End rape culture

I’m a woman…. if you didn’t guess yet. And as a woman I agree that we have a lot of challenges. For women, the world is constantly portrayed as unsafe, a place we should always look left and right almost every second. I cannot count the number of times me and other women have been told not to do this, go there, wear that…just to keep us safe. And as it is, it is usually in our best interests.

But honestly, we cannot take care of ourselves enough. We cannot wear long enough clothes, choose people we interact with well enough, go to places that are safe enough with danger being everywhere. Danger in this case being rape.

Rape, I heard that word first when I was around seven years old. I was a curious cat and probably knew about sex way faster than a lot of kids my age. And when I heard about rape, the first thing that came to mind was being held down by a stranger on the dark alley, screaming and crying for help. But I’ve grown, and I’ve learnt that the world may actually be worse than that. Close friends, relatives and even spouses have now presented themselves as rapists. This week a young woman was raped (I wanted to say violently raped but rape in on itself is a form of violence) and killed by a man she went on a date with. Another unfortunate incident, a woman was thrown from the 12th floor down ultimately being crippled just because she rejected her boyfriend’s sexual advances.

Of course there is the question of how careful these women were, going to meet with these men that they didn’t know well, using these men for financial gains but for the life of me I cannot understand how that becomes a justification for rape, crippling and ultimate brutal murder.

Many women all over the internet were pissed, going to their social media platforms to rant about how unjust these deaths were. The hashtag justiceforVesh was among the trending hashtags all week. But this was mostly promoted by women, men for the most part keeping quiet. Of course I could go into a heated rant on how misogyny and male privilege has led to this heartbreaking and ignorant silence but I won’t.

Then the one thing happened that sent everyone into a shock, a group of high influencing men on radio decided to victim blame and demean not only the two women who met their unfortunate gender based violence fuelled crimes this week but also every other woman who has gone through any form of GBV. Now we all know how ‘women’s fights’ are usually left to women alone. By ‘women’s fights’ I mean the feminist cause, I mean inclusion, I mean rape and other forms of gender based violence. And by saying this I don’t mean that men do not go through this sorts of acts, I mean most women do and it’s wrong that the patriarchal society has normalized it, making it the so called ‘rape culture’ where rape is normalized and where women are blamed for being rape victims.

I’m pretty pissed off right now, ranting about this instead of sleeping. But somehow I feel like a lot of people need to hear this. Never will there be a justification for rape or any form of gender based violence. Never will victim blaming rape victims be a solution to the rape problem or better still keep women safe. Never will women wear long enough clothes or walk home early enough to prevent rape because the problem is never with them but with rapists. And never will disrespecting women just because make you the ultimate alpha male. I could say rape needs to stop but we already know this. I could say men need to stop normalizing and making a joke out of rape but we know this too. All I have to say is I hope one day no woman will have to look behind her back every two minutes because some guy stared at her for a second too long.

Whodunit series 4

……..Me? I just watched everyone do what they had to do. This cases had obviously got me interested, but what was a girl, not even the slightest related to the police department ,to do? Investigate? That only happened in foreign movies. Not here, here we minded our business. All I did was lock my doors and hope that I had not locked myself in with evil.…..

tick tok

That was the only sound in the apartment that evening, and the previous and the day before that basically since I rented the apartment. I was fresh from college and had not come around getting a job yet let alone filling the house up. The high unemployment rates did not help either. I got on with odd jobs and today being a waitress was more tiring than any job I’d ever had. 12 hours of constant walking and attending to irate hungry customers did no good for my mood and my bones. All I wanted was to sleep and hopefully dream of a better tomorrow. And who knows maybe my dreams would come true.

So I lay on the old rickety couch that my parents had given me as I went to start a new life alone. God bless their sweet souls, they probably thought I was making it here in the city, I had a prestigious degree after all….I wasn’t about to tolerate the depressing thoughts so I closed my eyes and tried to will some sleep.

Not going to lie, I once had good instincts. Before coming to the city I could tell dangerous situations just by the ‘vibe’ I don’t know why I loved that word anyway, guess I thought it was cool. But now, I had lost the good instinct once had. I had been robbed by people who had a good ‘vibe’. I had seen people with bad ‘vibes’ do good things. That was what the city was, grey. Not black and white, just grey. So maybe that’s why I didn’t notice that presence in the apartment that day. And if I did I could have realized it had a bad ‘vibe’

I was having a dream_less tired sleep when I felt it at first. Almost like a light tap on my face. Then another one. Of course I woke up at that. It wasn’t like I was enjoying my sleep anyway. Right in front of me stood a dark figure. I couldn’t see their eyes but I could feel their evil stare almost burning into me. This wasn’t a movie and I was not the movie protagonist whose scream dried in my throat. I’m only human. And so I let out the loudest, most scared shriek I had ever heard in my entire life.


Perfectionist deception

I’ve been active on instagram over the past one month. And what can I say? It has been an experience. I have had to scroll through hundreds of ‘perfect’ lives, bodies, relationships, cars, heck even cups. And no, I’m not exaggerating, people have perfect cups out there. Don’t even get me started on the perfect spoon😂😂 Anyway social media is to a great extent toxic as it is helpful. I’m pretty sure Mark Zuckerberg and his counterparts had a concept in mind of a virtual gallery. A place where people from all over the world posted pictures of their happy memories, talents, creative ideas, the jazz. But not for the razmatazz that we see on the platforms right now that basically has shaped our society into a, well for lack of a better word, perfectionist society.

Social media is just the place you want to be if you want to sell something or share something beautiful, very many different people will see it and of all the people who see it, a percentage of them will like it. But it’s also the place you want to be if you want to be dissatisfied with your significant other who doesn’t buy you a Benz every time you get sick or at your body for not fitting the perfect beauty standard. And don’t even get me started on the fact that you can’t buy that million dollar spoon that was advertised by your favourite influencer.

The toxicity from most of the social media posts we see has impacted our lives greatly turning us into people who are mostly chasing either clout or perfection which has negatively impacted our own images, esteem and can we also acknowledge how bad it is for our mental health? Can we not talk about how it has made more people make questionable choices with their lives just to get the life that they admire so much? Lives that we see on those perfectly curated instagram feeds that are not real? (I keep saying instagram because it affects our lives these days more than other social media platforms) Also what about the fake and toxic ideologies and stands that are constantly sold on Twitter (yes toxic feminists of Twitter who keep pulling the feminist cause years back I see you, and no men aren’t trash) and inevitably shaping the next generation into something we are not even proud of. Most eating disorders for instance come from the feeling of not being perfect enough, not fitting into a standard set by social media. Most lies sold to us these days are sold to us on social media making us feel horrible about ourselves for being twenty years old and not having three companies and having travelled all the countries of the world and to the moon as well😂😂.

And no…this is not one of the rants that I end with what we should do. A solution to this problem. After all I’m just a 19 year old girl, just in the right age group to be either positively or negatively but still heavily influenced by social media. I’m just trying to get my opinion in the world, I hope to make good choices. And I hope that you my dear reader make great choices as well.

Eating disorders

The world…is an interesting place…to say the least. When you think you have a decent amount of knowledge it humbles you😂😂 This week, I went down the rabbit hole of researching about eating disorders. Honestly, I never thought much about eating disorders. They seemed pretty foreign, and in my mind I just thought it was a disease people got when they wanted to be skinny and it healed it self once you got to your body goals’.

I’m African, it’s rare to find a woman who believes that her body goals include being skinny and impossibly delicate…..what is that they say? They want some meat on their bones? In recent times, this has become the’ideal body’ forcing women all over the world to go to extreme measures to get this ‘meat on their bones’. But I digress….. This week I came across a picture of a woman who confessed to have had an eating disorder. And for lack of a better phrase, she was a living skeleton. I was shocked, wondering what could compel a human being to get to that point. I mean I understand dieting to get to a certain health and fitness goal but this was extreme. And so I researched, and researched….and anyone who knows me knows that I obsess over things I don’t understand for such long times it’s worrying sometimes😂

That long rant is to say that this post is just to share my findings with you about eating disorders. It must be noted that this is just to spread awareness and not to allow for self diagnosis.

So there is a whole spectrum of eating disorders including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, pica, binge eating disorder among others. The most common of them is anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. I’m making sure to add the ‘nervosa’ because they are psychological disorders. This means that eating disorders are basically psychological disorders that cause unhealthy eating habits. This obviously went against what I thought previously that eating was something in people’s control, it being a basic instinct. As easy as it is to say that eating disorders are within the victim’s control, research proves this common mentality wrong.

Anorexia nervosa is the most common of the disorders, it being more common in females than in males. It is classified into two types, the restricting type which one stops him/herself from eating either generally or a certain type of food. The purging type is when one with the disorder eats large amounts of food then forces him or herself to vomit. This types of behaviours stem from their extreme aversion to gaining weight and therefore are usually underweight. This also brings other health complications that in some cases are life threatening.

Bulimia nervosa is generally characterized by binge eating. This is when one eats a lot of food in a short period of time with no sense of control only stopping when painfully full. They then go into either vomiting starve themselves to counteract the effects of the binge. These people tend to have normal weight levels but their disorder can severely impact their lives.

Binge eating disorder is different from bulimia where people with the disorder engage in binge eating moments without doing anything to’counteract’ the effects of the binge. It mostly leads to obesity and general over weight.

Pica is a disorder where people crave for inedible objects for example stones, papers, clay, sand, laundry, detergent etcetera. It is mostly seen in pregnant women, children and people who suffer from mental disabilities.

Trust me when I say I haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to these disorders. Something I’ve noticed as I read through every article I could find on EDs is that symptoms vary from one person to another. These are not easily stereotyped disorders but are unique from one person to another which makes it even more diverse. Eating is a basic human instinct….some people say we are born to eat. It is scary to think that this can be a problem too at some point. I declare myself officially mindblown

Whodunit series 3

…..”News just in, a young woman’s body has been found brutally murdered in her apartment. This marks the sixth of the brutal murders that have been happening around the Nairobi suburbs in the past two weeks. The police claim that this is a series of cases unlike any other with no signs of forced entry, robbery or foreign dna in crime scene and therefore no suspects leaving the police in a limbo. They however urge the public to come out with any information that might be helpful…..”

I had watched the news on the murders and in all honesty, researched every detail of what had happened to the now seven women. The latest of the murders had been the most mind boggling, no sign of forced entry was seen, nothing was noted in the surveillance cameras that were perched all over the buildings and no foreign DNA was found. The police after two weeks of fruitless investigation had finally given up on the case stating it as a well planned suicide. Of course this did not make any sense to the public but who was to argue? Everyone needed answers, even if they were wrong.

A couple of sceptics though had claimed that it was supernatural. Ghosts and demons they claimed…..obviously striking fear into people’s hearts. This was Africa after all, everyone had a belief, even the slightest, in the otherworldly. A couple of street preachers milked on this too. You could hear them shouting in the alleys…

”Repent, and you’ll be saved!! For he has come back to punish the sinners!! And he comes like a thief in the night!!” At least they were accurate on the thief in the night part. People fell for the sermons, milling around them and giving their ‘repentance offerings’. Maybe somehow it gave them peace and reassurance that they wouldn’t be the next victim we would hear on the news. Or at the very least allow them into the kingdom of milk and honey.

Me? I just watched everyone do what they had to do. This cases had obviously got me interested, but what was a girl, not even the slightest related to the police department ,to do? Investigate? That only happened in foreign movies. Not here, here we minded our business. All I did was lock my doors and hope that I had not locked myself in with evil.

Ps: Oh hey reader!😊 it’s been a while. I took a break because my mental health was shit but I’m better now. I would really appreciate your feedback on this story I’m doing. Constructive criticism will do too!

Whodunit series 2

……This obviously threw the people into a state of panic, a fear that grew like a festering wound, slowly but surely. Fingers were pointed, the mad man in the market, the common chicken thief , even at the local rich man. ‘Devil worship,’ they whispered among themselves. No one was sure though but one thing was clear, someone very evil had walked on the same soil they stood on, committed a cold murder and left. And who knew? Maybe they would strike again……

It had been a tiring week for Rachel. A whole week of insane office hours, an impatient boss and just general office politics. But she had been riding on a high wave. Her boyfriend, well now fiance, had proposed. She still could not believe it had happened. Proudly, she held the rock on her finger in front of her and smiled. It reflected light from the bulb to her face making her look like an angel. A smiling angel. Just like her fiance had always called her. My smiling angel. She considered calling him so they could spend time together but then thought against it. Apparently they should spend time apart before their wedding or so a corny relationship book she had come across said. So movie night it was.

She took a packet of oily takeaway food she had bought from a local kibanda and sat in on her wooden coffee table and cuddled into a warm comforter that just happened to be lying around. Ten minutes searching for a decent movie proved useless so she put on a documentary on a historical figure she couldn’t care much about and drifted to daydream. Her wedding, what would her gown look like? What about the shoes, the bridesmaids? She was like a little kid with the promise of chocolate. She even let her mind think of her future kids. Oh they would be adorable with their father’s eyes and her smile. The family would probably live in a cute little apartment somewhere in the suburbs. She literally could not wait. Soon her brain got tired of the fantasy that she insisted on living in and her eyes got heavier. Not having touched the now cold, disgusting_looking food, she switched the tele off and let herself doze on the sofa.

That’s when she realized how quiet her apartment building was. The normal din of screaming kids and loud music could not be heard which unsettled her tired mind. But she ignored it anyway and let the sleep carry her.

It was quiet at first, but unmistakable. Rachel was woken up by taps, so quiet she wondered how they managed to interrupt her sleep.She couldn’t figure out where they were coming from so she decided to ignore them. Probably the neighbours….. Then the taps increased in volume and tempo. They sounded almost like a kid jumping on the floor. Of course Rachel dismissed this, she had just been thinking about kids a few minutes ago. But the taps, those she couldn’t dismiss. Especially since they were now loud enough to fill the air in the apartment. They sounded like they came from the bathroom leading Rachel to believe that it must have been a faulty tap. So, still wrapped in her comforter she walked to the bathroom. As she got closer so did the taps grow louder and frenzied…..almost excited……She opened the bathroom,nothing. Nothing was in there, no faulty taps, no dripping water and strangely enough no tapping. Now that she thought about it, these taps sounded almost like knocks on the door. On the bathroom door. Like someone or something was asking to be let in…..

”News just in, a young woman’s body has been found brutally murdered in her apartment. This marks the sixth of the brutal murders that have been happening around the Nairobi suburbs in the past two weeks. The police claim that this is a series of cases unlike any other with no signs of forced entry, robbery or foreign dna in crime scene and therefore no suspects leaving the police in a limbo. They however urge the public to come out with any information that might be helpful…..”

Glamour??

Just this week I happened to be in some social media scrolling shenanigans and came across a meme that has been made into countless of videos and ‘quotes’ for a while now. Apparently’ you can’t hurt an overthinker, they have thought of every scenario that you could, you are just proving them right’ or something in those lines.

I’m just going to say it, I love memes. I laugh at them all the time. But some of them piss me off, this taking the top place. I feel like this is one of those things in the media that serves to glamourize mental illnesses. I’m not saying that everyone who overthinks has a mental health issue but most of them do. Most of them have anxiety and overthinking is their way of anticipating the future. Which sometimes in all honesty brings more anxiety. Some overthink because they have real issues and are trying to ‘solve them in their head’.

But when people make such memes and such videos, it makes it seem so cool. Apparently according to the media it is cool to have anxiety. It is portrayed as probably a cute girl who spends too much time in the library and should go out more. Anxiety in this case being a cute quirk of hers. If it’s a guy it’s crippling anxiety that won’t let him get the girl of his dreams or even perform littlest of tasks like talk to the cashier at the supermarket. Depression now is supposedly cool, when one cries themselves to sleep, when one takes drugs to numb themselves, it’s trendy. I stand corrected but this is not how these issues go.

These are actual real life issues that people go through and the worst thing anyone can do is make them seem like such an amazing thing. All I’m trying to say here is as a person who believes in educating the populace in all matters mental health, glamourizing it is pretty much counter_effective. The best way might be just to show people how serious these things are instead.

Cerebral palsy

This year I decided to expand my talk about mental illnesses to include even mental disabilities. I thought, if we are going to erase the stigma on mental health, why not broaden the spectrum on everything mental issues? And with this question in mind, the first disability I could think of was cerebral palsy. I’ve been around kids with this illness before and have seen first hand the shame felt by the parents (one that results to hiding and in extreme cases killing of the kids) the confusing symptoms, the questions to God, and can we not forget the financial constraints? Most people see kids with cerebral palsy as a curse, a burden and so many other things that they are not.

So what is cerebral palsy? It’s a congenital disorder, that is one that starts in the mother’s womb or during birth. It is usually not detected at birth though but a couple of months in. This means that kids can be born and one will only discover the illness 2 years later. It can be found out through doctor’s examinations or MRI tests or CT scans. All this as you can imagine can be pretty scary for a parent. I’m imagining a young kid…not more than three years having to go through this whole process….it’s scary.

The symptoms include tight muscles or floppy muscles(vary from child to child), slow development/ delayed development milestones, unable to hold head up,poor muscle control, feeding/swallowing difficulties,sleeping difficulties preferences to use one side of the body among so many others. They differ in different children. Cerebral palsy unfortunately has no cure and can only be treated throughout one’s life through physiotherapy, surgery such as gastronomy, medications such as muscle relaxants and sedative and physical exercise.

I could be a nerd and tell you about all the different types of cerebral palsy( quadriplegia, tripelgia, diplegia, hemiplegia, monoplegia, spastic, dyskinetix ,athetord, ataxic, mixed) but that is a lot of information. I feel like it deserves its own post. So I’m gonna preach instead😂

I’m gonna to go through my same message, be kind, understanding….you get the gist, right? Though I feel like in real sense, people with cerebral palsy go through alot. Most of their symptoms put them in great danger,pain, stigma, confusion, financial constraints trying to deal with it and in some cases can lead to death. It’s must be tough life to live people, be kind.

Charlie Charlie

That minute when I summoned Charlie I just knew I was making a stupid mistake. But somehow I couldn’t bring myself to care…I needed to do this.

That day had been one of those days….you know…the bad ones? I had woken up ten minutes late, missed the train, got to work late, been fired just thirty minutes later. When I got home, a powerful stench hit me, one that was all too familiar. I rushed into the house and into my mother’s room finding her covered in her own vomit. As I cleaned up, my mind couldn’t help but remember the times when she would take care of me. The playtime injuries, the random fevers even the time when those bullies threw me in that pit of thorns. Of course she was healthier then, before she was diagnosed with colon cancer.

I was an only child. My father and the love of my mother’s life had left the minute he realized that she was pregnant. He claimed he was too ‘young for such responsibility’. Such a weird thing to hear from a 41 year old but who was checking. The guy had taken little time to disappear leaving us behind like the extra baggage he thought we were. But it was okay. We survived, just the two of us. My mother being the local mama pima got us a little bit of a decent living. Life was good, not perfect but just good.

Then that day when I saw the bloody vomit, the unnaturally huge clumps of hair left in the bathroom, the sway in her previously elegant walk it signified an end of an era for me.That day when she told me about her cancer diagnosis, I cried my eyes dry. For myself and for her. I knew I couldn’t continue schooling and leave her to take care of herself so I looked for a job. A job I had been wrongfully fired from just that day.

So after cleaning her up I decided to take a walk…to.clear my mind. I wanted to know clearly the questions I would ask and how I would ask them. My mind kept ringing alarms at me but I ignored it.

When the scorching sun eventually set I got back home and started preparing supper. Well, it was more of scraping remains from the previous days and trying to make a decent meal out of it. Our cupboard had after all been empty for the past two or was it three days? If only I had just a little money, maybe I could have bought my mother something more nutritious, maybe she could have been stronger, maybe….

After feeding her, I sat next to her bed and waited for her to finally fall asleep. Once I heard her breathing steady I walked to the sitting room and picked two pencils, both that hadn’t been used ever since I left school a year ago,and a roughly cut piece of paper that just so happened to be lying around. Then I partitioned it into four rough parts and wrote ‘yes’ and ‘no’ opposite on each side. As I knelt on the floor the paper right in front of me I remember feeling a gut feeling so strong come at me…as if trying to convince me against what I was about to do. But my stubborn self brushed it off.

And in the flickering candle light I finally whispered what had been replaying in my mind all day.

”Charlie Charlie, are you there?”

I stared intently at the pencils, the piece of paper, then slowly, as if moved by an invincible hand, the pencil moved towards the ‘yes’. I remember the adrenaline rush that minute. One so strong I almost ignored how the flickering of the candle light had changed. It now flickered as if it was breathing. In…out.

Swallowing I asked a question so dear to my heart, one I was afraid of the answer but had to know anyway….

”Charlie Charlie, will she survive this?”

The pencil rested on ‘yes’ for a while I was almost relieved. But then ever so violently it jerked to the ‘no’. This was an answer I had anticipated in a long time but nothing prepares you for such a cruel stating of facts. Maybe this was why I ripped the paper into pieces, or thrown the pencil to the farthest corner in quiet anger and frustration.

I wish I could say what happened after that. Or what I did later, but my memory is fuzzy. Everything after that blurs. All I know is two burly men were carrying me into a white van all the while looking scared. I couldn’t figure out what they were scared of. And why were there handcuffs on my wrists? Then looking ahead I saw two sombre people walk out of our house with a bloody body bag. I wondered who it was that was so unfortunate to be in there.

I heard the whispers”…. she cut her into pieces…….nothing like we have seen before…….she acts like one possessed……”

Whodunit series 1

It was a cold night, the New Year’s eve to be precise. Congregants gathered in places of worship, revellers in clubs, another group of people just slept all waiting to usher in the New Year. Outside dogs howled and cats scratched. But above the nightly orchestra two angry voices were heard. It was the Kiamas….again. Maybe Mrs Kiama hadn’t opened the door in time? Or had she worn the red shoes, you know, the ones he hated? Maybe Mr Kiama smelled of cheap women’s perfume? Or he had worn trousers that didn’t compliment his colour, I mean who wears pink trousers? Don’t ask….they had fought over this before. Village idlers had made a habit of betting on what they would argue over actually. Then in a surprising turn of events they would wake up the next day, painting a picture of a young couple in love holding hands and smiling at each other like nothing had happened.Maybe that’s why the neighbours didn’t notice the voices today were just a tad louder than usual.

So then obviously no one noticed the dark figure in the shadows. It stood like a spot of pure evil in the night. It was reported that the noise from the Kiamas stopped at around 11pm. Must have been around that time when……

The next morning the shopkeeper expected the couple to come, holding hands, to buy their morning milk. But they never did. In the evening, the local mama mboga waited for the smiling laughing pair but didn’t see them. It was odd that no one saw them all day. A couple of days later, people realized how odd it was that no one thought much about it then.

A week after New Year’s celebrations a call was made to the police. A horrible smell was emanating from within the neighbourhood. They needed to investigate. At 2pm two dead bodies were found. A man and a woman, both with multiple stab wounds that had obviously been bleeding a lot before the blood dried up and started rotting. Their time of death was approximated to be a week ago. They were identified as John Kiama and his beautiful wife Jane Kiama.

This obviously threw the people into a state of panic, a fear that grew like a festering wound, slowly but surely. Fingers were pointed, the mad man in the market, the common chicken thief , even at the local rich man. ‘Devil worship,’ they whispered among themselves. No one was sure though but one thing was clear, someone very evil had walked on the same soil they stood on, committed a cold murder and left. And who knew? Maybe they would strike again.