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#MeToo Movement Uganda: the untold story.


Source: BBC

Rape and sexual harassment are always making news all over the world; what is sad is, for the most part, the victims suffer twice, both psychologically, emotionally and physically sometimes. Being a very voracious reader, I have read so many books and watched so many movies/series that make me cry sometimes. Sometimes you can read something and it elicits a very tough emotional attachment, tearing away just comes handy.

Across the aisle, the #metoo movement has taken shape since the Harvey Weinstein saga that made rounds on the internet and other international news outlets. We have seen so many women and sometimes men come out to share their very painful stories, most of which date back to centuries ago. The challenge that comes with these stories is that they are met with a very deadly question for our times: what took you this long?

On the question of whether these stories deserve hearing; they should be heard. For me, as I have commented in one of the spaces where we have had this conversation going, the stories become a light force for future victims, and sometimes the old ones. Activism goes both ways; it is informed by the past to shape the course for the future, the stories are worth sharing: share your stories, they matter.

If we are to remind ourselves, #MeToo Brought Down 201 Powerful Men, they had often gotten away with it for years, and for those they harassed, it seemed as if the perpetrators would never pay any consequences. Then came the report that detailed Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assaults and harassment, and his fall from Hollywood’s heights.

A year later, even as the #MeToo movement met a crackling backlash, it was possible to take some stock of how the Weinstein case had changed the corridors of power. A New York Times analysis has found that, since the publishing of the exposé (followed days later by a New Yorker investigation), at least 200 prominent men had lost their jobs after public allegations of sexual harassment. A few, including Mr. Weinstein, faced criminal charges. At least 920 people came forward to say that one of these men subjected them to sexual misconduct. And nearly half of the men who were replaced were succeeded by women. Let this sink as we start off.

See, more often than not, the stones are thrown at he who comes out first, then suddenly, the person becomes the hero(ine). As someone who comes from a very informed place of activism, I say this with utmost authority, without fear or favor. Following the case in point, I have three accounts of very close people, some of whom I have been involved with and other people I know. What smacks very hard is that so many people feel like you are selling pale tea just because they have never witnessed or been victims of circumstances, the hope is that this blog smacks them awake.

One of the people I know personally know that have publically come out to share her painful rape experience is Irene M. Namara. I knew Irene about four years ago when I was still involved in political commentary; we were very close friends and one day she told me about her experience with the Matooke Republic boss who she claimed raped her; a sad story that made it’s way to the internet yesterday. So many people might not believe her but I choose to give her the benefit of doubt, she told me about it even before she resigned from her job. So, that is why some people need to listen. I have advised both their audience on all their social media posts, and I will sill re-echo this: desist as much as you can from the danger of a single story. 

There are people who claim that they “know Irene so well”, that she can’t be raped, that she consented, then there are also those who “know Darius so well” that he can never ever rape. Both these two are very disturbing statements to make, they close the path to the truth: how do you expect to know the truth with a closed mind? 

There those who say that people who use drugs (smoke or drink alcohol) create the atmosphere trying to make a case but in a condescending manner, there is no justification for rape. The sad thing though, sometimes people are looking for a comeback, when the chance knocks, trust me they will exploit. My dad always said, “there are two sides of a coin, never see one and lay claim that you have seen the whole coin.” The dissenting views and accounts of these stories should be accommodated with an open mind, not doing so erodes the path of a full story. That's what we lack the most in society; it's beat with blanketing generalizations.

Not long ago; one of my Kenyan girlfriends told me a sad story about her boss; he would call her to her office and lock it and then try to force himself on her. One day; while at it, the poor girl on the verge of screaming out loud, was saved by the personal assistant who knocked; she survived. He got off her; threatened the hell out of the lady and told her this was never to see day or light. This is a girl you can call you beautiful at any rate. Young, beautiful and intelligent. In her very prime years. If she told you her story, you would say it is a slay queen making up a story, unfortunately, no.

When this lady told me she was resigning and she wanted my help in finding a new job; I was filled with rage and utterly smitten. Not because of resigning her job but rather what she had traversed. I asked her to let me use my circles in Nairobi to make this monster pay for it, she declined. I felt more rage and anger. She told me that the accused was a very powerful man; I also told her that I am equally powerful but lo, she told me to let it slide. I had to, painfully.

All of these stories and so many others hurt to the core, especially if we know the victims. A few days ago, I was watching Sons of Anarchy, somewhere in Season two, episode 7; the wife to Clay and mother to Jacks is brutally raped by a gang just to get to the club. She chooses to let all of it gone unsaid but only to the police officer who found her and the doctor who treated her, her daughter-in-law. It isn't until the police officer breaks the silence that the club begins to find a way of seeking vengeance.

Why am I telling you this? Most rape victims and sexually assaulted people die in silence with their psychological torture and humiliation because they fear to be judged, not believed. They also, for the most part, are "protecting" the image of the abusers and themselves, it's sad. The moral dividing line though is that not talking about it enables rape; please share your stories, they matter.

What is consent? This story explores the other side to this question.
  




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