In this blog series, you will see a lot of statistics. Some will convey the gravity of injuries. Some will convey the urgency of taking action in our homes and in our communities to address GBV. This type of violence reflects distorted notions of masculinity —a masculinity that obliterates childhood, turns homes into battlefields and friendships into covert operations.
Gender-based violence affects everyone. Here are some of our stories.
Her small plait got caught in the bed springs. The pain she felt as her hair was ripped from their roots was a perplexing as the weight of the body atop her small frame. She disengaged her mind from her body. Too shocked to scream. Already aware that calling attention to her predicament was to risk being called ‘wutless’ ‘dangles’ and labelled a liar for life. Her 11 year old mind had already understood the pecking order: male over female, adult over child.
|Easter girl by Karen Wilson. 2013.|
There was no pretence of love or being wanted. She was abandoned behind the veil of respectability, taken from the mother who could not provide for her materially and inserted into the marital home of the father who would not provide for her emotionally. She was a constant reminder of her father’s assertion of manhood —unbridled control over her mother, his wife and the maids who waxed the cool cement tiles.
He could have been called “Thin Slice” –a tall, sliver of mocha that you wanted to enjoy. He was a Lionel Ritchie Casanova, the type that Caribbean girls could not resist. Howie was sweet sexiness in the homophobic hurricane of the Caribbean. He came of age in a fraternity of friends who teased about not wanting to be too close lest they be mistaken for “batty man” or “anti-man.” He got married in an unforgettable wedding. When his wife left home abruptly and wanted an annulment, we were all confused. Within the year, those of us who shared his room, his smile and his quiet terror of being “outed,” said goodbye to what remained of Thin Slice.
|Business Man Black Silhouette by Karen Arnold|
These 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence are about rewriting these stories to create safety for all the Daisies, Dulcemenias and Howies in our homes and communities. Join us and share your thought about what we can do to end gender-based violence.