Category Archives: Sister’s Blog

Why Men Grope Women Culture, sex, and projective identification explain groping.

This was a repost on groping and public harassment of women. After a Fox Sports reporter Maria Fernanda Mora was groped by a man on live television, during an interview.
We wanted to understand why this still happens.
This post is not meant to justify harassment against women, but to look at a psychological reason of why it happens.
Here are three reasons men grope women.
The first is cultural conformity. By culture, I mean the implicit and explicit rules of conduct that will generate approval and avoid disapproval. When a man gropes (or otherwise assaults or harasses) a woman for cultural reasons, it means that the reward sought is not so much the physical contact with the woman but the approval of others for doing so.
A cultural explanation would also include the relevance to the man of inducing the woman not to dress or behave in certain ways. News stories of men in other countries attacking women in public for wearing Western garb may fit this model.
In many parts of America, cultural rules strengthen the patriarchy and the privileges of maleness by defining men as free agents and women as property. Hitting on women may be rewarded by cheers from other men. As other men have reported, I’ve never heard anything in a locker room (or in a poker game) like Trump’s comments. Still, to the extent that Trump’s behavior with and about women is reinforced not only by the women and their bodies but by giggling admiration from other men, it’s cultural.
Groping and ogling women garners sexual reinforcers in the form of touching and seeing things that are pleasurable in a sexual way. This would seem to apply mainly to teenaged boys, who presumably are more strongly potentiated to be reinforced by sexual stimuli than adults are, and who presumably are not as used to seeing and touching women as adults are.
For many men, the sexual reinforcement obtained by touching or looking is offset by the effect on the woman; for them, causing the woman discomfort is aversive. In consensual sex and in pornography, there is either no aversive effect on the woman or no apparent aversive effect. Information that links pornography to sex trafficking or pathological reasons for the woman’s engagement can ruin pornography for many men.
When the man is very wealthy or very charismatic, women may pretend not to be bothered by the groping in exchange for the chance at a relationship or so as not to disadvantage themselves socially or economically. And some women in some circumstances may enjoy groping or ogling by strangers for reasons not relevant here, except to say that these women require men to distinguish them from most women, a relatively easy distinction to make for men who find women’s discomfort aversive.
The main reason men grope women, though, is projective identification. Projective identification is a defense mechanism: It works to preserve beliefs about a person’s narrative and definition of self by disowning aspects of the self that don’t fit that narrative or definition.
In projective identification, you get other people to embody embarrassing aspects of the self so you can then define yourself in counterpoint to the disowned aspects. In projection, you merely imagine that others are like you claim not to be; in projective identification, you act in a way that actually gets them to be what you claim not to be. For example, a woman who cannot bear to think of herself as aggressive drives slow in the left lane and marvels at how angry other drivers tend to be as they honk and scream at her. In comparison with the people she sees, she has indeed become someone with remarkably little anger. A man who is terrified of being ordinary insists that every encounter with him be intimate, startling, and emotionally courageous; others react with exhaustion and retreat to mundane pleasures like small talk and watching TV. In comparison with them, he has indeed become an extraordinary person.
Many men are raised to detest their own dependence, passivity, and vulnerability. This occurs not only through punishment of boys for being weak but also through excessive praise for their strength, agency, and toughness. The latter creates a situation where the boy being normally vulnerable or scared becomes a loss of face. Groping, ogling, and catcalling are often ways of inducing in women feelings of vulnerability, weakness, and fear. Compared to women scurrying away from a frightening man, the man seems to himself to be tough, strong, and courageous. Compared to a woman paralyzed or befuddled by being groped, the man seems to himself to be a master of the universe. Bullying works the same way.
Author: Michael Karson Ph.D., J.D.
Published on: Psychology Today

Conservative or Liberal?

OTTAWA — Rachael Harder took it as a personal insult.
“Women and girls from across this country had a prime minister stand up and say, ‘As the prime minister of Canada, it is up to me to dictate whether or not you hold the right beliefs,” said the Conservative MP for Lethbridge, Alta.
“What prevents him from saying that to any one of the women in this room?”
She was speaking to a crowd of Ottawa-area Conservatives gathered at a pub overlooking the Rideau River one weeknight last month, refering to the time last fall when Liberal MPs on the House of Commons status of women committee decided to block her nomination as chair over her views on abortion.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau backed the move, saying the committee should be led by someone who would unequivocally defend the rights of women.
“There is a prime minister that claims to be a feminist prime minister,” Harder, the Conservative critic for the status of women, said in an interview.
“Yet, he has shown very little to no respect for personal choice or individual liberties among women.”
Trudeau has made the push for gender equality a top priority for his Liberal government.
The gender-balanced budget. The feminist international assistance policy. The proposed gender chapter in the North American Free Trade Agreement. The G7 gender equality advisory council, featuring none other than Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.
And, of course, the because-it’s-2015 response when a reporter asked Trudeau why he chose to name an equal number of men and women to cabinet.
The Liberal government has firmly branded itself as a feminist one. So, where does that leave a Conservative woman who considers herself a feminist?
Sabrina Sotiriu, 31, who came to hear Harder speak that night, said it leaves her frustrated. And, reluctantly, a little impressed.
“I hate it,” she said with a laugh, “but I think it’s very successful.”
Sotiriu, a Conservative staffer on Parliament Hill, said the Liberals have done a good job of defining feminism on their own terms, so that if critics disagree with the Liberal approach to gender issues, or the economy, they’ll be dismissed as an anti-feminist.
“You know, you have to be progressive and progressivism has to do with feminism and if you’re not progressive, you’re not feminist,” she said.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau suggested as much when he appeared before the House of Commons finance committee to discuss the budget, which had undergone, for the first time in Canadian history, a gender-based analysis.
“Isn’t this just a way to get a woman’s vote?” Conservative MP Lisa Raitt, the deputy leader of her party, needled him at the meeting.
Morneau said he took offence — and then he went on the offensive.
“My view is that we will be more successful collectively if we’re actually able to successfully promote women into leadership roles,” he said.
“We will drag along the neanderthals who don’t agree with that, and that will be our continuing approach.”
Rachel Curran, who served as policy director to Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, said that as a long-time feminist, the commitment to championing the rights of women was one of the things she liked about Trudeau when he first came to power.
Now, she thinks the Liberals are using feminism as a political weapon.
“They are turning gender issues into this sort of wedge issue or identity-politics issue, which pits women who maybe hold a certain set of beliefs, or approach women’s issues or feminism in a certain way, against what the government sees as the true or correct or right version of feminism,” she said.
The controversy over the Canada Summer Jobs program is seen as one such example.
The Liberal government is now requiring organizations seeking federal grants for hiring summer students to attest to their respect for sexual and reproductive health rights — including abortion — as well as other human rights.
Many faith-based organizations said they were being forced into choosing between their values and grants that helped them run programs having nothing to do with abortion.
There are also ideological differences in approaches to gender issues that are more broadly about how Conservatives and Liberals view the world, which, according to Harder, boils down to this: equality of opportunity versus equality of outcome.
To illustrate her point, she brings up a figure included in the 2018 federal budget: women represent four per cent of apprentices in skilled trades. The budget committed $19.9 million over five years for a pilot grant program aimed at narrowing the gap.
“Should we be making sure that all barriers are taken down and women have the opportunity to enter these fields? Yes, absolutely. But should we be somehow social engineering a society where there is 50 per cent women and 50 per cent men in every single sector?” Harder said as she accused the Liberals, inaccurately, of imposing quotas for the skilled trades.
“That doesn’t respect a woman’s choice. That doesn’t respect her freedom. That doesn’t respect her interests and her objectives for her own life.”
She also has no time for the idea that, even if the conservative vision of ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ is true, there may be some — including women — who could use a hand getting out of the sea.
“That is the most patriarchal thing that I have ever heard,” she scoffed.
Raitt, meanwhile, does actually believe in setting targets in some cases.
She recalls that when she was transport minister in the Harper government, and responsible for naming some 400 people to the boards of Crown Corporations, she made it clear she would be looking to improve the statistics.
“Little by little, we started seeing progress,” said Raitt. “But I didn’t come out and announce, ‘Boom! Everything is going to be 50-50.”
That, in her view, is the whole problem with the Trudeau approach to feminism.
“Capital T, capital F: ‘The Feminist’ government,” she said.
Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, May 6, 2018 1:47PM EDT

Free Pads for girls

Sister Namibia raised the issue of menstruation in the youth consultative meeting with the President of the Republic of Namibia on 25/04/18.
We acknowledged that it is deemed an uncomfortable subject, even in Parliament, but that it needs addressing.
In the presentation to the platform from the collaborative entities; statistics from the 2016 youth unemployment by gender stood at 33% for males and 43% for women in urban areas, however that figure stands at 60% for women in rural areas.
We pointed out that lack of sanitary supplies and the inability to afford them forces more girls (than boys) to miss out on school education and solicit for basic products like this.
1. This puts them at risk of teenage pregnancy and or HIV and STD’s (further marginalising them)
2. Reduces their learning and in return
3. Lowers their chances to compete in the economy through decent/quality employment
So we cannot talk about improving the socioeconomic status of especially rural women in isolation without addressing issues like free pads and taxation of menstrual supply products.
Providing the free reusable sanitary pads (SisterPads) is not just a charitable and noble act.
It is vehicle of Sister Namibia to rattle the cage on bigger issue of providing free pads for girls in school across Namibia.
This is a basic necessity and our girl child should not have to be further disadvantaged because of lack of provision.
The President mentioned that his wife got into trouble with religious leaders he had met a day before us; for talking like we (Sister Namibia) do.
Pointing out relations older men have with teenagers that lead to teenage pregnancy and others (an option they sometimes undertake to supply themselves with basic needs, including sanitary supplies).
He however also agreed that it is something neglected even in Parliament, but that it is a reality on the ground whether it makes a selected few or everyone uncomfortable.
We were encouraged to continue our role of community education, advocacy.
Our request was that this be rolled out and led as high level policy influencing discussion in Parliament by our Head of State because it is an issue that must be enacted.
What we are doing at the moment with the SisterPads is putting a bandage on a cracked dam. Our government’s role is to fix the bigger problem.
I don’t care how many people are made uncomfortable by issues of “menstruation”, because quite frankly our discomfort and therefore lack of active discourse does not change the situation on the ground for the girl child!
So yes, menstruation, menstruation, menstruation!
An uncontrolled biological process CANNOT disadvantage one gender.
Sister Namibia will drive the change of “culture”, will change the way we look at “uncomfortable issues/words”, will transform the none-gender-progressive status quo.
We will do this one dialogue at a time.
Let us stand behind Sister as we lobby for free pads for girls in school.
We can do this!
There are means to revise financial resources and allocations to cater for a move like this for Namibia.
By Elsarien Katiti

Murderers, all of us

Are we becoming desensitised to brutality? Moreover to murder?
A story still lingers in my head.
Quite recently, a son murdered his mother, because she plead with him not to hit his girlfriend.
Now his girlfriend ran and hid after he had assaulted her, but eventually went home because the baby was crying most night.
According the reports he didn’t continue hitting her, in fact he put ointment on her wounds.
The dual side of an abuser, a monster and very caring too.
He locked the doors and they stayed in there all night.
In the morning his mother comes to plead with him about beating up his girlfriend who is also the mother of his 11 month old baby.
He was said to have stormed out and started hacking her with a panga (machete).
His girlfriend, when he opened the door ran away.
Now I want to redirect the story to his girlfriend.
Upon the slightest opportunity, she ran for her life.
So for an entire night, she must have been violently terrified to even be in the same room as this man.
Could she see the murder weapon in her sight? Was she careful to not say the wrong thing or move the wrong way or she would get chopped?
Think of the horror she endured with this man, not only on this fateful night, but every night when he was angry at her for some perceived wrong.
Imagine how many women are kept hostage every night by their abusers.
How many stories have we heard of women murdered?
What is our reaction now? Anger? Pity?
Here is the thing though, we have become desensitised.
Murder in Namibia, is just part of the day.
Doesn’t shock us anymore.
We are not angry enough to make a difference.
We are more curious in the details of the murder, than we are in justice for the murdered.
Which brings me to the point of accusation.
We, all of us have become accessories in the killing of these women.
We are on-looking murderers.
Because none of us cry no more.
It’s like we are silently condoning crime.
Silence, condones.
I don’t care what you say in whispers or the prayers you send upwards for victims.
But your silence, our silence has made us passive murderers, we are contributing to the killing of these women.
So for every woman that dies… I declare that her blood just as much lies in your hands as it does in the murderers hands.
Cause we don’t do enough.
We don’t cry enough.
We aren’t angry enough.
We don’t strike enough.
We don’t boycott enough.
We don’t demand for justice enough.
We don’t challenge the status quo enough.
We don’t provide enough counselling for angry men.
We don’t provide enough safe havens for abused women.
We haven’t done enough to safe the next victim.
We wait like hungry vultures for the next corpse.
We just don’t walk in their shoes enough to understand, to understand their fears.
Is this who we’ve become?
Murderers, all of us.
By Elsarien Katiti

Trustco Ad: The Voices

The Trustco Advert saga brought so many voices out to speak.
Not all were positive.
Here is a collection of some of the voices.
Martha Mukaiwa: In case you’re on the sidelines wondering what’s wrong with it: Women are “broads” . A sexist, objectifying and derogatory term for a woman. We look better in board photos. Calling attention to our appearance and our appeal in the context of the male gaze in the age of #MeToo and the global move towards ending sexual harassment in the workplace and beyond. We should be able to stand our ground against the best men. Patronising, connoting some level of accepted and thriving gender weighted intimidation inherent in the workplace. And then “#Yes of course of men are also welcome to apply” thus rendering all of the above just the usual sexist, misogynistic and careless language preceding disgraceful behaviour not even in the context of some misguided move towards equality. As for the use of Annie Leibovitz’s incredible image of Caitlyn Jenner. Transphobic at worst and reductive at the same. Jenner’s former and probably continued struggle with her gender identity minimised to “doing anything” rather than a difficult fight for truth, her life and legitimacy as a human being and a woman with the right to choose and pursue her happiness. Just disgusting, tone deaf, oblivious and disgraceful. Get serious, Trustco Group Holdings. Whoever dreamt this up is clearly not living on this planet or they are severely deaf to the efforts being made against the violence of sexism, transphobia or simply walking out your door as a woman. Open your eyes, apologise, retract, look around and do much (and I mean MUCH) better.
Sister Namibia: It seems our voice has been silent in the matter of the Trustco advert.
But it has not been, we have been so shocked we didn’t know what to say.
So here goes.
The term “Broad”:
• A word for a woman. Less respectable than “lady” but much more respectable than “bitch”.
• A term originated in the 1930’s meaning woman; derived from the fact that the most defining characteristic of all females are their hips, which are proportionately wider than hips of their male counterparts.
• Usually offensive, a term used for to refer to a woman. A promiscuous woman.
• Often men who felt threatened by strong-willed and successful women would call them broads in a derogatory sense.
The board is a strategic head of an organization, it develops and guides policy. And if on that level there is such disdain and disrespect for women, it speaks of a rotten institutional culture.
Example trickles down from leadership to the workforce, and it is an absolute shame to see such behaviour tolerated in an institute such as Trustco.
This explicitly reveals sexualisation of women, harassment and a complete disregard for their intellect and leadership capabilities.
It is greatly upsetting that we still have to keep saying that women are more than their figures and their breasts, that they are capable of being leaders. It is also upsetting that we have very few women considered for strategic leadership and managerial positions.
Until we have a balanced representation in leadership, this are battles we still have to fight.
If there were enough women on that board, this behaviour would never have been tolerated in the first place.
So we hope Trustco gives more than an apology (which was not an apology at all mind you), but increases women representation on the board.
Sister Namibia is in support of all the voices who stood up against this ad.
We strongly reiterate your cries.
Let us as a sisterhood fight against and uproot every misogynistic ideology and practice against women.
Blu H Mathews: That is because you wish to look at it in that light. The transgender in the picture lived for years in self imprisonment due to fear of what society and family members may say. Trustco using her image could mean that they are calling out all women who think less of themselves, women who feel because they do not have an education will never be in a good position at work. Women that deem themselves as nobodies due to their circumstances. You focusing on the negative says a lot about you. Hence you aren’t really able to assist people that come to your offices for assistance most especially women. For an establishment such as yourselves to stoop so low to bully a company just because they decided to go a little extra on their creativity says a lot about you and the entire organization. Learn to see a little positive for goodness’ sake. I remain supportive of Trustco
Uaaruka Happyforever Kandjii: Blu H Mathews, finally someone that saw the ad in the way I saw it…. I didn’t see anything wrong with it and took it positively and thought it was actually funny and creative! Yes they used a transgender woman but people should just take a chill pill and see the bigger picture.
Lizette Feris: I’m sorry that you ladies see nothing wrong with the ad. I guess it is the effects of living in a patriarchal society, and Namibia is definetly one where women should know their place. I wish that you too like Caitlin Jenner break free of the prisons you live in. Stay woke sisters, and you only have to work hard and be passionate to get a seat.
Don’t worry we don’t judge you, we want to emancipated you.
Jholerina Angel-Khoetage Timbo: It may seem like a nice ad to you ladies .but ask me who is the transgender woman living in this country with all the challenges of transitioning , stigma and discrimination that I face daily as me how I feel. This ad is a misinterpretation of what we are as a community .We do not transition into who we are because we want a seat at Truscos table for power.we transition to align ourselves more in how we see ourselves. This ad is misleading to me as a transgender person and a slap in my face as our lives seems to objectified to promote Transphobia by saying we are man and would do anything to get a seat. Transition has never been about a seat but about self and self love and being true to yourself.if i am transitioning only to get a seat it is a selfish and degrading notion for me as a transgender person in Namibia that constantly faces such bigotry and trans misogyny on a day to day basis. I am utterly disgusted and disappointed in Trustco.
Also as part of the community that is negatively impacted by this you can’t imagine to start to tell me how I should feel.As a transgender woman this is I walk down the street and now the Trustco slogan or tag line is used again. They do anything to get a seat oh shame. So you can’t take away my agency and bodily atonomy and tell me how I should feel about this trans degrading add. Trustco must put money where thier mouths are and used that money to promote engagement and not incite stigma and discrimination without recourse of how this will impact and effect me .who is a visible transgender woman out and about.faced with so much prejudice and insults. This ad is adding salt to my daily injuries
Alexis Zakarra: Everything about this ad is wrong, The message it is sending to the Namibian people about, first, how they should treat women, inclusive of trans women, and secondly, the language used and the surprisingly overt misogany and bigotry. The missing element in all of it, is who was responsible for the creation, approval and dissemination of the content, all men. The way those responsible for this distasteful ad responded afterwards. It says a lot about how patriarchy at its core is a tool used to undermine and subjugate women and those who don’t have a voice. As funny as it is, there lies truth in humour and jokes, but it doesn’t make it right. If you see nothing wrong with this as a women, than I challenge you to explore how you have and are internalizing patriarchy, that has numbed you in detecting your own oppression. Look past the funny and see the ad for what it really is within the bigger picture. A tool used to oppress; not in total isolation but as part of myriad ways in which women, trans women included, are trivialized and oppressed by those with power and means. And I won’t get into how a message like this can play out in actuality within the everyday context for women, trans women and those directly affected by this irresponsible ad.
Tuya Amakali: I don’t understand why people are saying it’s funny and we should see the humour in it. Why is it okay to make fun of someone because they are different, what makes trustco and everyone in agreement with this add think that Jenner transitioned for any reason other that is not internal and emotional. It’s not an easy thing making such a decision and it’s not an easy thing living such a life. How can it be funny and okay to make fun of other people’s struggles including the struggles that women face on a daily basis. When we walk down the street and men touch us inappropriately without our consent, is that okay? Is it funny to you as a victim of it because the men that do it are laughing? When you work in a men dominated environment and they laugh at every idea you bring because you belong in the kitchen even when your ideas are good, is that funny to you? As a member of the trustco board, if they constantly look at you and address you as merely a woman that looks good in board pictures, will that be funny to you? What kind of men are on that board and why do they see it fit to categorise and objectify women in that manner? I for one don’t think it’s funny, I personally think it’s insulting. We are all entitled to our opinions though
Manuel Oghlian: They really should stop watching The Wolf of Wall Street…
Monica Geingos: This is wrong on many levels and quite frankly, unacceptable. What scares me more than the crass and casual disrespect, the overt sexism, the transphobia and innuendos, what scares me the most is @qvr_ calling it “brilliant”. Don’t trivialise how this ad makes people feel.
Gordon Joseph: I don’t understand how no one in the production process saw how trashy and offensive and disgusting the advert is… makes make one question/wonder just how much diversity there is at that company…
Compiled by
Elsarien Katiti

Clothes aren't an invitation

“The Society” tells you not to wear short skirts, or dresses or shorts as a lady.
“The Society” tells you that these clothes might attract attention, the type of attention you don’t want to get.
“The Society” tells you that you will look blowzy.
“The Society” tells you that the rate of being molested or raped is higher when you wear short things.
We should think about these assertions.
It is clear that people might look at you because they can see your thighs or boobs because of a bigger neckline. And it is clear that we have to deal with this malignant glances, because we will never change everybody’s mind.
But just because some men can see more of my skin is not an invitation for anything.
You shouldn’t whistle at me just cause you can see my legs.
You are not allowed to touch me just because you can see my skin.
And most of all you don’t have to molest, harass or rape me!
You should call to mind that my outfit isn’t asking for anything like that.
I have autonomy to my body and anything that happens to it requires my consent and approval!
Clothes are one way to personal fulfillment, and you should wear what you are comfortable in.
If you love green, wear green. If you love high heels, wear high heels. If you love tops, wear tops.
In a nutshell you should wear whatever you want, if it gives you the ability to feel beautiful.
Of cause there are occasions requiring you to wear clothes adaptive of the circumstances, for example church, wedding or school.
But what you are going to wear is never an invitation for anybody to take advantage of your body
I really wish that “The Society” will understand this someday.
By Ronja

Prevention is better than cure

As known, at Sister Namibia we organize workshops in schools about self-defense. “Unfortunately” we have to.
And I say “unfortunately”, because rather than safety techniques, wouldn’t it be better if pupils were trained how to be respectful and kind?!?
For example, what about integrating every school timetable with weekly classes of Kindness, Respect, Awareness and Commitment into social and environmental issues?
Young generations must be raised in a way to make the difference, to desire to live in a better world.
Actually, we all must open our eyes and be more sensitive regarding nowadays issues.
We must be more conscious, aware, AWAKE!
Sometimes we might feel desperate and hopeless, especially when we hear or read of dreadful horrible stories.
We end up by loosing hope in human kind and we wonder “What’s going on? Where the heck is this world going?”
We cannot lose hope though. We cannot give up.
Let’s commit ourselves and channel our energies in terms of sensibility, responsiveness, empathy.
We all are just transient on this earth and precisely because of this, we should spend our time here in the best way, make it worth it by changing it, somehow, into a better place.
So, again, let’s raise our kids in a way that they do NOT have to defend themselves from anybody and anything, without looking at the other as a potential enemy.
Let’s set up a world with NO FEARS.
By Chiara

Sorry-But Not Sorry

I am sorry that my sentiments on stopping rape-victim blaming are not politically comfortable enough for you.
I am sorry that you’re so ignorant to think that the rapist’s side of the story is suppressed.
I am sorry that you were not taught that sexually violating someone else’s body without their consent is wrong and unjustifiable.
I am sorry that you are not a woman, having to live in constant fear of a possibility of harassment.
That you are unknowing that actions against women are always diverted to them being in the wrong.
Where do I begin to educate you young sir?
Perhaps with a recent case. In the The Namibian newspaper dated 9 January 2018 (which was yesterday) a headline of a story read: “Father rapes own daughter
You know how old she was?
Six (6).
You know how old he was?
Fifty-two (52).
Which side of that story is it that you want clarity on?
Would you want a list of countless rape stories?
How about a mother who was raped after being dragged into a riverbed while carrying her two month old baby?
I am terribly sorry that you’re backwards, not sympathetic enough, not informed enough and ignorant.
But I am NOT SORRY for speaking up about, and against rape and victim blaming!
So do me a favor, with time reflect upon your words and think about “what if it hit close to home”.
Think about your mother and sisters, about your daughter or one you might have in the future and if any of them are raped, and then repeat this (your very words):
“I am sorry mom or sis or my little daughter (angel), but you’re trying to tell us that we must always blame the person who rape (you) without hearing both sides of the story?”
Practice telling them that over and over (that’s the lesson I will give you today).
Maybe only then will you grasp the damaging magnitude of your words and the pain and plague they allow to grow in the world we are trying to heal one message at a time.
By Elsarien A. Katiti

Inform, Not Criticise

Growing up as a black child there are so many things you can’t say.
Topics you can’t question.
Actions you can’t receive satisfactory reasoning to.
Sex is one of those.
It is assumed that there is an egg in your head that will one day hatch and reveal all the secrets of the mysteries.
First kids are isolated according to gender, then they can’t play together. So many rules but never good reason for them.
Almost every adult had to learn it the hard way and still we expose our young to the same ignorant shadows of life.
We are so scared to bring up the topic of sex.
We are afraid that by talking about it we will encourage promiscuous behavior.
I remember picking up a box of condoms at a clinic for one of our teenage pregnancy classes and the pharmacist handing me the condoms was criticizing how “we” are the ones teaching children bad behavior and promoting sex.
The reality is young people are getting sexually active without our (parents, guardians, & educators) influence and they are doing so poorly informed and sometimes 0% safety equipped.
Societal criticism has scared our young ones away from seeking health care services.
So applaud those bringing information to your children!
Let us promote positive actions by individuals and organisations that stimulate change in society.
Our youth deserve a chance at being well informed, they need advice before the “wrong”.
It is us that need to take the reigns on being educators at home and in the community.
We cannot continue the culture of “They’ll figure it out themselves”.
Let them pre-learn from our mistakes.
Matters of sex should be openly engaged.
By Elsarien A. Katiti

A few cents to Freedom

Financing yourself or your lifestyle after leaving an abusive relationship in which you were financially dependent on the abuser is key to not repeat g the cycle of abuse.
I grew up with a story at the back of my mind. This story shaped from a young age how I would view relationships with the opposite sex and most importantly choosing not to ever be in an abusive relationship.
This story was of a women who would take her two little daughters in the middle of the night and play hide and seek, she would tell them not to make a noise and hide behind various objects so they could not be found by the drunken boyfriend and get beaten up.
This is a story of how when she had a better income job, she would be asked (demanded to leave), because she “thought she was better than him”.
A story of being beaten and stabbed to almost bleeding out. Where fist fights were a regular thing in this “loving” relationship.
What stuck with me most about this story was its end. The women in the end, out of fear of her daughters’ lives, lied to her boyfriend that she was visiting an aunt for only a weekend and packed a bag (which he decided on the specifics of what should be packed), which she however secretly added a few more items to and left everything she owned (the shack they stayed in was hers, even most household items inside) and never returned.
After all the abuse she had endured for years, one day she had the courage to run and not look back.
This women was my mother, and I was one of the little girls she had to run with.
Now of course life after that wasn’t particularly easy for her, she wasn’t educated or had a job and she had to stay with her brother for a while, until eventually she pulled her life together.
My mother is the reason why I had to break the cycle of uneducation, and dependency.
Knowing what she went through and seeing what other women go through because they become economically dependent on their partners gave me an idea on how these women can leave and still survive.
Every victim of abuse needs a support system, most times that’s family and friends, but some of these women have been isolated from their support systems by their manipulative partners and when they need support there is no one they are close to that can help, because everyone else is estranged to them by then.
But as being part of a society, every victim should have someone or organisation to count on for rehabilitation and assistance.
Recently having attended the Financial Literacy’s event on Investing, got me thinking on a subject of “Saving your way out of an abusive relationship”.
The very first question that was asked was “Why Invest/Save?” And answers ranged from “Buying a house/car to creating wealth and saving for an education”, but after attending the whole talk afterwards I asked if they had trustfunds or group savings for women who wanted to leave an abusive relationship. Of course no such thing exists, this is a country where people won’t report a fight or intervene because “it’s a personal/private affair of a couple”.
It got me thinking about having an exit plan and being strategic in the next phase of your life. I have heard countless stories of women feeling disempowered to stay because “who will pay for her rent/provide for a roof over her and the children’s heads, who will pay for school fees, who will buy clothes or who will feed them” if they leave. I’ve heard “even if he beats her, at least he takes care of her”.
They’re pyochologically bullied to stay, because they see no way out.
Here is the thing, one could say, why doesn’t the women go to school or get a job (if she can), and those are good ideas but her acquiring a job would raise questions as to why she feels the need to contribute financially after all this time and after he already supplies for every other need (and might just cause further abuse), so every reduced blow to her body is a bonus chip, and we don’t want her being further victimised. So what can she do?
Financial dependency has been one of the key factors in GBV and Partner violence in Namibia.
Being economically independent empowers women to walk away much more easily from abusive relationships that they would have otherwise prolonged in fear of not knowing how to sustain themselves afterwards.
Hence women empowerment cannot be spoken about in isolation of economic development.
Can these women then not start a trustfund or a stokvel where they can put in small sums of money that will eventually help them stand on their feet when it’s time to flee?
Is the survival of post-abuse perhaps dependant on gradually saving your way out of these relationships.
Organisations and well wishers can also contribute to these savings group so that the burden can be lightened on the victims of our society.
Could the solution be planning for the escape with a few pennies at a time?
Could a few cents contribute towards freedom from being abused?
By Elsarien Katiti