Safety Saturday: It was not your fault

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Mwaka Mwandwe :

“Women Provoke Men to harass them by their behaviour, most of the women’s clothes do not match up with the conservative nature of (OUR) society.”

One of our interviewees said in our #SafetyReport. Read the full report here:- https://goo.gl/RHCGec

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Our SAFIGI #SafetySaturday tip

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Freewill is autonomy, freedom, the ability to behave or act at one’s own discretion. This is based on the premise that your actions do not infringe on any one’s human rights or break the rule of law in that country or society.

However, even with autonomy entitled to everyone some people believe that females provoke them with their behaviour and dress code which often leads to not only harassment but sometimes physical sexual assault e.g. rape.

Harassment, Physical Violence and Sexual assault are crimes that have negative psychological, emotional and behavioural implications for the victim which affects their life, work, marriage and overall, their social interaction. According to UNFPA (2016), “Almost 1 in every 2 women (43%) have experienced physical violence, while about 1 in every 6 (17%) have experienced sexual violence.”

Firstly, the world is very diverse with people who have gone through varied processes of socialization from childhood to adulthood. By implication, this means what you may not agree with, they do. What you find socially unacceptable, maybe acceptable with them and hence, as long as they are not infringing on anyone’s fundamental human rights, they have the free will to act at their own discretion.

Unfortunately, it is no one’s job to impose their values, no matter how good they are assumed to be, on others because each person has the right to express themselves and hold their own values.

Worse, to claim that you are attempting to preserve the conservative norms of a society by raping indecently dressed females is hypocritical, what kind of tradition and culture supports violating women as beneficial or a requisite in keeping it’s identity?

What kind of system condones, validates or finds justification in the victimization of people who it claims to protect and serve?

Hurting people who behave or are dressed differently from you find acceptable says more about your mental state than the character of the victim.

To would be offenders, if you constantly feel the need to attack and subject any females to such a horrible and inhuman experience, seek help, confide in a trusted friend and get the support you need to get professional help. Aside from conservative beliefs, Some predators have such tendencies because of past experiences, they were abused themselves or bullied. Other reasons would be reinforcement contingencies such as a chance happening with a vulnerable person, cognitive expectations e.g. the need to be compensated for financial assistance rendered or compensation for emotional inadequacy.

To the victims, always talk to people that love you for support. It was not your fault, being a victim of sexual violence is never your fault. Always fight back to have physical evidence, most crimes of sexual violence go unreported because victims feel they are to blame or no one will believe them. Ensure you have evidence. It was not your Fault. And speak to a professional to help your healing process.

Mwaka C. Mwandwe holds a BA in Psychology and History from the University of Zambia. She has been passionate about public health since she was 18 years old with key interest toward Adolescents and inclined to behavioral change and social justice. Her work experience, mainly in the NGO sector, have been bordered on Sexual Reproductive Health, life skills, human rights and the promotion of Gender Equality. She loves to read varieties of books, watch movies and subtitled series. Her favorite pet is a cat and if she had the chance, she would declare a world junk food day so she can proudly store chocolate for it. She has been Volunteer Manager for SAFIGI since 2016

About SAFIGI:

SAFIGI Outreach Foundation Ltd is a not for profit organization based in Zambia with a vision to raise a generation where girls are empowered, equipped and fulfilled in every aspect of their life, for the development of the entire world. To know more about SAFIGI’s goals and activities, visit http://www.safetyfirstforgirls.org

 

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