Connect with us

Lifestyle

The Unchecked Culture of Sexual Misconduct

We have to divorce ourselves from this mentality where we burden a victim of sexual misconduct with automated self-defence responses, because human beings’ reflexes have no manual.

Published

on

The Unchecked Culture of Sexual Misconduct Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Stop Sexual Misconduct
4 / 100

Rorisang Moyo

The year is any year of a woman’s life. You are fresh out of university, wet by the ears, eager to get into the big world of adulting, getting a job, and having a tax bracket. You have worked hard to complete an outstanding CV. You have submitted it. Your CV has been noticed, and you have made it to the interview stage. It is both an exciting and nerve-wracking time for you.

You are worried about what will come out of your mouth during the interview. You are worried about your outfit and how it will be perceived. The time arrives, you are called in. The interviewer is male. He tells you how beautiful you are, and how you should go out with him sometime. You freeze, because this has nothing to do with the job you are aspiring to do. You do not know how to react. This is the person who is the barrier between you, and a possible lifeline.

He proceeds to stroke your hands. Further confusion! You think about asking him to do what he is supposed to do. You think about how he will react. After all, he is the one in control. Your heart is racing. You do not know if your reaction will be perceived as offensive, and if it will make you lose the job that you have not even been offered. You flinch. Your hand moves from his now firm grasp. You know you are uncomfortable, and the room seems to be getting smaller.

You feel dirty. It is as though bugs are crawling up and down your body. You watch this stranger undressing you with his eyes. Somehow your show of being uncomfortable makes him excited and more aggressive, till he tells you in matter-of-fact terms that if you do not agree to go on a date with him, you are not getting the job.

“As long as people in key places of power are held to a different standard of accountability compared to the rest of society, history will casually repeat itself!”

Some will ask, “Why did she not just stand up and leave?” Why did she not immediately show anger and tell him a piece of her mind within the five seconds, because obviously, this behaviour is uncalled for? We have to divorce ourselves from this mentality where we burden a victim of sexual misconduct with automated self-defence responses, because human beings’ reflexes have no manual.

One would say… “at least she managed to get away. He could have done worse. It was not a big deal; can’t a man compliment a woman anymore? She should have politely declined. This is nothing new under the sun.” Men are more inclined to see things like that.

The reason why some workplaces regulate relationships between office leaders and their subordinates, is because the nature of the power dynamics may preclude a subordinate from having a genuine choice to enter into a relationship. It really is not rocket science.

The Unchecked Culture of Sexual Misconduct Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

This underhanded behaviour of sexual misconduct does not only stop at interviews. It happens even when one has gotten the job, supposedly on their own merit, only to be victimised again. Many women report being touched inappropriately, forced hugs, groping, patting, etc. We have to understand that one does not have to hold a gun to your head to make you powerless. One can just remind you of your lower social and economic position to get you to sleep with them. Sometimes they do not have to say it, they may be soft-spoken, and appear to be kind.

“In a society where sexual violence is so prevalent, there should come a time where we do not only name and shame, but we actively take steps to make sure that people do not get off lightly.”

This is not something that only happens to children where an adult gives you a sweet while convincing you that the squeezing of your breast is the thing that is not wrong and it just makes your bond stronger. The person does not have to hold out a gun to your head. The consequences of disobeying play out in your mind, and force you to comply.

The recent sexual harassment scandals surrounding Zimbabwe’s Vice President were shameful, to say the least. A few years ago, a picture of him holding a high school student’s waist in a sexual manner did not make people angry enough for me. The country was silent, and that is telling of the prevalence of sexual misconduct that is embedded in the country’s culture of being sexually inappropriate.
The story was acknowledged and not engaged. Recently, the man resigned on allegations of sexual misconduct, and then a conversation arose on social media, where the arguments about whether his inappropriate relationships with his subordinates were the subordinates’ fault. The conversation was then centred on the fact that allegations of sexual misconduct have been a historical political tool for leverage.

While that may or may not be true, it negates the victim’s experience, as it then makes the perpetrator the main character, a form of ‘victim’ in the bigger political game that is politics. The narrative that society then brings out is that, “Even if he did it, his political opponents are just using the matter to discredit him.” It is saddening that this narrative has taken light away from the hard conversations that we should be having as a society.

So what if he is a pawn in the bigger political game, how does an entire country not care that a woman has been coerced into a sexual relationship, probably in fear of her life? It is easy to look at these women as people who are lazy and have ambition to be wealthy and want to take a shortcut. That is if you take the tweets of problematic people into consideration. In a society where sexual violence is so prevalent, there should come a time where we do not only name and shame, but we actively take steps to make sure that people do not get off lightly.

The Unchecked Culture of Sexual Misconduct Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Stop Sexual Assault!

The year was 2007, and a young woman in South Africa accused former president of South Africa Jacob Zuma of rape. The woman was victimised thoroughly by the ANC’s women league, and eventually at Jacob Zuma’s acquittal, she was basically hounded out of the country. Again, the victim was stripped of her dignity, all to keep the narrative that Jacob Zuma, the ‘father of the nation’, could not possibly be involved in sexual misconduct. Women gathered to shame her and to make her look like a liar. The woman died at the age of 41, victimised, then forgotten. The way South African law has made powerful people untouchable and deals with them in a soft-handed manner, has set the tone of how the victims of sexual misconduct have been treated henceforth.

I have sat at tables where a fellow woman will passionately argue that there is no way a specific guy could ever be a rapist because he is popular and the world is at his disposal. This type of thinking lowers the discourse about the issues of sexual misconduct. The horror of sitting through a conversation where an alleged perpetrator was being dignified saddened me because it was a reflection of a million more people who thought the exact same way.

In 2019, the Gambian president Yahya Jammeh was accused by three women of sexual assault while in office. His party’s response to the allegations was that they were utterly disappointed to be confronted by ‘malicious allegations’ against the former president. Again, the way words are used in media, makes it seem as if some sort of smearing war was going on between the victims and the perpetrator.

When large bodies like ruling parties who essentially control the judicial system react in a way that they try to bury these stories, we know that victims of sexual misconduct will forever be in danger.
No matter how much discourse is had around these topics without the relevant actors engaging proactively, we will talk till our voices get hoarse. We will forever bemoan the state of our society. How are people supposed to help if we collectively bully victims into believing that what happened to them was a rite of passage for all beautiful women? As long as people in key places of power are held to a different standard of accountability compared to the rest of society, history will casually repeat itself!

Connect with Rori via her Blog, Email and LinkedIn:

https://rorisangmoyo2.wixsite.com/website/blog

LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/rorisang-moyo-2a8731193/

Email: rori@asanteafrika.net

Lifestyle

Unprepared and Offended

We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. ~ Gloria Steinem

Published

on

By

Unprepared and Offended Asante Afrika Magazine
26 / 100

Hazel Lifa

For years tension has been building between the sexes, a battle line has been drawn, and if we are being honest, noone knows when this happened. It is evident in movements like the Men’s Rights Movement and the christened ‘Third Wave of Feminism’. Somehow it has become a ‘Men vs. Women’ world in a reality where we honestly need each other to evolve and survive.

“It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals”.

emma watson

In a past article I spoke about how of late we tend to make everything about gender; a man behaves badly, it’s because he is a man. If a woman abuses her spouse, it is because she is a woman and privileged. In our bid to simplify the issues each sex meets in life and figuring out who’s to blame, we have cultivated so much contempt and mistrust. According to actress, Emma Watson, “It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum, instead of two sets of opposing ideals”.

Unprepared and Offended Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Emma Watson 

I recently had a conversation with an educated lady who pointed out a huge factor in the case of the modern woman and man. Men and boys were never prepared for the empowered, educated and powerful woman point-blank. Think about it; when you are born into societies where two parties hold such suspicion and resentment towards each other, what happens when we try to evolve and grow? Further misunderstanding and skepticism, and the game of broken telephone continues.

“…I will go as far as to say the modern woman is seen as less than.”

Whether it be in the African setting or European household, women have generally played the subservient role; treed away from major roles in powerful spaces like politics or law enforcement, asked only to entertain with their feminine appealing looks, and valued for procreation.

With the rise of feminism, women were encouraged to be just as daring as men, confident, and commanding. Women started entering the workforce, voting, started businesses… oh what a time it was! However, no one thought to prepare boys and men for this evolution of the woman, and unfortunately, it has ended in a stand-off.

The modern-day educated and working woman is often persecuted and made to feel guilty for having aspirations beyond a household and a spouse. Speaking from an African perspective, I will go as far as to say the modern woman is seen as less than. I have been genuinely warned to not get ‘too educated’, as I will be hard to marry off.

“We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.”

Gloria Steinem

On a social level, boys and men have and are still being taught that to be a ‘man’, a woman or several have to be at their mercy, inferior, and often in a position of humiliation. A woman being intelligent and insightful is equated to a man being less than. One would think that logically, having a working and educated wife would add to the quality of an ideal spouse and life partner. Many households are plagued with violence of all kinds created by insecurities which young boys are taught and carry into adulthood.

The tension has gotten to a point where women are either taking too long to marry, or forgoing the experience altogether. Such actions will have ramifications on society, but the biggest question is whether they will be positive or negative? One asks, “Ok, we have identified the issue, now how do we correct it?” The truth is that the fix is tedious, and it requires dedication from parents and adults around young boys. In the famous words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “Culture does not make people. People make culture.”

Unprepared and Offended Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

The perception of the opposite sex and the dynamics of man and woman are topics taught from the tender stage of infancy, hence the nuclear family unit is where the work should start. Boys should be taught that it’s ok if a girl is better than you in a sport or at a job, her capabilities shouldn’t translate to your self-worth. “We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters,” says Gloria Steinem. 

Let us be brave enough to teach boys to not see girls as the benchmark of weakness and inadequacy. Teach boys to not to be sore losers who rather than be motivated to do better next time, lash out at girls and women who excel. Let us make phrases like ‘throws like a girl‘, ‘fights like a girl’, a positive thing; if I am a girl, how else am I to throw, fight, etc.?

Continue Reading

Lifestyle

#BlackGirlMagic

Zambian professional soccer star, Barbara Banda made history at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo by becoming the first woman to achieve multiple hat tricks in a single Olympic event.

Published

on

By

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Zambian professional football star, Barbara Banda
54 / 100

Hazel Lifa

They say it’s better late than never. The month of August’s significance is one that originated in South Africa after more than 20 000 women from all walks of life united in a mass demonstration walking towards the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Women’s March for Human Rights 1956

The strength and audacity exercised by women like Helen Joseph and Albertina Sisulu on August 9th 1956 are virtues that young African and black women alike can look up to in today’s world. For this year’s just ended National Women’s Month, I would like to shine a bright light on the black girl magic that has been going around in Africa and around the globe lately.

It is the time of the black woman to shine, not to say she couldn’t before, but the world right now is giving black women, as they say these days, ‘their roses while they’re alive to smell them’.

I will kick off this magical show with a feat I am sure many will agree is a game-changer. Kamala Devi Harris, the 49th Vice President of U.S.A. This biracial black woman of South Asian descent is moving in circles which women with any trace of melanin complexion couldn’t even dream of being included in for centuries. Harris’ position as Vice President of the most powerful nation on the planet gives women of colour, old and young, a sense of pride.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Vice President Kamala Harris

Her success also gives us another platform to discuss and grow; Harris’ sex and race are not all she is but they play a large role in the world she lives in. With time we can only hope the novelty wears off.

Zambian professional football star, Barbara Banda made history at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. She has become the first woman to achieve multiple hat tricks in a single Olympic event. The Zambian Women’s soccer squad’s captain is the first African woman to achieve a hat trick in Olympic history ever. Furthermore, she now holds the women’s record for most Olympic goals scored by an African. The 21-year-old is a striker who began her professional career in 2018 playing with Logrono in Spain; she scored 16 goals in 28 games. Banda came to the Olympics an unknown, but has left a name for the history books.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Barbara Banda in a Zambia vs. China Olympics match

Earlier this year we were impressed and elated to learn that the Miss South Africa pageant would be opening its doors to Transgender participants. Lehlogonolo Machaba took this invitation and ran with it, becoming the first openly transgender participant to make the top 30 of the competition.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Miss SA Finalist Letlogonolo Machaba

“Everything I do as a dark-skinned, transgender woman is a statement. My mere existence in society is threatening, and there’s a lot of closet transgender women who are afraid to come out in fear of receiving hate and even worse, being killed. By doing this I am helping all those women to know that there’s still hope and the world is changing for good, slowly but surely,” Machaba said.

Machaba works as a model booker at Invade Models, and is also the founder of the DeMollies fashion brand. She has a Diploma in Fashion Design technology from the Tshwane University of Technology.

Hailing from the western African nation of Nigeria is innovator and businesswoman, Oluwayimika Angel Adelaja. Adelaja’s two businesses Fresh Direct Produce and We Farm Africa are innovating farming technology, a feat that couldn’t come at a better time considering global warming and all. Adelaja is leading the crowd with her revolutionary stackable container farms that ease the strain on land use and opens up the world of fresh quality food to urban populations.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Oluwayimika Angel Adelaja
#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Oluwayimika Angel Adelaja at one of her container farms

Adelaja’s organic urban farms require way less land and water in comparison with traditional farming methods, and all while producing a yield 15times higher. Adelaja’s food shortage solutions and farming techniques all work towards creating a cohesive agricultural chain of production and creates opportunities for Africans. Adelaja also works towards the empowerment of women and developmental economics, and still holds positions like Special Assistant to the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Poverty Alleviation and National Coordinator and Consultant to the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Wealth Creation.

In the world of poetry, Dasha Kelly Hamilton is the first black woman to be named the Wisconsin Poet Laureate in its 20years of existence. Her primary objective as the award holder is to be an ambassador who encourages poetry throughout her tenure of 2years. Hamilton will be receiving a stipend of US$2,500 and a residency at Shake Rag Alley Centre for Arts in Mineral Point.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Dasha Kelly Hamilton

Brenda Katwesigye saw something broken in a system and set out to correct it; the result is Wazi Vision. The Ugandan native became concerned with the high cost of eyecare back in 2015 during a personal visit and launched Wazi Vision in 2016. Wazi Vision provides free eyes tests at schools and rural areas; the startup has even developed an app that incorporates virtual reality in visual tests.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Brenda Katwesigye

The company also uses recycled materials in manufacturing their glasses which cuts the cost of glasses. In 2018, Wazi Vision was named in the Forbes Top 60 Woman-led Startups that are shaking up Africa, and Katwesigye was named as one of Quartz Africa’s top 30 Innovators. I could go on and on, black girl magic is upon us, and backwards never my melanin beauties.

Continue Reading

Lifestyle

The Strength Of A Woman – Celebrating National Women’s Month

To be a woman is to reject being known as a strong woman, because our value goes beyond our expectation to be confronted by pain.

Published

on

By

The Strength Of A Woman - Celebrating National Women's Month Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: @remyshoots Photography
49 / 100

Reflections By Rorisang Moyo

Kumkanikazi. Mofumahadi. Mfumukazi. Queen.

You are most of the time overlooked, undermined,
stifled, frustrated. Scorched by fire, dipped in water;
yet pressure does not end you, it elevates you to
your fullest potential.

This does not mean that to be a woman means
pain is romanticised. To be a woman is to reject
being known as a strong woman, because our value
goes beyond our expectation to be confronted by
pain.

The Strength Of A Woman - Celebrating National Women's Month Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: @remyshoots Photography

To be a woman means to feel things deeply in
their entirety, to be at one with the earth and how it
works. After all, it is through us that great men and
women continue to be born, and to take their place
on this earth.

Woman means beauty, strength, community,
trendsetter, lover, and fighter. To be a girl child and
a daughter, means potential and endless possibilities.

The privilege of standing on the shoulders of
giants, a community of other women; women who
have paved the way for you to live without any barriers – ever-changing, limitless and fluid.

The Strength Of A Woman - Celebrating National Women's Month Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: @remyshoots Photography

No person alive can put a lid on the power of woman.

Photography by Jeremy Kupfuwa, IG @remyshoots

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

Trending

Copyright © 2020. Powered by @dubecreative and @zenanitech