By Makaita Penelope Kagwere- Mangwende
I sat in the forlorn darkness of my room heavily hung with dysphoria. Born with two strikes, damned with a vagina and growing up in a rearward, regressive society. Embracing the darkness and finding alleviation from the demons that haunt me. Licking the wounds of my cognitive pain with tears of despondence. Suicide is my only escape from this internal plague of misery.
The euphoria of falling in love engulfed my entire being exerted by 16 years of innocence. The love notes, walks and the pressing searching lips on mine lit my world.Weeks passed by with much infatuation of this puppy love ridding on the wheels of contentment and utter bliss. On this day he looked different, even his aura was deadpan bordering on grim with a tad odd pensiveness and even his kisses were brutal rendering swollen lips.
There was an urgency, sort of desperation in his exploring hands that landed under my skirt. I broke away, shaken and astonished by his bruising manner. He walked away, leaving me flustered and glass eyed. He drove us to a bitter end with his insistence, forcing my hand to feel the bulge on his crotch, I ran away in tears unable to tolerate his sexual advancements. The whirlwind came when I wrote a letter to break it off with him.
He threatened to commit suicide and punched the window revealing a shard of glass that protruded from his hand. He touched my face with his bloody hand and whispered “you cannot end this, I will kill you and the out myself too” I was distressed for days on end unable to sleep or eat.
When you hear the word “violence” the first thing that pops in your mind are physical connotations. I read the International Human Rights Law under gender based violence and realized not only was I a victim of GBV but it is happening all around me. Domestic violence, child marriages and sexual assault/harassmentare the paramount factors. BUT there are other discrepancies that are evaded in this society as trivial and unimportant.
PSYCHOLOGICAL VIOLENCE the monster that I faced for the first time as teenager. This boy threatened with disembodiment tactics that left long and lasting psychical scars. The same perpendicular evil on Social Media, the devils playground perpetrating further psychological abuse of women by dint of revenge porn. It is not restricted to ex-couples only but can involve any form of hacking into a person’s account in order to share explicit pictures of them. Myriads of pictures of exposed women have landed on the internet and giving grounds for supplementary abuse in form of comments, retweets and sharing.
I watched a friend who endured perverted delinquency for months and this is just a peep hole to the unspoken afflictions of silent victims. When a teary woman comes knocking on your door at the dead of the night barefoot in a flimsy night dress that is an abyss scenario of anguish. She had ran from her home seeking comfort from me after a verbal course of abuse from her husband. This man used damaging words such as “bitch”, useless, your mother is whore, uneducated buffoon” I will not glorify any more of his insults by mentioning them.
This form of EMOTIONAL VIOLENCE is a cowardly conduct to control a woman, source of masculinity and dominance. The cultural practice of paying lobola (bride price) has also bred an evil nature in men. Somehow most men believe that lobola proponents for a man that pays bride price to have full control over her and therefore can use her anyhow he wants.
I have witnessed emotional violence so many times it has become a norm.Women are advised to be docile as a form of “subordination” to endure and hope for the best. Emotional violence sucks your soul out, destroys your self-esteem, you lose yourself as a person and become any empty shell with nothing inside. Zest for life is dwindled to hopelessness and self-pity.
The tears of a ten year old laying silently and scared to death in her room. Haunted by the grotesque image of her heaving “husband” in the ecstasy of ejaculation. Why is a child carrying another child in her uterus? The people who she trusted sold her soul to the devil. Aghastly demonic culture on rampage. What is a 42 year old penis doing with a 10 year old vagina? The society looks on in silence at the reincarnation of Satan and his raging hell with flames of patriarchal desecration.
The old lady from down the street knows that she is a child bride, her sympathetic looks are all she can give knowing that this girl is raped every night. Turning a blind eye to the monstrous atrocities happening right under your nose old lady?How can you let such bestiality continue while your ten year old daughter is playing hop scotch outside? She screamed in labor as she tried to bear a child. TOO young to give birth she died together with the baby. She smiled as her soul left the filth of the flesh and a world of inbred cruelty.
• Has your partner isolated you from the rest of the world? Your friends, your family? And stopped you from going to work?
• Does he control the type of information that you receive and send out? Altering your reality imprisoning you in a bubble of his designed delusion?
• Does he control the finances and access to basic needs? Do you have to ask permission to buy necessities? Does he threaten to stop paying bills and school fees as a way to control you?
If the answer is yes to all these questions you are a victim of gender based violence, it might not be physical but it is violence against your mental health. This disease is so wide spread and so many women do not even realize their predicaments. Our culture has taught us to stick it out, bear it and accept it as part of life. We need to arise as a species and spread the awareness. PYSCHOLOGICAL, EMOTIONAL and ECONOMIC VIOLENCE is also thick in this country and these are the roots to physical abuse and domestic violence. Let us curb the debasement of our kind.
A world of sisters wounded and battered inside. Are we Desdemona flying on the wings of docility, waiting for Othello to smother us like a lamb? Wipe our tears because hope is finally here, our heroine and bosom of comfort. Let us sing a song, our bodies dancing provocatively to the same rhythm, beaded with sweat as we sway our hips and shake our behinds to the sweet liberty of felinity.
The tidal wave of a revolution that will lift us up against the face of patriarchy. 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. Together We Stand.
Makaita Penelope Kagwere- Mangwende founder of bloggerszim makaitahrogue.blogspot.com writer,blogger,business woman,editor and mother