Sources – See more at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/take-action/16-days-of-activism#sthash.qiqWOrla.dpuf

UWI MUN Mental Health Week

The UWI Model United Nations hosted their Mental Health Week on March 21-24 with the theme Think Healthy. They believed “Mental health is in an integral part of our overall well-being but is not discussed enough in the public sphere. Recognising the importance of breaking the silence and increasing awareness, the UWI Model United Nations Club is playing its part through a Mental Health Week, March 21 – 24!! #ThinkHealthy” 

The week started with their video campaign that had persons such as Chevion Morgan express his views on living with a mental illness, how it has affected him and how he has been coping since. Having him, someone who is considered the life of the party share his journey, was a step closer to what UWI MUN aspired to achieve as it showed that Mental Health affects everyone.

On Day 2, the day of the Twitter chat, where persons could be apart of the conversation by using the hashtag #ThinkHealthy and give their input. Using 7 questions, the answers for each proved that the phenomenon considered to be taboo further justified the importance of mediums like the Mental Health Week, helping to remove the stigma for persons living with the illness and  their families faced.

When asked:

Persons replied with:

 

The activities continued on Day 3, with a Yoga session  where participants were given the opportunity to free their mind and body from all the tension they had before the exercise. The last which was the Symposium in Day 4, was informative as it was also emotional as persons shared their stories. Participants learnt on how they can deal with living with a mental illness, assist persons who they know who are living with these illnesses and how they can live on a day-to-day basis.

As a former Psychology student who has interacted with family, friends and strangers who are living with a mental illness, and trying to be healthy mentally. I believe that the UWI MUN achieved their goal of recognizing the importance of breaking the silence and increasing awareness in Mental Health. My eyes welled with tears when persons shared their views about their mental health, lines had been opened for persons to seek help if they were not sure where to go or too afraid to speak about their mental health.

Unless you’re in the situation you’ll never understand. Having this mindset can help us to respect the circumstances of others. I can only imagine what persons living with mental illnesses go through; it’s not only about the illnesses, it’s about your mental well being. What you think about when you wake up in the mornings, when someone tells you that you look nice but another person says you don’t. When your superior disregards your efforts when you know and there’s proof that you are working.

From my own experience; going through self esteem issues, the separation of my parents,  being violated by my step-grandfather and the repercussions that followed. Life will always give you lemons, sometimes you get cerasse but when you are able to rise above the issues, accept what is happening and make life better gradually. You then begin receive that peace of mind.

The Optimist Creed

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

These promises are what I use as a term of reference and fellow Optimists can tell you that though we may face trails looking that this creed helps to make the day better. Being an Optimist goes a long way. Ever noticed how people’s behaviour change when you kill them with kindness?

Be patient, accepting of the changes that may occur in your life, have a strong support system, avoid negativity and smile.

 

Sources:  https://www.smore.com/7a9fy-uwi-mun-mental-health-week

http://www.optimist.org/e/creed.cfm