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

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The Voice Within

I’ve been silent for too long and want to use this as an opportunity to empower and let other women know that they are not alone…..

 

My incident began when I was in Grade 10 with my boyfriend who I knew from Grade 9. My downfall in the relationship was that I never took the time out to know him; who he was, his  background and who his family was. Many times we don’t know the most important details.

I was stifled and beaten. After being beaten, I was brought before the mirror and further degraded by being told that I was ugly. It got so bad to the point in which I was extorted for money- my own boyfriend demanding money from me…..

There was one incident where I was beaten to the point in which my face was swollen. Few persons knew what had happened and others wanted to know what had happened to my face. I went to school and when I got there, some of the girls were jeering me. When I walked pass, one of them said:

“some a dem man a beat dem”.

My self esteem was depleted, I had to make up lies at times to not let people know what was going on with me when the signs were there- I was being abused. It got bad to the point where the police had to intervene and a restraining order was issued for him to leave me alone.

After the relationship I realized that his Dad was beating his mother.

 

A time to heal is not overnight…

 

Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do but I want to make peace with myself. Confidential people are always hard to find. In my experience, persons would be all concerned wanting to know what was happening between me and him and as soon as they get the details; go right back to him and tell him everything.

I must say THANK YOU to my friends Fiona Grant and Andrea Irvine for being there for me in such a tough time. They offered their support and also got me to see the guidance counselor.

No one wants to get involved in domestic violence unless it is public. We see this happening many times even when law enforcement is involved. We should be using social media to lobby against violence against women rather than promote it. The social construct we are conditioned to believe is the perception of men and women. Ladies must be seen and not heard; they must be submissive if not, they are battered. Men want to express themselves but are looked down upon as weak.

It is OK to say that you are NOT OK. Be honest with yourself, if you are not able to you will have problems with others and the situations you’re facing. Empowerment becomes evident when we talk about the things we’ve been hiding- our experiences and what we’ve learnt from them. I chose LIFE over everything. I could have died in the process of being that man’s girlfriend.

This brings me to the issue of discrimination for persons based on their age. The common misconception of adults towards  young adults and children is that we  no have nuttin fi worry bout. Preconceived notions like that have caused for some children and even young adults to believe this. Some persons are going through real issues, some are able to find help while some are not fortunate enough to get it. So many thoughts and emotions are bottled up for many persons out there.  The society we live in has taught us to pretend. Too many of us are pretending that things are OK when our world is falling apart.

We live in a world of pretense (patch work), where we fix some things to an extent so that we can ‘show face’. However there is a whole lot of unfinished business behind the facade.

 

I can Share, I can Inspire

In the same way that the mirror was used to damage I am using it to rebuild myself. Crying is not a sign of weakness but a sign of release. Life is like the seasons, and in order to gain a rebirth we have to loose some things. Just like a tree looses its leaves in autumn.

 

Tina Renier