My Super Women

For your strength in public

And your tears behind closed doors

For standing up for yourself

For loving and living

Choosing to always choose you

For prioritizing your happiness

And fighting your battles

For trying to move on

Hour by hour

Day by day

For looking for a way forward

Slowly and steadily

Waking up every day to fight

For your hustle and bustle

For your honesty and modesty

For you being you

You are brave

Facing each day with a smile

You are beautiful

In your strength and struggle

You are amazing

For balancing it all

You are worthy

Of love and every thing good

You deserve the world and much more

I pray to My Lord

To give you courage to face it all

To give you strength whenever you feel weak

To give you light whenever you face darkness

To give you warmth whenever you feel cold and alone

I see you.

I appreciate you.

I love you.

And I’m always here for you.

HER STORY

 

SENSITIVE TOPICS AHEAD!

 

I write this to share a story I hid deep inside, a story I fear being read, a story I wish no one ever experiences, but sadly many do.

I grew up surrounded by men, an only girl in a family of seven, I loved and trusted all my brothers, for I knew safety was home. safety was in the confines of our room, our room, one I shared with my 3 brothers. Growing up, money was tight but still life was good, we went to good schools, slept with our tummies full and walked around well dressed. I remember family road trips to the rural,  food made from mud and of course, family. Family made everything better.

One trip was different though, coming back we had a new guest to add, a cousin who wanted to study in the city, tired of the local run down college back home. A Harambee was done, and he was sent away to live with us. I was happy, gained another brother, 7-year-old me couldn’t stop smiling, another family member, another blessing.

“I know it’s hard adjusting to live with an extra person in a crowded room kids, but remember a guest is a blessing, I don’t want to hear any complains, understood?”

We all understood, no body wants to embarrass Mummy, so we all promised to be on our best behaviour.

Days passed, and we all got along so well that when asked, 7-year-old me had 5 brothers now, 5 brothers to play with, to eat with and to go home to, where home was safe, safe was our home.

A community pool opened up in our neighbourhood, one that was affordable to us, provided we saved up a week of our allowances, a measly Ksh 50 per head, so we did. And I couldn’t have been more excited, even though the only waters I knew were the rushing stream near Grandma’s house in the village and the big lake, where only big boys could swim because of the sharks and crocodiles.I’d watched Jaws with my brothers, there was no way I would risk swimming in shark and crocodile infested waters, I heard even an anaconda was spotted swimming one day! Finally I would know what it was like to swim. I couldn’t even sleep the day before.

Clad in my first ever mtush Disney one-piece,I was the happiest 7-year-old girl in the pool, it even had Bella and Cinderella! I stayed in the kiddie side of the pool, splashing water and holding the rail and kicking my legs into the water, enjoying with all the kids my age, and occasionally hitching a ride on the backs of my brothers’ backs, while others pretended to be sharks, it would have been the best day of my childhood, if the story ended there. The reason I probably remember everything in detail was because of the events that occurred after it.

My new ‘brother’ wanted to carry me around in the water, so I hopped excitedly, hoping for another games of Jaws and Crocodiles, only he was the monster after all. Creeping hands into my beautiful Disney one-piece, one that I found and burned a couple of years ago.

“SSSSShhhhh, don’t make a noise, I promise you’ll enjoy it, don’t let anyone see”

I didn’t enjoy it, I was confused and angry and scared, I was terrified. I didn’t know what was going on and I couldn’t tell anyone, not even Mummy, because she said

“NO COMPLAINS. BE ON YOUR BEST BEHAVIOUR”

That was the first time it happened, in a public pool, in front of my parents and 4 siblings.

Days later, it happened again.

Being the youngest and in Class One, school always ended early for me, I loved it because I had more time to read and play. I had a very healthy books collection because whenever I did something good, I was always rewarded with a new book, it wasn’t new in age, but it was a new story to read. I knew all about the Cunning Fox, the Quick Hare, the Wise Owl and the Brave Lion.

I had left school early, as always and I was excited to be home. I had recently passed my Mid Term examinations and I already had 3 books waiting for me at home. If I had realized earlier than it was home, I would have willingly stayed bored at school till 5 waiting for my brothers than go back home.

It cornered me in a room, alone and scared, still in my uniform where I was gagged and shoved on the floor. I tried fighting but it twisted my arms, successfully dislocating a shoulder, I think I passed out several times where I woke up in pain, in bed, face free of the tears I had wept, begging it to stop hurting me, begging it to stop, crying for it to leave me alone. It said it would kill me if I ever said anything, it was easy to squeeze my throat, it showed me by doing it. Or smothering me with a pillow, it was easy to do it too.

I walked around with a dislocated shoulder until it was too painful for me to handle, I showed Mommy and told her I had fallen in school playing at the monkey bars. It said no one would believe me, even if they did ask me, what happened, how was I to know what was going on? How would I say it? Every one was blind to it, and they loved it so much. When it realized, it had hurt my shoulder bad enough that I had to go to the hospital, it started being “nice and sweet.”

For 3 years, until it moved away to start a life, it bribed me with sweets and soda, promising never to hurt me again, never again. It was sweet to me for a long time, long enough for me to nearly forget.

But it happened again, again and again.

For 3 years until it moved away after finishing college.

I had stopped talking as much, no one noticed.

I didn’t want to leave the house as much, no one noticed.

I grew terrified of my own father and brothers, no one noticed.

It said I deserved it anyways.

I was JUST  7 YEARS OLD!!!!!!!

I took an oath to hate men, they were monsters, I had lived  and slept in the same room as one.

The room that was safe, haunted me in my nightmares.

I had night terrors, no one noticed.

I woke up in tears, whimpering and crying no one noticed.

I’ve never spoken out loud about IT, how could I?

I see it every holiday when I go to Grandmas

I see its wife

I see its daughters

I know Mum and Dad love it so much.

They call it son.

So how could they believe me?

No one would

They never noticed anything, why would they now?

The rage I feel for IT is so consuming so powerful

I wish I could burn it to ashes with my eyes

I shall never forget it

Never forgive it

The monster that I lived with

I can’t say who I am, or who IT is,

I never was one to cause chaos, I wonder if anyone would believe me, if they did, what would happen to it? Will they risk breaking up not one but two families based on something they never knew about?

I’ve seen around and I’ve heard the excuses.

“It’s too late”

“You should have spoken earlier”

“Why did you stay silent”

“We can’t do anything”

Sorry, I was scared for my life

I’m sorry I lived in fear

The statute’s expired while I drowned in nightmares

Since I can’t sue you here

I leave with my scars and cries

See you in the Court Above.

I still live with nightmares, I’ve seen therapists, counsellors and life coaches, it does get better, but when?

Every time a story like mine comes up in the news, I wake up terrified of my own shadow.

Every time I see the backlash and stigma in this topic, I am relieved I never shared mine, then angry, so angry and furious that our uneducated and uncivilized society would blame the victim, again and again.

I contemplated killing myself when I was ten, ten year olds SHOULDN’T EVEN THINK about killing themselves, but I did, I have tried several times, but I now know that it wasn’t my fault, I DESERVE TO LIVE, I DESERVE TO BE HAPPY.

Slow but steady, I have rough nights where I wish I could just off myself, I hate being touched by anybody at all times, I have panic attacks randomly and I am on depression medication. I have never been in a relationship, simply because I still do NOT trust easily, I understand that not all men are monsters, but I am yet to believe it myself. It took me years to accept love from and trust the male figures in my lives, my father and brothers, SEVERAL YEARS.

I AM A SURVIVOR!

I tell my story, not to gather any pity, but to remind others and myself, I have lived this far, reached this far, and hopefully will one day reach where I want to be.

“WhAt WeRe YoU WeArInG?”

A one piece long-sleeved Disney swim suit.

“YoU sHoUlDn’T hAvE wOrN tHaT!”

I was 7, and I was swimming.

“YoU InStIgAtEd It!”

I was  SEVEN YEARS OLD!

“PrObAbLy DoN’t FeAr God?”

I was raised in a Religious household, Religious God-fearing Household.

“WhY dIdN’t YoU SaY aNyThInG?”

I was terrified for my life, I was tied, gagged, smothered by a pillow, choked and it dislocated my shoulder.

“YoU cOuLd HavE sToPpeD IT!”

HOWWW????? I WAS SEVEN! HE WAS OLDER! STRONGER! MORE POWERFUL!

“ThReE YeArS? YoU oBvIoUsLy LiKeD iT iF iT hApPeNeD fOr ThAt LoNG!”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Any more ignorant and stupid idiotic questions?

 

All those who blame sexual abuse victims are as bad as the abusers themselves, we fail to provide a proper supporting society, and continue to stigmatize and terrify the survivors more.

UNTIL WHEN WILL PEOPLE SIMPLY UNDERSTAND THAT NO IS NO!

Child molesters and sexual abusers might be the scum of the earth.

We live in a terrifying world where a Sexual harassed or abused victims called a liar, even when there is proof, a coward for not stepping up sooner, a

Rape culture trivializes the experience of women while at the same time blaming us for what we’ve experienced. It perpetrates myths about why men rape and simultaneously underplays and exaggerates its impact on victims and survivors.

1 in 3 women has experienced sexual harassment.

Every 5 minutes, someone somewhere is being raped.

To every survivor reading this.

You are strong,

You are beautiful,

It was NOT your fault,

It never was, never will be.

I am sorry for society, its backward thinking and stupidity.

YOU ARE NEVER ALONE!

#METOO

 

 

*BASED ON A TRUE STORY, SOME DETAILS HAVE BEEN EDITED TO PROTECT THE SURVIVOR. 

 

ORGANIZATIONS THAT CAN HELP:

Childline Kenya : www.childlinekenya.co.ke

Wangu Kanja Foundation :  www.wangukanjafoundation.org

Gender Violence Recovery Centre (GVRC- Kenya):  www.gvrc.or.ke

Centre for Assault Recovery of Eldoret (CAR-E): +254 532033471, +254 53 2061005

Gender-based Violence Recovery Centre- Coast Province General Hospital ; 

Helpline: 254 20 2179519 / 2179521
Airtel 0734 466 466 , Safaricom 0722 208 652

 

Divinity FGM Rescue Centre: http://divinityfoundation.com/

CARA Girls Rescue Centre: https://caraprojects.com/

Women’s Rights Awareness Programme (WRAP): http://preventgbvafrica.org/member/womens-rights-awareness-programme-wrap-2/

 

 

Stay Home Little Girl!

Stay home little Girl

The world is big and bad

You wouldn’t survive it at all

Stay at home,

Don’t come out

Lock your doors

Don’t open them for none

Stay home

You need to be safe

Stay home

If you don’t want to be raped

Or abused

Or even killed right on the streets

But be wary

Of those you stay at home with

For sometimes betrayal comes from deep within.

So stay at home

But even so,

Don’t stay at home alone

With a man you don’t trust

But those that stab you in the end

Are those who’ve always had your back.

I’m not sure, now

Should you stay at home?

Risk your life?

Or go outside?

And risk your life?

When you go out,

Cover all

Don’t reveal

Not too short

You’ll be asking for it

Not too tight

How dare you!

Not too sleeveless

Not too showing

Not too beautiful

Are you serious right now?

Conceal

But even in jalabiyahs,

Do girls get raped too

So walk fast

But don’t run

You know what?

Maybe just run home

So you, little girl

Can stay safe

Be pretty,

But not too much

Don’t say you are pretty

Cause no one likes a vain princess

Be healthy, eat well

Be thin

Don’t eat too much

You need to fit in

Watch your surroundings well

Don’t draw attention to yourself

Hide your intelligence

Don’t reveal your thoughts

Let your speech be silent

No one wants a loudmouthed wife.

Do as your told

Don’t ask for your basic human rights

Listen to me little girl

Why should you always disobey?

Stay at home

Learn to cook and clean

To sew and stitch,

Maybe even learn to knit

Stay at home,

For that’s where you belong.

Not in a man’s world

Where at school

You fall prey to lewd glances from all,

Not in the roads,

Where you are vulnerable to all, not a thief, not a rapist, not a murderer

Not at home,

Where your own blood can turn against you

So stay in my heart little girl

I’ll protect you

I’ll give you my cavalry

Confidence and courage

I’ll give you an army

Women just like you

I’ll give you weaponry

Hope and dreams

I’ll teach you skills

To create a name for yourself

I’ll give you everything

So be careful when you leave home

Preserve your modesty

Know your worth

Have your goals

Speak

Let your voice be heard

Believe you can achieve

Let not any man bring you down

You are more than just your gender

I’m standing right beside you

Little girl,

Go forth and face the world.

You are pretty perfect,

Just the way you are.

Don’t change for the world

Go out and change the world.

 

Listen Up, NO means NO.

I feel my heart heavy

My feet dragging on

Everywhere I look

I see pain and heartbreak

Girls been raped

Abused then accused

There was consent

They lied

After all, they enjoyed it

And then they were asked

Why didn’t you speak up sooner

Stop changing the narrative

We know what happened

Even when were not there

We know

After being told

To cover up

Wash up

Clean yourself up

Then shut up

It’s done anyway

We’ll raise you higher up

Worry not,

We’ll give you free tuition

To cover up this flawed situation

Come on, we are in a corrupt nation

Seems like we gained naught from our education

That No means No

Say yes, say Yes

Even, when you tried to say no

We’ll prove it was yes, it was yes

Before educating me for free

A price you want to buy me

For my silence, for my screams

I’ll give you a lesson for free

NO MEANS NO

I say NO to your price

I shall not be bought

I say NO to silence

I stand NOT alone

I say NO to rape culture

I only wish I was heard

When I first said NO.

Let’s learn consent

If I was tricked into it, then it’s a NO

If I was drugged, Then it’s a NO

If I said yes, then changed my mind, it’s my choice, and I choose to say NO

If I was held hostage, knife on my throat, Trust me it’s a NO

If I did NOT explicitly, without doubt, force or willingness, say Yes, then it’s a NO

I owe you nothing

No matter who you are

Not my body, Not my choice

It’s mine, My decision to make

And if it’s a NO, It’s a NO

Take a hint, and LET GO, It’s A NO

How many more times

Do I have to repeat myself

I seem to be not passing the message through

But if I will be believed

Then

See you in court

See, I kept an If

Because in this corrupt country

With most high ups deep in bigotry

I doubt that I’ll ever be heard

But for you, listening

Reading this, and understanding

Share my story

So we can stand together

To fight this creature

An ugly monster

In the form of rape culture

#metoo

Monsters and Nightmares

I’ve lived through nights I wish I hadn’t

I’ve wished for death even by my hand

I’ve carved my skin, deep enough to feel pain, deep enough to let go

I’ve witnessed nightmares even while awake

I wished for the ground to swallow me up

I’ve wished for the room to close me in

For the last breathe to leave my body

Just so I could escape this world

I can still feel

The hands on my neck

Squeezing, with no aim to let go.

I can still feel

The wandering hands on my body

Leaving a slimy feel

Painful, aimed to hurt

I can still see

The darkness of the corner

One that was safe

Only it wasn’t hard to be found

I can still smell

The dust underneath the bed

My refuge

Before I got dragged out

The nightmares that I live with

All remind me

Of a beast I’d wish to forget

Only he never left.

These are tears of a rose.

From nightmares and monsters.

It starts slowly,

Like a horror film,

Then comes the screams of a little girl,

Held down, head on the cold floor

Tears streaming down her face

She refuses to look at him

Her gaze falls on her little Barbie doll

She barely is 6 years old.

She can feel the pain

Feel the anger

And my screams merge with hers

Only, they were mine all along.

Silent cries for help.

Nobody comes to help.

The absolute terror,

When anyone grabs her suddenly

She hates the feeling of contact

For all she knows

Is to never trust anybody

Men and women alike

She is safe from nobody.

The anxiety

Like dipping in cold water on a freezing night

Like drowning in sea water. eyes wide open

Like suffocating, just like his hands on her neck

She sees her nightmares every time she closes her eyes

Sees her monsters every time she opens them up.

She wants not to be touched,

Believes not in love

Never had faith in trust

Never hoped for a better life

How do I let her know

Not all beings are monsters?

How do I stop myself,

From whisking her away in my arms

To hold her tight in my arms so she could cry

To have her in my embrace till she stopped sobbing

To hide her in my heart

So she can know of the love I have for her

How do I tell her?

That she’s beautiful

Absolutely amazing

How do I give her hope?

For a better tomorrow.

How do I tell her?

That tomorrow, The sun will rise again

It’ll be better

So let the rain wash away

The tears in your heart

Let His Light, heal your wounds

Believe, and let Him fade your scars.

Have hope in your Lord.

To My Mother

To the one who conceived me

Carried me

Then had me

The one I troubled the most

Nurtured me and held me

Loved me and nourished me

In whose arms lies my comfort

To the one I love unconditionally

Who taught me right from wrong

Showed me the way

Held my hand as I walked

Encouraged me as I talked

Believed in me

When I lost that in myself

Supported me

Helped me up as I fell

To the one I’ll always go back to

This is my prayer for you

May Allah bless you

For each time you hold me

May Allah forgive you

For every tear you shed for me

May Allah keep you safe

For all the times you worry about me

May Allah make you among the women of paradise

May Allah raise your status in this life and the hereafter

Ya Rabb.

This woman I love

Protect her

Love her

Bless her

Look after her.

The one I call Mama

Ya Rabb

Give me the ability

To make her smile when she’s sad

To make her proud, here and forever

To make her happy, wherever she is.

Ya Rabb,

For the one I call mother

Is the one in my heart.

TILL I LOVE ME

Shallow standards of beauty are what I grew up seeing.

Perfect height, weight and assets to complement.

So anything other than that was not beautiful.

It simply could not be beautiful.

I always wondered about it.

For I see beauty in a smile,

Beauty in tears,

Beauty in pain

And beauty in a storm.

I am astonished by strength,

Intrigued by bravery

And inspired by courage.

I see beauty in a stroke of a painter’s brush,

In a paragraph of a writer’s book,

And in the words of a poet.

I see beauty in almost everything I encounter.

What I did not see, was beauty in me.

I fell in love with the passionate souls that choose to believe in their ability to create art.

I wonder what would someone find beautiful?

Plain brown eyes. Dull skin and messy hair?

I look at the mirror every day and wonder how anyone would think that I was beautiful.

Not only in my appearance, but for who I am too.

Would someone like me when I ramble on?

Would anyone see beauty in what i write?

Would anyone see the pain in my words and choose to stay?

Is there beauty in who I am?

I wish I had an answer. I don’t.

And even if somebody said yes, I probably would not believe it.

Not right now.

Not until I believe in myself.

Until I love me.

I am learning, to love myself for everything I am and what I do.

For my weird habits and silly rambles.

For who I am.

And also, for how I look.

Until I love me. I shall continue searching for these answers.

Or maybe once I know. I wouldn’t need any answers.

When I find one thing I like,

I’d find a thousand more to hate

Little things to always pick on.

For I will know the truth.

Until I forgive myself

For all that I have done

For all the mistakes I wronged myself

For the pain I put myself through.

Maybe then I’d learn to forgive others too.

I do not see this at all.

I justify all the wrongs I have faced with what I see in the mirror.

I look at the reflection and I don’t see someone who deserves to be happy.

I see broken pieces

I see shards

I see secrets

I see lies and sins

How can someone live with a person like this?

Till then, when I learn to love me all

All the broken pieces and cracks

Then, I wait for.

I do sometimes,

Like the happiness behind a smile

When I smile and my reflection smiles back.

For then I know, I can still be happy.

The nights I fear most,

Is those I feel nothing

Never ending numbness

No hate

No love

No pain

No hurt

Those I fear.

When I force myself to feel.

Worry not,

I have not despaired

For the Believers, there is no despair

I hope the day comes soon

When I love picking up a pen and writing again

When I feel the warmth of a loving gaze

When I smile from my heart

And let it show on my face

When I can say

With assuringly

And truly

I love me

For my self

For my being

For who I am

For what I do

For what I’ve been through

And for all that I’m about to be.

Till I love me

Justice For Zainab

A little angel,

Just started to fly.

Little flower,

Just started to bloom.

Little innocent baby,

Gone. Never to laugh anymore.

I cry for you.

May you be avenged Little Love.

My heart cries for you.

May justice be served for you.

For your parents, I pray for patience

May they have courage

May they be brave

To fight for you, and for what could have been

May you be a treasure to them in the hereafter

Little Zaynab, May you be reunited with them in Paradise.

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