Relationships

We Need More Positive African Stories

I’m becoming addicted to watching  CNN. Nowadays, American politics, the war in Syria (as if that’s not depressing enough) and small bits of pieces of News from Europe dominate the channel. A couple of nights back, I was watching the African Voices segment on it and it was refreshing to see Africa painted in a positive light.

There was this Rwandese guy who is a designer and designs really cool, African print bowties among other items of clothing. We saw him drive to the market to buy vitenges(African print material/African batik fabric), visit the barber shop to trim his Patrice Lumumba inspired look and go for a morning walk. And I was happy that the world was seeing a different side of Africa. Not the usual depressing news of war, starvation, terrorist attacks,  political coups, poverty, retrogressive cultures, illetracy and what nots.

Internet Sources

Internet Sources

That’s not all Africa is made up of. The negatives and unprogressive life. I know by now that the Middle East is starting to get pretty tired of all that negative reporting of the continent. The African continent equally got so tired of it a long time ago, that an African would not hesitate telling off a foreigner, who still views the continent through the misguided lense of the Western media. And I think CNN is starting to move away from the stereotypes and depressing stories of Africa. Kudos to them!

There is alot about Africa that the world needs to know. It really irritates me when I encounter individuals on Facebook groups, who still think that Africa is lagging behind in the 20th century, when the rest of the world is so 21st century. You need to open up your eyes to what this continent has to offer, other than what you have over time believed is the real thing.

A lot of foreign news reporters will mostly visit the marginalized areas of Africa or the slum areas or conflict areas and do stories about those. Their intentions may indeed be pure as they would like to bring these issues to the world’s attention. However, most of the time, these kinds of stories only serve to mislead the recipients, who may lack the zeal to dig deeper about the African way of life.

Africa is a progressive continent. There are developed urban areas, improved infrastructure, up to date technologies, learned individuals, talented individuals, exposed individuals. It’s not all about animals and living on trees wearing nothing but a flap of skin to preserve our modesty. As a matter of fact, I believe some of the well dressed individuals come from Africa.

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

What many people from the West may not know is that aside from the Maasai culture in Kenya, there are more than 10 other different cultures from the 43 different Kenyan tribes.

For the longest time possible, Western media really concentrated on the Maasai community. And with good reason, don’t get me wrong! This is one of the communities in Kenya and Tanzania that has upheld most of its original cultural practices pre-colonial times. It is a rich culture that tends to fascinate the West and people not from the two countries.

However, it would surprise many that other communities in Kenya despite the Western influence in their way of life, still carry out their respective cultural practices to date. Take this personal encounter, for example. I’m sometimes a storyteller, so bear with me on this.

A friend of a friend was getting married sometime in 2013. So as is synonymous with my country, we do a traditional wedding first before the White church wedding that is Western influenced.

Internet Sources

Internet Sources

I happened to tag along. Now in her community, the girls have to be covered from head to toe in two pieces of a lesso (wrapper) for the hubby-to-be to identify who his wife-to-be is. In our midst, there were two girls who had the same skin tone and similar looking feet.

One was of course the lady getting married. And we had this hilarious moment, advising her to tie a colored band on one of her toes and alert her fiance about it via text, before we came out so that he doesn’t get confused and fined, for picking the wrong girl.

So the older women covered us up, all girls about the same height in the lessos and we were guided outside where the ceremony was taking place. Believe it or not, the hubby-to-be seemed a little confused and nearly chose the girl with feet that resembled his wife-to-be, despite the colored band he had been alerted to earlier missing on the girl’s toes.

I mean, these are some of the cultural practices from other communities in Africa, that the Western media can do stories on other than the usual. Just to show how over time the African culture has blended in with the Western culture.

If you thought illetracy ruled the African continent, you should take a look at the highly talented graduates, from many of our universities. People who come out of campus not with a job mentality but a vision to be self employed and despite whatever financial constraints they may face, strive to achieve their goals. And many times, if they are committed enough to their dream, their efforts pay off.

We do appreciate the genuine curiosity of foreigners who would love to truly know about our continent. But just don’t lump me in the athletics team in campus overseas, just because you assume being a Kenyan, I can automatically run. Not all of us Kenyans have the ability to do long distance running and that’s because we are equipped and talented differently. We possess a diversity.

Being from the African continent and proudly so, I would advice anyone seeking to do an African story to intergrate himself or herself with the African society. Visit the developed areas, watch how the African carries his/her day to day activities and trust me, despite what we may face as a 3rd world continent, you are going to get beautiful, positive stories to tell the world about us.

My 2016 In Perspective

Happy New Year Readers!

I have been MIA for a while. Well, I’m back now and I decided to do a recap of how my just ended 2016 unfolded.

Favorite song of the year:

My favorite song of the year 2016 definitely had to be Yemi Alade’s feat Sauti Sol’s Africa. I loved and still love everything about this song from the video to the musical arrangement to the Nigerian meets Kenyan fusion. This is a song I will listen to for a long time.

Career:

My career decided to play tricks on me for the better part of 2016. Let’s just say I tended to make some decisions regarding my career that were not very wise as I would eventually discover. That’s definitely something that’s going to change this 2017.

Blogging and Writing:

Well, I have been doing these two for the longest time possible and 2016 continued to prove to me that I should keep up with it. I got opportunities to contribute to a Kenyan digital magazine twice for the October and December/January issues.

Earlier on in the year, I also got an opportunity to meet with a popular columnist on one of our dailies, who gave me a wealth of ideas as well as advice concerning the direction my writing should take. He actually inspired some of the changes I made on the blog. My most favorite posts that I did for the year 2016 had to be;

http://www.definitelylorna.wordpress.com/african-women-and-sexism

and

http://www.definitelylorna.wordpress.com/the-day-we-decided-black-lives-dont-matter

I’m hoping to do many more insightful and interesting posts this year so watch this space 🙂

Love Life:

2016 was pretty interesting on that front. No knight in shining armor yet. Lots of sifting through guys who are just not ready for committed relationships yet. I had a lot to write about relationships in 2016 on the blog plus valuable lessons were learnt. So let’s just see how 2017 unfolds in that department.

Family:

Thank God for family! How would we survive without that? Family came through this year for me every step of the way. The best feeling is knowing there are blood relatives, who have your back even when things might seem not to be going right.

 

For my fans who have kept up with me do drop suggestions on the comment section below, on topics you would like me to tackle this year on the blog falling under the categories;

feminist ramblings, banter, musings and relationships

 

 

Are Nairobians Heartless?

Image result for nairobi

Ariel view of Nairobi, Kenya. Photo Credit: Internet Sources

I got the inspiration to do this post from Giulia’s  www.justanothersinglegirlinlondon.com/are-londoners-heartless. It got me thinking whether her perception of London, the city she currently resides in, resonated well with how Nairobians behave miles away.

Nairobi has been dubbed the “city under the sun” and to foreigners, it is the most hospitable and vibrant places to live in. With it’s cosmopolitan population, great eat out places to hang out, Uber taxi services, 5 star hotels, large malls and tourist sites, tourists quickly find themselves at ease within the city.

However, for a Kenyan who is new in Nairobi, it will quickly dawn on you how Nairobians can be such cold, aloof individuals. The explanation usually given for this, is the fact that you can’t just trust anyone’s intentions in the city. And of course the all too famous explanation, that life is fast in Nairobi and so people are definitely busy.

For a newcomer who has just landed in the city for whatever reason, you will quickly discover that Nairobians just do not say hi to anyone. Probably your attempts at genuinely greeting strangers on the street will be met with a suspicious look and quickening of steps. Trying to ask for directions will prove a futile attempt, as nobody will seem to believe that you are indeed lost.

If you are unfortunate enough to ask the wrong person for directions, you will quickly end up earmarked for a possible mugging, that will leave you even more scared of being in the city. A single Nairobian will rarely help someone who is getting mugged on the street not unless many eyes have equally seen the mugging take place and are swift to “help” with mob justice.

Mob justice usually involving clobbering the thief to death or near death. You will often wonder where this mob comes from for it happens within the blinking of an eye. But for the one person who sees someone being pick pocketed and keeps quiet, it is not so much because that person is heartless, but rather due to the fear of the unknown.

You are not sure if the thief is armed and whether they will turn on you instead for speaking out. So the seasoned Nairobian will look the other way and only mention the mugging once he/she gets to the confines of his/her home.

A newcomer in the city will also have to contend with brash touts and matatu drivers and extremely loud, disco like music in matatus. Your requests for the music to be turned down a little will fall on deaf ears. You will probably board the wrong matatu one too many times, only to be met with an unsympathetic tout who will admonish you loudly for not looking at the routes being plied by the particular matatu properly, before boarding.

Then you will be forced to pay the fare and then get dropped off at a place you are not even sure of, only to begin the hurdle of asking for directions again. And did I mention that the fare in the city, is never that friendly to newcomers, used to cheaper life in other towns in Kenya? The graffiti on some of the buses will remind you of some of the demonic signs to look out for, that your village pastor warned you about in one of his fiery sermons.

The many pedestrians on the street will literally suffocate you in downtown Nairobi. So will the matatus that cut corners and reverse dangerously within the CBD make your heart nearly leap out of your chest. You will also be privy to horror stories of individuals who met their death, from dangerous driving and reversing of matatus within the city centre or on various city routes. You will begin to wonder what brought you to Nairobi in the first place.

Neighbors will not seem that willing to befriend you. You will probably have to endure many greetings going unanswered and very few pleasantries from people who live around you. The few who will seem genuinely friendly, will only want to prod where you have come from and what has brought you to the “city under the sun”.

If you are a single male, you will have to endure sophisticated city chics rebuffing your attempts to charm them countless times. Either you will seem too upcountry to them in your thinking or dressing or too poor to take them out on a proper date to Java, Artcaffe, Brew Bistro and the likes. Your village accent will also prove to be a major turn off to the women of Nairobi, who speak polished British English.

However, you will soon get used to the fast life of the city, upgrade your dressing and manners and surprisingly, acquire the very mannerisms that repulsed you when you were very new. One day you will walk down the street and someone will be lying down on the pavement and you won’t bother to look, assuming he/she is probably drunk or one of the street beggars. It will then dawn on you that the city bug of coldness and aloofness has bitten you.

An Increasing Number Of Kenyans Are Addicted To Pornography

I know the title of my post today is going to set tongues wagging but I state the above with good reason.

I’m a frequent guest of cyber cafes. I have been a blogger for close to 3 years now. Actually, I clock 3 years of continuous blogging on different blog sites and this particular blog next month. And in all that period, I have frequented cybers and logged into computers for public use, several times only to be accosted by images of naked men and women. Meaning that the previous user(s) was/were viewing some pornographic material online. Forget the warnings of “No viewing of pornography sites” that many cyber owners like to paste on their walls. An increasing number of Kenyans are addicted to pornography.

Now I’m not trying to be a moral judge and point fingers at people. On average, I think all Kenyans have come across images of near naked men and women alike in addition to simulation of sexual acts in mostly raunchy and risque music videos, soap operas and movies. Born again Christian or not, Muslim, Jew or Hindu, if you are a user of our matatus sometimes the screens overhead showcase all kinds of risque music videos which you have probably glanced at, albeit unwillingly. It is a fact of life that sex is believed to sell and therefore, entertainers maximize on their sexuality.

Anyways, this morning was no different for me. I log into a computer and see one of the sites being surfed by a Kenyan was a pornographic site. It is an observation and a worrying observation. And while some people may choose to argue that pornography has no grave effect on a person and may even spice up sex in a relationship, I tend to slightly disagree. I’m not going to dictate what my fellow countrymates should watch or shouldn’t. It is a personal adult choice.

However, I am going to state that an addiction to pornography leads to feelings of guilt, shame and often an addiction to sex. In this era when HIV/AIDS is a reality in addition to numerous life threatening STIs, an addiction to sex is a road I doubt any normal functioning human being would like to take. Pornography addiction often fuels a lack of respect toward the female gender. Most of these female adult movie stars tend to be violated by the opposite sex in the movies. It might be for show but for the viewer, it only does a good job of instilling the sexual stereotype that women are sexual objects and should be treated as such. Many sex offenders have been known to have a secret addiction to pornographic material. Sex in these movies is often depicted as a sense of dominance by a man to a woman.

Bestiality acts are a constant feature in some pornographic material. Kenyans may laugh and create memes mocking individuals who have been caught red handed having sex with animals and maybe beaten to death by irate residents but in reality, this is a sad situation. For a normal human being with sexual desires for a fellow human being to end up choosing to have sex with animals, something in his psychology must have been previously corrupted by something else. I refer to a he, because in all the incidences Kenyans have heard concerning bestiality, the perpetrator is often of the male gender. However, I state again that I’m not using my post to judge but to enlighten.

Paedophilia stems from pornography addiction. Children have been molested by guardians and adults who are charged with protecting these children. Children have been lured into shooting pornographic material for perverted individuals, who only care about feeding their warped sexual desires in addition to making money in whatever unscrupulous ways. Nobody wakes up one morning deciding to molest a child. He/she must have gotten molested in the past as a child or corrupted gradually to the point where the act being committed does not seem warped to him or her anymore.

Lastly, pornography is breaking marriages and relationships. Forget the belief that it can be used to revive an otherwise dead sexual aspect of a relationship. Pornography will only give an individual unrealistic expectations for his/her partner. The saying of “I want a lady in the streets but a freak in the bed” further proves the kind of unrealistic expectations we are setting for our partners. Of course sex needs to be enjoyed but expecting your wife to do what you saw some woman paid to do it for entertainment on a blue movie, is in reality unfair. Rape happens in marriages and all because we allowed our minds to be drawn to pornography and we are now on a path to sexual self destruction.

The most vulnerable are our children of this generation who are growing up in a technology fueled era where they can access all kinds of gadgets. If you are already a parent, it is time to check if your young son or daughter is already being exposed to pornographic material. It might save you future heartache.

For Men, It Is A Pleasurable Activity; For Women, It Is Often Laden With Stereotypes.

I’m a talkative person. Perhaps that is what makes me privy to sometimes, weird conversations. I shall not reveal identities for obvious reasons but I shall definitely share.

Someone of the female gender this week, shared with me that someone else of the male gender, had warned her against allowing a female friend of hers from holding her infant child. Why? Because according to this man in question, since he suspected that the lady friend to the one who shared with me the info was sleeping around, then she would be dangerous to the baby. In short, when a baby is handled by a person sleeping around, a woman for that matter, then that baby constantly falls ill.

thisisafrica.me

thisisafrica.me

I don’t know if this applies to other African countries but in my country, there is that cultural belief among some ethnic groups, that your baby should not be handled by a cheating husband or promiscuous woman. Sadly, this person who also happens to be my friend wanted to find out from me if it was indeed true. I didn’t even know what to tell her. But I had so many unanswered questions in my mind that I doubt will ever get satisfactory answers.

Did that mean that single women were not supposed to hold their married friends’ babies because they were unhitched and definitely sleeping around? The lady in question is single and the one with the child is married. Does that mean that men now have the mandate to decide for a woman, who is to hold her baby and who shouldn’t considering the fact that this man, has no relation whatsoever to my friend? Explain the relation between sexual activity and being a contagious transmitter of illnesses to young children. And why are women often judged so harshly in matters sex?

Sometimes it is really difficult to question culture and tradition. And especially, when belief is deeply ingrained in individuals. As a matter of fact I found the whole conversation to be in bad taste. I felt as if the stereotype of women engaging in sexual activity as being dirty, was further being propagated against someone, I was made to vow never to disclose the information to. Of course I wouldn’t. How would I start even?

The fact that it was a man who had come up with this whole conclusion made it even worse. What right did he have to judge a hapless woman who probably had no ill intentions toward the said child? Why didn’t he warn my friend against letting both men and women handle her baby because of their so called philandering ways? Why only the woman?

And was it a possibility now for my friend to avoid her friend and therefore create a rift between them because of this information? Would she be blamed for being suspicious now of her friend’s motives each time she wanted to hold her baby? Isn’t loving one another as we love ourselves the right thing to do?

The fact that in many societies the sexuality of women, is always associated with negativity while the sexuality of men, is often associated with some sense of pride, further contributes to some of these deeply ingrained notions. Indeed it is so bad to the extent where some people believe that women who get raped brought it unto themselves. Perhaps they wore the wrong attire or they attracted the wrong attention or they walked in the wrong places after dark, are the reasons that this section of people use to justify why a woman got raped.

I have encountered misplaced stereotypes in the past against single women living alone. With some men thinking that a woman renting her own place has all the freedom in the world to invite different men to her house for sexual activity. Nobody judges a single guy living alone even though in some cases, the evidence of a string of different women spending the night on consecutive days, is open for others to see. But they are just being typical guys! We often assume. Men and women alike. That is what guys do! We conclude. Save me the explanation that men cannot last long periods without sex.

Since when did chastity only apply to women and not men? But that is how society has over time defined the sexuality of men and women. That is why malicious sexual propaganda is often targeted at the female gender and not the male gender. It is a sad state of affairs and one laden with double standards. When I see learned people who have lived in urban areas thinking the same, I know that it will be nearly impossible to change how things have been.

 

Single Parenting And Judging The Woman Harshly

Single Dad:

Oh, the mother of his child must have been very irresponsible! 

He must be very courageous and kind hearted to choose to raise his child/children by himself…

Oh let me prove to him just how much of an awesome stepmum I can be to his kids…He’s just too alluring.

Single mum:

money101.co.za

money101.co.za

She must have been those hardheaded types who cannot stay put in marriages!

Or maybe she got her baby with a married man…

I cannot date a woman with extra baggage in the form of kids…

What if her son starts demanding for an inheritance from me yet I’m not his biological dad?

It is no secret that single mums are often judged more harshly than their male counterparts in a similar situation. But why the double standards?

Well, I sought to find this out from one of my male acquaintances who sadly, is of the chauvinistic thinking that a woman who ends up single parenting is in essence, damaged goods. So I asked why he thought such women were no longer eligible candidates in the dating world and his answer was quite interesting; No man wants to interfere with another man’s turf.

Fair enough. But why are we willing to interfere with another woman’s turf per se? Why are single dads viewed as heroic in their efforts to raise their children by themselves while single mums are viewed as failures for doing the same?

Is it because of the sexual stereotypes that have forever been applied to women? The idea held by some, that women should be virgins before marriage but men can be excused for being sexually active before marriage. Is it a woman’s fault for ending up a single mum? Has she any control over what happens once a baby is conceived and the relationship with the baby’s father takes a turn for the worse?

While looking at the single parenting scenario, we have no choice but to acknowledge that times have indeed changed. While it was once in order, ethical even, for two people to get children in a marriage and stay put through thick and thin, nowadays, many more individuals are ending up as single parents either by choice or as a result of certain circumstances.

Blame it on exposure or the feminism wave but in recent times, it is not entirely uncommon, for two individuals in a certain relationship involving children to want out if things seem not to be working. It may not seem like an entirely wise decision seeing that the children are the ones who are likely to end up quite affected, but we really have no control over how two people choose to solve their relationship issues.

However, I find it baseless judging the women in single parenting scenarios more harshly than the men in the same. What if we chose to reason similarly for both sexes regarding what might have drove them into single parenting? Is it possible for us to do so even, judging by some of the chauvinistic attitudes that have over time been deeply embedded in our societies?

Methinks that irrespective of whatever sex a person is, the choice to singlehandedly raise a child/children is indeed a courageous one. It does not mean that the child may grow up deficient as many would like to assume. There are living examples of children who have been raised by single parents and have gone on to become wholesome adults in future. It all depends on the parenting style chosen by the single parent.

And while I’m no advocate for the kind of drama some of these clueless children are subjected to once their parents’ relationship sours, I’m of the idea that a single parent can equally raise a child perfectly. Of course this child may be deprived of the presence of one parent but it may come as a surprise to you, that many children in single parenting households, see nothing amiss with one parental figure missing.

They may only feel something was amiss if the parent in their lives sadly, fell short of being someone they could look up to for their well being and security. Quite a number of children from single parent households have gone ahead to do amazing things with their lives. They are actually individuals whose parents can be proud of.

In my statements above, I’m not trying to trash the family unit. I’m all for the family unit of both parents and children. However, if it so happens that one parent is conspicuously absent, then the other parent should be in a position to step in and try as much as they can to fill the gap for both parents. Whether this parent is male or female. Of course challenges are inevitable in single parenting but the welfare of the child is all that matters in such a scenario.

When we choose to judge single parents with regards to their gender, we are in essence alluding to the stereotypical thinking that women ought to be tamed by marriages. And men should be placed on a pedestal for doing something that only a woman is considered capable of doing. Parenting is a two way thing. Once one decides to become a parent, whether a man or woman, then they should factor this in the back of their minds that their child needs their input.

A single father raising his kids singlehandedly is in essence doing what is required of him should the other parent choose to abscond her duties for whatever reason. It is the same thing with when a single mother decides to raise her kids singlehandedly. She is only doing what is required of her as the parent of the opposite gender.

However, I’m aware that there are women who knowingly choose to be single mums and have no intention whatsoever of providing their children with a father figure. Such a woman should be in a position to think critically of the implications of this to her children, before going ahead with making that particular decision.

Like I mentioned, the welfare of the child should always be put into consideration. If at all this woman is denying her child/children a father figure knowing fully well that she will do a poor job at parenting, then she has nobody else but herself to blame.

What are your thoughts?

What Would You Do If Your School Aged Daughter Told You She Has A Boyfriend?

wallpapersinhq.pw

wallpapersinhq.pw

 

“Mum there’s something I want to tell you. Promise me you won’t get mad.” Your pre-teen or teenage daughter implores one day. Being the good, modern mum who doesn’t fancy resembling your own mum on how she handled communication with you while growing up, you sit down patiently and nod your head in encouragement for your daughter to go on.

“Well, you see mum_that boy who lives next to that grocer’s whose mum you are friends with_” Your daughter stammers. “Well, we kind of really like each other.” BAM! She finally drops the bombshell. Something you didn’t quite expect to happen this early for her and weren’t the slightest prepared on how to deal with it. What do you do about it?

I once spoke to a mother of a 16 year old who rambled on, on how she and her daughter had this amazing mother-daughter relationship. She mentioned how her daughter could tell her anything and how she in turn impacted her wisdom to her daughter. This mother seemed pretty sure that her daughter wouldn’t fall by the wayside seeing how perfect their relationship was.

Then I spoke to yet another mother who was every bit the African (the first one was Asian) and she equally mentioned that she encouraged her daughters to talk. Both of her daughters are pre-teens and she is the modern Kenyan mother who conforms to the school of thought, that you should be friends with your children. It was quite interesting listening to her as we children of the late eighties and prior did not have that kind of open minded mothers.

Our parents weren’t very equipped to give us that sex ed and most of the things we learnt about sex later in life, we figured out by ourselves or through watching movies and experimentation. They were also not the kind of mothers who fancied being friends with us. They were disciplinarians where the slightest form of truancy from you elicited a beating. However, I do not blame them for the old fashioned way they raised us.

According to an article on the Ceasefire website/ Radar reports dated October 7th 2014 and reported by Susan Yara from Mombasa, Kenya;

Kenya has seen an alarming rise of teenage pregnancies forcing thousands of girls to abandon their education early and spurring a debate over the causes and repercussions of the issue.

Susan goes on to list probable causes of  the rise in teenage pregnancies in Kenya as early marriages, broken families, rape, peer pressure, inadequate sex ed and alcohol and substance abuse.

So being a knowledgeable mother aware that your daughter is experiencing raging hormones, already has confided in you that she has a boyfriend and is in need of thorough parental guidance and not anger, how would you go about it?

Quite a number of mothers may be tempted to conclude that friendship with their children is needed at this point, so that their children can be open with them at all times. That way, they figure it would be much easier to keep track of their children’s activities and therefore, avoid the worst from happening.

Rather than being this overly strict mum who comes across as tyrannical and in the process scares away her children from opening up, why not act like a friend your kids can confide in about anything? Some mothers tend to reason.

However an article on the website http://www.modernmom.com titled BE YOUR KID’S BEST PARENT, NOT THEIR BEST FRIEND! tends to disagree and expounds why. A section of the article states;

 

A parent should be the one person a child feels he can talk to about anything, while at the same time being the person who sets the rules, boundaries and expectations for behaviors.

This structure is what provides children with a sense of safety and belonging.

If done well, this is how an open relationship between parent and child is established. When a child breaks the rules, boundaries and expectations (as they are sure to do – this is how they learn), it is the job of the parent to give the child consequences for those behaviors, while using the experience as a teachable moment.

How can we learn from this? How can we do better next time?

Our job as parents is to prepare our children for life. To be able to talk with our children about real issues, with the intention of teaching them life skills so they, and we, will feel confident that when they go out on their own, they will be best able to make the safest and smartest choices. “Friends” do not have that type of relationship; active parents do.

So as a mother, who wants to be a best parent and not a best friend, how will you handle your daughter dating or wanting to date in her pre-teens or teenage years?

 

Are You Involved With A Sexual Abuser?

Now that there are so many cases of domestic violence being reported on a daily basis, I decided to touch on a rather sensitive subject. That of sexual abuse in relationships and marriages. And while a section of people hotly contest that there is no such thing as sexual abuse particularly in marriages, I tend to disagree. If it makes you feel degraded, humiliated and a nobody then it is definitely sexual abuse whether in a marital or non-marital union.

nomore.org

One of the websites I visited http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/subtle_sexual_abuse.html, clearly outlines the many forms of sexual abuse in a relationship. Some of them were surprisingly familiar to me as things I have heard of in the past and never thought of them as that serious.

The website categorically states that one of the earliest warnings of sexual abuse is excessive jealousy and derogatory attitude toward women generally. There are cultures which actually participate in instilling a derogatory attitude toward women in men. This greatly influences negatively, the sex attitudes that the men have. In such societies, women are hardly accorded the respect they deserve. Women are treated as beings incapable of making decisions for themselves including decisions concerning their own bodies. Women are relegated to the roles of giving birth, taking care of children, running the home and satisfying the husband’s needs.

Women are only to be seen and not heard. If she speaks up, then she deserves to be silenced and often harshly. Women in such societies will watch in dismay, while their husbands marry other wives and bring them to the same compound automatically expecting all the women to live in harmony. In such societies, women have been socialized to suppress any negative emotions they might experience but only comply silently to what is the norm. Sadly, a woman in such a situation may not even realize it when she is being sexually abused in a marriage.

The author goes further to expound that sexual abusers will force you into sexual acts you are not comfortable in or that leave you feeling disgusted. I read in horror quit recently, about a Kenyan woman whose husband assaulted her physically in the home, then proceeded to rape her in front of her children and househelp. All those people contesting that there is no such thing as marital rape better open their eyes to this.

Yet another woman, in a certain talk show I watched, talked about a husband who would purchase stripper attire for her so that she could entertain him sexually in them. She had never been comfortable with it yet had to do it because her husband forced her to. Sex and sexual acts I believe have to be consensual. If one party is unwilling to go along with it or feels degraded doing it then there is no other word to describe it other than sexual abuse.

Some sexual abusers want us to cover up in public, others want us to wear provocative or sexy clothing so that they can show off their conquests to other men is yet another point I found quite important in the same article I was poring over. We sometimes take it lightly when a man we have just started seeing immediately embarks on dictating our style. Quite a number of women can confess to a point in their lives where they were dating someone, who kept on insisting that they needed to dress in a certain way. Others have been encouraged to show more skin and curves even though some may not be comfortable portraying themselves in such a manner.

There is nothing to be dismissed about a control freak. If he did not like the manner in which you dressed, he should not have shown an interest to date you in the first place. We meet and fall in love with people who are compatible to us therefore comfortable with how we are as individuals. Someone who requires you to change drastically was never your compatible in the first place. Women should be highly cautious of men who want them to be something they are not.

They will ask us about our previous sexual partners and encounters then call us sluts or throw sexual indiscretions back at us as proof of our being sluts. Another outlined red flag.

I once did a post http://www.definitelylorna.wordpress.com/ladies-there-is-absolutely-nothing-wrong-with-having-a-chequered-relationship-history where I talked at length about men who want to know about a woman’s sexual past. Again, culture contributes greatly to this chauvinistic view in men. In some societies, men are allowed to pursue sexual conquests all in a bid to prove themselves as being more manly. Women are expected to be pure.

In changing times, we have single mothers raising their children singlehandedly because of one reason or another. We have women who have delayed in getting married. So if all men were to employ this attitude of questioning a woman’s sexual past then using it to judge her present, we will have so many women walking around with dented self images.

I’m not an advocate of promiscuity, far from it! But a man who is keen on finding out about a woman’s sexual past only to use it to degrade her, has no business being with that woman in the first place. Last time I checked, we didn’t ask men about their sexual past which they hardly discuss.

Controlling our body for his sexual gratification. An example is given of a man who will not allow you to breastfeed your child because your breasts will sag therefore be undesirable to him. I once heard of a case where a woman had visited a hospital because one of her breasts was ailing. The reason, as a breastfeeding mum, her husband had forbade her from breastfeeding the child with one breast exclusively reserved for him. We laughed it off then, dismissing it as people who were not exposed little did we know that it is only an abuser who would do that to his wife.

Sexual abusers will be unfaithful on purpose. Always cheating on you with different women therefore, exposing you to sexually transmitted diseases and the HIV virus. Your feelings won’t matter to them and they may accuse you of pushing them to do it with your so called “inadequacies”. Abusers often times employ the reverse psychology to deflect blame from them. The end result is a victim who cannot trust her own judgment and intuition. Worst case scenario is when he infects you with something and won’t take responsibility for it.

Yet other signs of sexual abuse according to the website that I decided to summarize in one paragraph, was the abuser refusing to take responsibility for birth control. He may refuse to wear a condom or remove it during intercourse because it supposedly irritates him or hinders his enjoyment. If you ended up pregnant, he would then proceed to accuse you of purposely getting pregnant to trap him then demand/ force you to procure an abortion. If you are lucky enough to get to keep the pregnancy, he will show no respect for you while pregnant by tearing your bodily changes apart, calling you fat and avoiding any forms of affection and intimacy toward you during that stage.

Indeed many women have found themselves in this dilemma. Contraceptive use should not only be a woman’s affair. If he doesn’t want to be a father yet, then he should equally participate in ensuring that you don’t also end up a mother. Women have suffered crude forms of rejection for the sole crime of getting pregnant. Take the above paragraph as a warning sign to quickly break it off with such a character.

Withholding sex and affection. Beware of men who will withhold sex and affection to supposedly punish you for some wrong or men who always want to be in control of the timing of sex. Such men will dismiss a woman for being slutty or hypersexualized if at all she happens to at times be the first to initiate intercourse. They may even feign lack of interest then, just to humiliate her further as in their view, it should only be on their own terms. Sex should not be equated to a negotiating tool and more so, by a person claiming to love you or who is married to you.

Fondling us in public places in the presence of our friends and family. Sexual abusers thrive on degrading their victims. They may continually touch us in ways we do not like despite us voicing our dislike. They may see no need to hide their overly casual view of you and subconsciously display to others just how much they are lacking in respect for you. You are not a sex toy. Therefore, any man who wants to grope and fondle you in full view of the public and people who are important to you, is not only displaying sheer arrogance but communicating his abuser tendencies to you and the rest.

No man in his right mind who truly loved and respected a woman would touch her inappropriately in full view of others. I think this is where many of us go wrong. We equate being groped and fondled in public as too much admiration for our bodies, that your man cannot help himself. As a matter of fact, he can! He only sees no need to because he does not value you as much as you value him.

Taking intimate photos and films. Before you decide to agree to filming an intimate moment with your man, you need to ask yourself these questions, “Is it necessary?”, “Do I want this on film?”, “What are the implications of doing this?” 

We tend to engage in these seemingly harmless activities, only to have our nude photos splashed all over the internet by a jilted lover or our sex tapes leaked online. Quite recently, there was a video of a Kenyan lady being violated sexually by a man she thought was her boyfriend. I never got to watch the video but I learnt that more than one man was involved.

Any man who asks you to take pictures in the nude and send them to him very early on in the relationship should be avoided at all costs. So is the man who insists on filming every intimate session you have together. If you are not comfortable with it, please do not go along with it. Many sly abusers will coerce you into doing something you do not want to, with claims of everyone doing it nowadays and declarations that if you don’t, they will leave.

You are not a pornstar. Therefore, do not give anyone the mandate to treat you as one just because you are scared he might leave you if you do not comply. It is your dignity that matters and trust me, once you jeopardize that dignity, it will be hard to regain it. The abuser does not care about the consequences. He is only getting a high from it.

 

It should be noted however, that abusers are people in need of help, but only if they recognize that they have a problem themselves and are willing to get help for it. It is not a mandate for the victims of abusers to try and help the abuser change. If you are experiencing abuse, run before it is too late.

Heavily sourced from www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/subtle_sexual_abuse.html. Additional text from the author of definitelylorna.wordpress.com

Are You A Confident Woman??

I once skimmed through one of Joyce Meyer’s books, The Confident Woman and I was literally surprised by her definition of a woman considered confident.

By all standards, I could not be described as confident at the time. I was struggling with friends, family, relationships… plus it was ever so hard for me, to stand up for myself, if I didn’t like something. It almost seemed like I had given everybody a free pass, to trample all over me while I was left there battling my negative emotions.

At that point in time, I was a very miserable person and it often times showed. People would avoid me because one thing or another was depressing me to the point where I failed to be good company. It was actually by miracle, that I stumbled upon this particular book and decided to go through it judging by the fact that, I’m not so big on motivational books.

Just the other day, I was reading a certain feature on the newspaper, where readers submit a pressing, personal issue and this expert on relationships, dishes out advice that is Christian based. One of the women who had written to him was obviously battling a bad on and off relationship yet, she clearly stated in her letter, that she knew the man in question loved her and she was scared that if she left him, she was never going to find another to love her the way he does.

A confident woman does not equate bad treatment to love, period! Hard to take I know, but the truth.

We hold on to people who do not deserve us because we are not entirely confident with our abilities. We tolerate friends who are obviously taking advantage of us by all means yet, we are still not entirely confident to stand up for ourselves and put an end to the drama. Confident people are not people pleasers. They are not mean, obnoxious people who irritate everyone around them with their negative energy. Rather, they are people who know what they want and are not fearful to state it.

When a woman suffers a bout of low confidence, it equally interferes with her esteem. Indeed many people, male or female, suffering from extremely low self esteem at the same time lack in confidence. Low confidence is the root of women tearing each other apart. Many times, women who are lacking in confidence feel highly intimidated by their counterparts, who seem to be quite confident with themselves.

When they see another being able to stand up for herself, climb the career ladder steadily due to her confidence levels, appear highly content and confident in her skin, their inadequacies go into over drive. They then subconsciously embark on a sabotage mission. Most women can attest to the fact that, those other females who appear confident and sure of themselves are mostly, the subjects of snide remarks behind their backs and nasty gossip.

There is no school that can teach one on how to be confident. We are actually our own teachers. Perhaps we can start by accepting ourselves the way we are, looks and all. Let’s put the words “UGLY”, “INCAPABLE” and “NOT DESERVING” out of our minds. Let’s stop thriving on comparison.

We of the female gender are highly guilty of comparing ourselves to others of the same gender. We cultivate low confidence levels and jealousy by constantly looking over the hedge, to see if the grass is greener. Indeed the grass almost always appears greener on the other side even when it is only an illusion.

Let’s stop listening to whatever opinions others have of our own abilities. They may equally be secretly battling low confidence and therefore, projecting their fearful view of life to us. If we constantly internalize what everyone says about us, then we are going to have a very long list of mostly “CAN’Ts” which greatly affects our confidence.

Confidence can be elusive. It is fragile. We need to guard it.

By guarding our confidence levels, we do not have to develop a defensive attitude toward what others are saying. Other people will always have an opinion of sorts. Some will genuinely give it while others will give it maliciously. We need to learn to sift between genuine opinions and opinions intended to shred us off the little confidence we have gathered.

Women need confidence in their relationships with the opposite sex. It beats my logic why we are ever so fearful of breaking off a relationship that is obviously doing us more harm than good. Are we really aware of what we deserve from men? What is our definition of love? If this is not a marital union, then why are we sticking around when we are being cheated on, beaten, disrespected and controlled?

A confident woman will not stay in a relationship that brings the worst out of her. A relationship that makes her miserable and unsure of herself and her future. A confident woman is not scared to be single. If you are looking for security from the opposite sex, then the mere thought of being single will scare the shit out of you. Sadly, a huge number of women seek security from the opposite sex and it is not entirely their fault.

They may have suffered an absentee dad in their lives, sexual abuse from those who were supposed to genuinely love and protect them, divorced parents, domestic violence or were orphaned young. We do grow up and become adults capable of taking care of ourselves but some of the deeply inflicted scars in our lives do not completely heal. If as a woman you find yourself constantly clinging onto bad treatment and lacking the confidence to walk away from it all, then you need to really ask yourself some hard questions. You need to revisit your past and try to work on it, in order to make sense of the present.

Confidence does not come overnight. If I were to state that I’m fully confident at the moment then it would be a white lie. I still have those moments where I tolerate something I shouldn’t, where I agree to someone’s opinion while knowing very well that whatever is being preached is not something I conform to…heck! I’m still female and being confident every day, week and month is not our thing. However, with constant positivity and practice, I know that confidence can be achieved.

So, are you a confident woman??

 

Women Have A Right Not To Be Battered

Anti domestic violence poster, Tanzania. Photo courtesy of http://www.spraguephoto.com

Translation: Abuse of women is outdated! Women have a right not to be battered!

Is it only me or there is a sudden increase of women coming out on social media off late, as unfortunate victims of domestic violence? The latest, being one I saw today upon logging in to my Facebook account.

I’m not yet married. Have never experienced any kind of violence before, thank God, in any of my relationships. So I can’t quite confidently state that, I understand the full magnitude of a battered woman’s feelings.

However, I can confidently state that I’m not an advocate for domestic violence against women. I’m not one who will advocate for a boyfriend to beat up a girlfriend. I’m not one who is going to agree to whatever warped ideas that society and culture have adopted concerning the battery of women. Nobody can convince me whatsoever that women need to be disciplined battered from time to time. But despite my strong feelings towards this phenomenon, women continue to be victims of domestic violence on a daily basis.

The worst bit is that society has since socialized itself to accept this as a normal occurrence. If a woman decides to come out and speak up against the abuse she is enduring at the hands of her husband or boyfriend, a section of people are still going to judge her secretly or openly even! If the man in question is wealthy, some are going to put blame on her for wanting to marry rich or date rich, therefore being deserving of the mistreatment.

A couple of women too, (do not be surprised) are going to think that she’s just airing dirty linen in public for nothing and that it’s probably her fault for making a wrong choice with this man in the first place. Far from it! Nobody going through domestic violence should be branded a coward or poor at making decisions on whom to marry or date.

Some of these ugly traits in a spouse or partner rear their heads once the relationship has fully progressed. By then the victim is in too deep that the thought of walking out, elicits all forms of questions that are too hard to answer for this person. Perhaps there are children involved and the perpetrator fully provides for his children. Perhaps this woman went against her parents’ wishes when marrying this man. Perhaps she’s jobless and therefore financially unstable. You cannot therefore point fingers at this woman for being cowardly in such a situation.

Being from Africa, I have full knowledge that tradition plays a huge role in contributing to the normalization of the battery of women. There is a joke in my country, that goes something in the lines of, “In a certain community, when a woman stays for like a year, without her husband raising a hand to beat the crap out of her, then she gets highly dissatisfied because she interprets that to mean that he does not love her.”

This is actually a sick joke in its entirety. It is indeed retrogressive to equate love to battery because someone who truly loves you cannot raise a hand to you no matter the disagreement. It is a joke intended to give the men the go ahead to clobber women, with a justification of them loving those women. It is a joke intended to make women feel the need to be battered as a form of being given attention.

Whether it is a joke or a half truth for that matter, there are many societies that actually have no issue with domestic violence against women. Societies which interpret submission to a husband, as a wife cowering in fear while a husband barks orders at her or rains blows on her head. When women get to that point where they are empowered enough to speak up against mistreatment in the home, they are then branded in-disciplined. I then wonder who gave such kinds of men the mandate to discipline grown women as if their own parents never did that in the first place.

When young boys grow up in homes where their fathers constantly beat up their mothers, they are socialized to see it as normal. Some of them may share in the pain of their mothers and vow never to raise a hand to a woman in their lifetimes, but many internalize it as an act of manliness. Many find it necessary to emulate their fathers since according to them, it brought order to the home. Such men grow up lacking in any ounce of respect for women, because they made a conscious decision to follow in the footsteps of their fathers, who can be forgiven for being backward and for conforming to retrogressive, cultural thinking of their era.

Once a man sees domestic violence against a woman as a non-issue, then it eventually morphs into a psychological problem, unbeknownst to him. It will get to a point where no dispute in the home can be handled without getting physical. If the woman is unlucky enough to take it the first time it happens, then it will happen again and again.

Those people who view women coming out to speak up against the domestic violence they are enduring as lame, should know that they are equally advocating for the manifestation of deep psychological issues from the perpetrator. Nobody in his right mind can beat the mother of his child/children to a pulp. It is actually not a normal occurrence to constantly exhibit violent tendencies. It is something that needs to be checked by a psychologist forget what culture, tradition and society may state.

Women in physically abusive relationships need to be supported. They do not need castigation or laughter, God forbid. They need our help, those of us in better places, in order to feel courageous enough to get out of a violent relationship or liaison. They need to know that they have that strength within to start all over again, no matter how broken they might feel. More so, they need our love. A love that is not with hidden agenda or laced with connotations of suppression.

Let’s put an end to domestic violence against women.