I am not over her

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I am not over her.

I woke up staring at the designers suit hung in my room for my wedding and all I could think of is the girl I keep deceiving myself I am over and done with.

Her soft words and piercing light brown eyes still taunt me when I roll on the bed expecting my fingers to comb through her silky black tresses splayed seductively on the covers.

Tomorrow, I would be getting married to an ambitious woman I like and admire but one my soul has no sync with, yet the one that is the core of the beating of my heart I am desperately trying to get over.

I stupidly sent her pictures of my wife- to-be since we decided to keep in touch and inform each other when we moved on. I didn’t even inform her I was dating someone again and now I sent her my wedding invitation and pictures of my fiancé. I know her like the back of my hand, she would be torn apart but will pretend to be fine just like I am pretending now.

We are two souls destined for a lifetime that just got everything wrong and now I am being entangled in a forever that I do not really want. I tell myself the lie I have been telling for the past few weeks as I get up to prepare for my friends. I am over her. My image staring right at me from the mirror showed the lie painted all over my face.

My life moved in a sluggish, slow motion as everyone fussed over the remaining things to do for the wedding. I just wished I could lock myself in the room and cuddle her, to just let her voice of reason course through my veins. I wanted her lips to remind me of the beauty of life again, I caressed her name through my lips again and cursed my misfortune.

A stupid person’s phone just rang out our song, that song I am almost hating now, the one we learnt word for word and sang at our friend’s birthday party last year. I can still feel the joy and love radiating through her shy eyes after we sang and got everyone jealous of our love.

Oh no! I am not sure I can do this! I am not sure I can go through with this wedding, her image would taunt me forever. I know she is not over me too, I could hear it in her voice when she called me to congratulate me on my wedding. I could hear the almost silent sniffing, the trembling and tremors in her voice.

Right now, I might not be sure of anything but I am certain of one thing.

I am not over her.

Not yet.

Not now.

Not ever.

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Why Can’t I Have An Abortion??!!!

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“It is my body, I do not want the foreign body!!! Remove it!!”
“That foreign body is a human being! Removing it is killing it and the law does not permit it, so madam we cannot remove it”

The line of reasoning above basically pervades major arguments on abortion. So I was about to sleep when I started reminiscing about one of my favorite courses in the university; Philosophical Ethics and particularly about the lessons on abortion.

Topics like that made me come alive and I remember I was always arguing in every class( funny enough I almost failed the course, you could say….nonchalance or overconfidence)..Well, bottom line I decided to bring the arguments here and get people’s opinions and all.

Basically there are two sides to an abortion argument; the Pro-life and the Pro-choice.
The Pro-life argument is that abortion should not be permitted as it is tantamount to murder while Pro-choice is of the opinion that the pregnancy is part of the woman’s body and she has a right to decide what to do with it.

So I would be summarizing some of the arguments of both sides after which I would explain my issues with the whole abortion concept, from my perspective really.

Proponents of the pro-life argument believe that the foetus is a human and aborting that human is killing it which is the same as murder.
They equally believe that there is nothing like unwanted pregnancy as there are always people ready to adopt.
They are of the opinion that permitting abortion would result in abortion being a form of contraception, they also think being responsible for ones body is being responsible enough not to get pregnant.
Well and about rape victims they think there would always be medical aid to prevent pregnancy from occurring.
They justify their stance by stating that an unborn child has done no wrong so why kill it, the abortion eventually results into medical complications for the mother and most people that indulge in abortion are young women that do not really understand the repercussions of their action and so they often regret it.
There are a lot more arguments and standpoints but that’s just a few.

Now the Pro- choice proponents are of the opinion that abortion basically takes place in the first trimester and at that stage the foetus is not a child but a fertilized egg and if we use that often and discard too for in vitro fertilization then how can we call abortion murder.
They also believe the foetus is not a person but a part of the woman’s body which she has a right over.
They equally argue that abortion is mostly a safe medical procedure, and in the case of rape victims, forcing them to carry a resulting pregnancy is further psychological and emotional trauma.
They categorically state that it is not a form of contraception as some people who do want abortion actually took steps in preventing the pregnancy.
In their opinion, adoption is no alternative as most women do not actually want to give up the children for adoption once they have had them.

Again, there are more arguments but let me stop with this.

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Now at this point, I have questions and standpoints and opinions and I will just be picking my issues randomly.

First, I am of the opinion, strongly that it should not be absolutely prohibited. Really, some people just do not want the children and in my view that’s their decision but I can try to understand if the state would not take that as a valid excuse but for heavens sake how about rape victims, persons incapable of taking care of the child or persons who are elderly and might have complications giving birth.

Recently I read of I think a ten or twelve year old girl that was pregnant and was not permitted to abort the pregnancy because of the laws of the state. I mean does that make sense?

Also recently, I read of a beggar, who can hardly sustain herself, she was raped, had HIV and she got pregnant. Would you believe she was equally not permitted to abort the baby? The state cannot be committed in taking care of the child and the woman can barely even take care of herself talk less of a child with HIV.
These in my view are the results of a rigid law on abortion. There should be liberal exceptions, if at all a state is to have laws prohibiting abortion.

Okay, so now let’s leave exceptions, let’s even delve into why there should or should not be prohibition of abortion. Really, is a foetus a human being? Is it a person with attachments and feelings and responsibilities? Would its death or abortion affect anyone other than the mother?

Should the convenience of the mother not be considered since she is the one that would house the child and eventually birth the child? What if the mother would have no means of raising the child and eventually the child dies of neglect or starvation?

Now, does preventing abortion legally really stop it from occurring? I mean abortion is illegal in many countries and it is still practiced in those countries. Don’t we think its the fact that abortion is illegal that makes people result into unsafe medical procedures of removing the pregnancy?

Regretting the aftermath of an abortion, should it or should it not be the personal decision of the mother? Does it mean she would also not regret having the child she did not want?

Let’s look at it from the perspective of responsibility, in the situation where a woman has done all her possible best to prevent herself from being pregnant should she still be made to go through with a pregnancy she obviously does not want if she eventually gets pregnant? If such a woman becomes an irresponsible mother won’t the same society blame her?

Should we permit women or even girls that are obviously not fit or ready in any form to take up the responsibility of motherhood to be mothers at all?

These are questions we must ask when making arguments or judgments on abortion. I know I have made my stance a bit clear but I deliberately just asked questions so we could try to answer them ourselves and justify our reasoning. I will always stand for choice and rights, we are all humans in a system where one should be permitted to decide on what he or she wants concerning his or her life.

I would definitely appreciate your comments, perspectives and opinions, I am always open to ideas and more knowledge and logical reasoning.

Dark and Lonely

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Why won’t you let me in?
Why do you keep shutting me out?
It’s cold and dark and lonely out here without you!
I thought I could just walk away,
Just pretend you didn’t mean anything
Bury myself in a world of deception
And still be fine
But the cold out here is piercing
I didn’t realise the wall of protection I had
Was all cause of the love you surrounded me with
I took you for granted
I felt there were millions out there
And I will find another you in no time
Its day fifty, Bella
None could even come close
The beauty of your soul is ethereal
Your love is from a world beyond
I messed up Bella!
I know I did!
But don’t lock me out!
Please!
I need to live again
I need to feel pure passion coursing through my veins again
I need to feel zeal and hope and fire
And the million things you make me feel everyday
I am tired, Bella
Its dark and its cold and its lonely out here
Open up Bella
Please open
Please

Onashile Peace (tolarnee)

I Know Why The Caged Bird Do Not Sing

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I am a caged bird and I cannot sing

I try to imagine a whole lot around me and my vivid imagination does not help matters at all. I see my imagination as clearly as the next person sneezing beside me.

So I woke up today with the title of Maya Angelou’s book rolling through my lips, it was like I kept caressing it “I know why the caged bird sings”. Then I had caressed it up to a point where it started losing meaning for me until it meant something different, until it meant the exact opposite.

Maya talked about liberty and freedom and expression even in a caged environment but I could only think of silence and quiet and bottled expression in the midst of supposed freedom.

Do you ever imagine why victims of abuse rarely speak out or why a person who looks like she is enjoying life commits suicide or a rape victim insisting she is fine or a boy being bullied will deny the incidence of bullying.

I know why.

Most times its like I am trying to scream on the top of my voice about the hurts and pains and trauma I am going through but no one ever hears me. Why? I am quiet but somehow in the quiet its like I am expecting people to see that I am really not fine.

But trust me, it usually doesn’t start that way most times the victims have actually tried speaking, talking, expressing but the world shuts them down. Its like, “deal with it and be an adult!” Or “everyone’s got issues too” or ” stop being an attention seeker” or “shame on you! You are tainted”. And the million other things the society consciously or subconsciously screams at people that try to talk.

Depression in Africa is not funny because it is viewed as a western thing simply not applicable in Africa. They feel the people of the west have it too easy and that’s why they even have the time to be depressed. So no one will listen to you and you know it before you even try to speak so why bother?

We are caged by the society and traditions and people’s impressions so much that we cannot even voice out when we are about to breathe our last because they have choked us.

Somehow I think like Maya, I have found a voice in writing, I might not be singing yet but I think I have started whistling, I have stopped caring about what every other person would say in so far as I can survive yet another day.

So I know why the caged birds do not sing.

I am a caged bird and I cannot sing.

I cannot sing but I can whistle.

Onashile Peace (tolarnee)

Rape and the Law- I have been raped, what next?

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I will try to make this less like an educational or formal discourse and more like a communicative and expressive piece.

Rape is simply having sex with one without the person’s consent whether a male or a female. Sexual activities ought to be consensual between the two individuals involved and yea children are not considered to be capable of giving consent so you can’t escape the wrath of the law by saying a kid gave consent.

Now rape looks so straightforward to define and to comprehend in a normal social parlance so you might wonder why first, the victims do not simply speak up about what has been done to them and second why most rape cases in the court do not end up in favor of the victim.

So I will start with the first. You really cannot blame victims for not speaking up because of the society we live in. Specifically I am talking from the perspective of the lady. Now there is a sort of shame and stigma that the society puts on rape victims, like they have been defiled and made unclean, especially in Africa. As if that stigma is not enough, most times when the lady speaks up they end up looking for ways to blame her. They talk about how she must have seduced the guy, how the clothes she wore were revealing or how she consented and is now playing the victim. The society is quick to blame the lady regardless of the emotional and psychological and even physical torture she must have suffered. So often times the victims prefer to just keep quiet and heal on their own and the rapist end up walking free.

Men also get raped. Yes they do and its not funnier or easier to deal with. Men hardly talk also because of the society and what people will say. Its almost shameful to them that they were overpowered whether by a man or a woman, there is a lot of ego issue involved so they end up keeping to themselves. Another thing is how difficult it is to prove that a man has been raped. I mean except some real force and fighting and struggle was involved, how do you prove anything. And how do you prove it was not consensual. Men get aroused and all very fast, so its easy to claim the man was very involved in the sex, all these things just makes men very silent on rape which ought not to be.

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You know the part I hate the most? The part where some stupid persons actually blame a child for getting raped and say a five year old or nine year old girl seduced a grown ass man or woman!

The law however is a different ball game, it works on evidence and evidence in rape is sometimes almost impossible especially in situations where there was no struggle. I will explain further.

Now the ingredients for proving rape are basically first a lack of consent and then penetration. Lack of consent could mean threat, could mean force and some other things but the bottom line is that there was no consent. Penetration means the obvious, that the penis was actually inserted into the vagina. There might be other things to be considered but these are the basic and general ones.

Let’s just think normally for a moment, how do you get evidence that there was no consent when most often than not its just the two of you? Most times when people hear of rape they think only of someone taking you from the streets, tearing your clothes, leaving loads of marks on your skin and then bruising the vagina sore. Those ones are quite easy to prove most especially of its reported immediately, the appearance and all shows the obvious lack of consent and the bruises in the vagina can show penetration.

But really, not all rape situations are that clear cut, some are by known people, some are done with threat, some they do not ejaculate inside the vagina and they actually get the lady or man aroused. Some have no force whatsoever, no tearing of clothes and all. These are the cases that are difficult to prove but sometimes lawyers work their way around it or get really lucky for one evidence or the other to come up.

Rape is never easy to prove except in some circumstances that are usually not as common as people think.
My point here is that the work of some lawyers would have been made easier with help from victims. Rape is a traumatic incidence but if you are going to seek for justice, there are some things that need to be done fast and on time.

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First is to report immediately and don’t wait to wash off before reporting, go the way you are,call for help the way you are because really your whole body is evidence, your clothes, semen on your body, everything counts. You do not know what might eventually nail the rapist so drop everything.

Second don’t try to even be modest about what happened or be shy, give every detail, paint the situation such that even a child can understand. It has happened and the pain will always be there so why not just get justice for your pain.

Third, after the part of talking to the authorities, talk to someone or people that can help you heal from the emotional and psychological trauma. Definitely, in getting to the authorities you would be taken to a doctor, they would most likely give you pills and all and treat you too but you know the pain is deeper than what the doctor can treat. Don’t bottle up the pain and anger, talk to people. There are organizations that help with these kind of things and will help you heal psychologically. The truth is what you bottle up now will affect you later so don’t keep it in.

Fourth, really and honestly, withdrawing from everyone might seem like the best option at the time but it doesn’t really help. In fact it never helps, more than ever at this period you need people. The more you withdraw, the more you give room for depression and constant replay of the incidence. You need to get past it and withdrawing would not help.

Finally and this is something that is not really compulsory but would help a whole lot and that is reaching out and helping other victims. Some others out there need help, they do not what to do, they are passing through what you passed through so why don’t you come out of your shell and bless someone else.

Then I believe so much in the help of God. I believe when things are beyond you and even before they are beyond you the best help you have is God because He knows all. So just try to pray and talk to him because he can help more than any human can and make you brand new.

Rape is never a funny or easy thing but we can get through it with patience and conscious efforts to heal.

Real Life Experiences of Domestic Abuse- Stories of Actual Victims

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Writing about issues women face over time has exposed me to some real life situations that women and men alike tell me.

Most times I use these stories as general bedrock for the fictitious ones I write on these kinds of issues but then I decided that maybe once in a while I should actually refer to the stories themselves.

So this time around, I am not sharing imaginary stories but people’s real life experiences.
A particular one I heard today spurred me to write this at all, I was heartbroken and was questioning humanity in its entire existence. However, this is not even close to the first time I would be hearing something like this but I guess it hit me hard coming from someone close to me.

So a close friend of mine was telling her boyfriend about how she was maltreated by her ex-boyfriend. Her story though is not really what got to me. She was locked in by her ex for refusing to show him her phone in a house filled with other people.
My friend said it was like she was watching a movie scene when he started repeatedly slapping and beating her and in that full house she kept screaming and not a single person came to her aid. There was no way she could even defend herself as he held her tightly and yes like guys usually do he apologized and said he will never do it again.

Well you can imagine the anger of her boyfriend but strangely he had a different approach, he felt she could have done more to save herself but I had to come in to explain the difference in people( I think I will explain this another time) that basically she might not even have had the will power or emotional strength to defend herself not to talk of the fact that she was held immobile.

It was at this point he opened up about a painful experience suffered by his cousin. Basically his cousin had a boyfriend that was obsessed with her and she was no longer comfortable in the relationship so she called it off.

Well, the guy was having none of it so he came to her friend’s house where she was staying early in the morning with packs and I mean packs of blades. He held her down and kept opening one blade after the other and slicing her with it and kept repeating that if he could not have her no one else would. The lady almost bled to death before she was rushed to the hospital.
You know what hurt me most in this story and what hurt my friend’s boyfriend too was the fact that nothing was done to this devil in human flesh, the family decided to forgive him. I was almost in tears as I listened this morning to the heart breaking story.

Like I said earlier, this would not be the first time I will hear of things like this, I have heard of hot water being poured or a child being killed or the partner being caged, there are just so many crazy stories out there. What you most likely think can only be imaginations are the realities of some people.

Domestic violence is real! We should do all we can to curb it, punish offenders and rehabilitate victims!

*** Image Source http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/abused-woman-pleading-stop-royalty-free-image/117151152

Single and Struggling- A poem to appreciate single mothers

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SINGLE & STRUGGLING
As the yellow sun sets o’er the ocean
And deep darkness envelopes the earth
As the world is rocked to sleep by the night’s rhythm
She stays awake, and with the stars keep watch

She’s often terrified. She’s often paranoid.
Alone and lonely; chocked by the grip of terror
She watches helplessly as her exuberance slowly fades
Hurt and vulnerable, she curses her miserable fate

Perched precariously on the edge of the night
She wonders what new mischief the dawn brings
She rocks the cradle, and sings, and dozes, and wakes
A vicious cycle from which there’s no breaking

Always the last to bed; always the first to rise
The lives of wild, innocent little things rest on her shoulder
She cannot falter. She cannot break. She cannot rest
She cries in the rain, and sends her miseries to the clouds

Life is not fair. The world is a cruel, dark place
She’s an object of undeserved neglect – a Cinderella
Still, I marvel at her strength, and her pride
Her resilience, and instinct, her love, and affection

She’s a father, and a mother, and a doctor, and a cook
Roles she never wanted, duties life hadn’t prepared her for
Her hair suddenly greys, but I still see her beauty
Her skin quickly wrinkles, but I still see her radiance
                                                       ©Ademola Adeyoju & Onashile Peace {Tolarnee}

**So this was written by an awesome friend of mine, Ademola Adeyoju and I to appreciate the sacrifices of single mothers all over the world especially young widows.