This time of the year plays a significant part in my life and in particular this particular date and event. Why? Because 14 years ago on the morning of 10th March 2001 I made a decision that changed my being in every aspect of my life.
Clutching at straws, even gasping for my last breath I had to make a run for my life or die at the hands of an evil man who did not understand what being humane was.
This decision was not made in haste and the nearest and dearest to me wonder why it took so long, in fact 16 years to walk the walk that I talked about for so long. Funny enough I’d talk to myself and always convincingly talk myself out of it. The reason for that was the fact that culturally, religiously within my community it was unheard of.
I am not the same person I was 14 years ago and nor was I the same person before that. I was struggling within myself to find me, who was I? What was my purpose in life? Why me? No one could answer those questions for me and I had to learn those answers the hard way. Through mistakes mainly, but what happened to me was not necessary.
Nevertheless, it happened and today I am alive, I have a voice which I intend to use where ever it deems fit.
Yes, I am a statistic. Yes, I am a woman and yes, I have been abused – physically, mentally and emotionally.
Initially I did not realise it at the time, but as the years went by and I matured, it was apparent that something was not right – I was not right and I believed that!
Like I said it took me many years to understand what was going on and many more years to build up my self esteem and finally pluck up the courage to walk and eventually run for my life.
In between growing up and running, I had many obstacles and doubts, as well as trying to make things work, as that was what was expected of me from the society. I had 3 lovely children to raise from a marriage that was doomed from day one!
I could not suss out what it was that I was doing wrong finally the penny was dropped! Err, hello I am me, a human being, a woman. I am an individual that needs to respected, valued and appreciated, yet like many women I was not. I had no value in the east or in the west and yet I allowed the society to take advantage of what God had created to be equal to a man. Wo! Did I say man? God created two types of human beings yet one took lead, and with leadership came power. A power that could be interpreted how ever one wishes.
The first national Women’s Day was observed on 28 February 1909 in the United States of America and has globally expanded through out the decades. Giving empowerment to girls and women alike.
I have embraced this day each year since 2001 as I alone know what it was like to be a woman, a broken and alone woman. Where, other women were helpless to reach out to me and when other women turned a blind eye to my predicament, deep down the anger surged and the hurt surfaced but when I reflect on that today I understand that they were in a predicament themselves, even, if they were not aware of it.
The UN theme for International Women’s Day 2015 is “Make it Happen’ encouraging effective action for advancing and recognising women.
No matter what day it is, what year it is, we are knowledgeable human beings and it is not rocket science to understand what it is to be humane to your fellow humans.
I am fortunate enough to work with young children, and very lucky to be able to give love still after my horrific ordeal. Further luckier still that I am shown love, which to date I still struggle in accepting it.
I have made it my promise that the children in my care will have every opportunity to learn that the world is a big playground to explore but there are bullies out there ready to take your dignity for pure evil pleasure.
I am off on a five day school residential trip soon, being a parent/carer to 43 over excited 10 year old’s their final swim in the little pool where they are the big fish before they go into the big pool in September as the smallest fish to start all over again.
Our job is to nurture good qualities into each child regardless of gender. Qualities like respect, value and appreciation of another living thing and their environment. I love this annual excursion as it’s my time to bond with them, where they see us as normal people dealing with every day living.
I know I am going to have a fab time, I will be totally shattered and battered but I would not miss it for the world.
What will I be doing on IWD? I will be on the return journey with 43 exhausted home sick children, but before we reach London we will make a special stop at ‘Monkey World’ a rescue centre for monkeys from all around the world that have been neglected or abused by their owners . A very emotional time for all of us as the children realise what the world ahead of them has to offer and what role they will play.
My favourite monkey Lulu is the one I long to see: http://www.monkeyworld.org/rescue-information/rescue-information-cyprus.htm
No doubt you will be bombarded with my experiences of the joys and laughter soon, but do remember one thing ‘Prevention is better than cure’ (World Health Organisation).
Lots of love & peace