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I start my normal day at 8.30 AM to go to my university. The distance between the university and my home is merely 4 KMs, however due to the congested traffic and poor management of road it takes me more than 30 minutes of time to cover the distance. The public transportation is so inconvenient that I change two buses within a mere distance of 4 KM to reach my university.

These 30 minutes of the day are the hardest minutes of my day and I face the hard time every day…every morning. I start living a humiliated life, life like a second class citizen as soon as I leave the compound of my house. The moment I hit the road, I feel that I live a life that I am not supposed to leave.

By the time I reach the bus stop, I would have been eve teased several times. The eyes of the passerby would have penetrated through my body several times, yet I move on.

The story doesn’t end here. The story begins now. The moment I try entering inside the micro-bus, whose door is quite smaller than my body size, I would have already been touched by the conductor of the bus even though I would not want him to touch me. He would take the privilege of touching everyone who enters inside the bus.

It gets worst when you enter inside that small moving box called “micro bus” where people are packed and loaded as if they are some goods without life and feelings. Let me tell you how a young girl experiences when she enters inside that box, she would be literally checked out by the eyes of the people who are inside the box.

Let me give you this particular example of one day when I was literally poked in my private parts of the body by a person who would be of my father’s age. At first, I didn’t confront because I was scared but after getting that unwanted gesture for quite a time, I caught his fingers and twisted them bad. But I still didn’t dare to speak…. And I didn’t speak. Today, I regret for not revolting that in front of the public.

Here, I am not just yelling my personal story. As data from the World Bank suggest more than one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime around the world. This is the story of each and every girl who uses the public transportation in the Kathmandu valley. Everyone faces this but we hardly speak out…. The silence that we keep motivates people who treat us like second class citizens more.

Having faced the situation multiple times, I have started using this customized technology that I know as “Pin the fun”….I will use a safety pin to pin the fun that people try to have with me in the public transportation.

However, this is not a permanent solution of the larger problem of eve teasing in public transportation that we face. Improving the public transportation system and making sure that we are not dumped in the moving box like objects could be one of the solutions… But not the fulfilling and only solution.

Solving the problem of gender based violence needs a deeper understanding of the problem. It needs to analyze the dynamic nature of society and the changes that are going through. We need to ask ourselves at home on what kind of culture are we transferring to the younger generation? Are we teaching them to respect women? At the meantime we need to see whether we are silencing women too much in the name of patriarchy and culture so that they cannot protest back even they are exploited.

The answers to these questions need to be asked at personal level and the person asking the questions should be satisfied with the answers!

Many times, we try to escape leaving all the blames on governments and say that we need stronger laws. However, one thing that we should not forget is that morality and ethics are more powerful and stronger than externally imposed law and regulations. The time has come that we ask ourselves that are we creating a world that learns to respect the womanhood.

These are some questions that needs to be answered within. When we get the answers to the critical questions that have been posed above, I think girls like me will stop inventing technologies like “Pin the Fun”. I firmly believe that Together, we can overcome gender based violence and create a better world for ourselves, our loved ones, and future generations.

 

 

 

Categories: International
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Violence

Awakening to the structures and news of precise world where women’s are being victimized by various cases of rapes, harassment and so on. On the occasion of Laxmi puja, a girl was raped and thrown in the river in Ilam and after I went to see the dead body my tears rolled down. I got a revolutionized and my blood rages every time I hear such news. A kind of frustration hovered inside me with what difficulties those victims were facing on their life. I wholeheartedly wanted to work on that but I basically had no idea from where to start on. I brainstormed a lot and after a long time I recalled kamala Aunty of my village who forgone with various painful circumstances in her life and still was working on. She had two brilliant daughters who were bright on their studies and were raped on their way to home. She was like broken from inside since her one daughter was killed and the other was going through mental trauma after that incident. Her husband was killed in a bus accident after two weeks of the rape case and the challenges were not less for her. She had to live a life of a single woman as well as a mother of two victimized daughters.
She took her time to come out from that emotional phase of her life because she believed she had to work for many others girls like her daughters who may go through same cases. She believed she had to fight back. She had to bring change in mentality of the peoples who take girls as tools to fulfill sexual pleasure.
After that she worked on the sector of child right, she now goes to places and provoke the things she faced so far. She is also a representative of single women organization. Some women’s are strong in spite of the trouble they faced and one of them is kamala Aunty. I got my realm now to work on the sector where I firmly rebel the disgusting patriarchy and now I know I have to start as how she started, how she developed the courage to work on the field she felt to work through.
My brother used to say “every generation needs a diehard revolutionary figure to bring about the change” and question is “Why not I?” and the answer is “Yes I will and I can”.

Categories: Sexual Violence
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On December 9, the day before International Human Rights Day, CHANGE and 20 other human rights, women’s rights, faith-based, and youth organizations rallied at the White House to call on President Obama to take executive action to ensure that U.S. political barriers no longer stand in the way of access to safe abortion services for women and girls overseas who survive rape or incest or whose lives are endangered by a pregnancy.

Above is a video of me speaking at the rally – I was very excited to deliver remarks on the behalf of Advocates for Youth! I shared powerful stories of our brave and inspiring international youth advocates on the ground.  In case you aren’t able to watch the video, here are my remarks:

 My name is Imani Marks and I am a member of the International Youth Leadership Council, a project of Advocates for Youth. I am an undergraduate student at The George Washington University here in DC, studying Public Health. I am so honored to be standing here today with all of you and to be among this diverse and influential group of speakers who are all here calling on the President to provide access to post-rape care for women and girls.

I am inspired and have learned a great deal from Advocates’ young women and adolescent girl activists and peer educators working in the global south to advance  sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality. Whether it’s Helena in Namibia who suffered sexual abuse growing up, resulting HIV infection, and lack of access to sexual and reproductive health services, including untreated fistula post-partum; Hamna in Pakistan who experiences and is faced with witnessing constant sexual harassment of girls in her town on a regular basis; Shanti in Nigeria who did not have access to information about contraception and experienced complications from an unsafe abortion; or girls in rural Burkina Faso in the town of Leo who have undergone female genital cutting, it’s time for all young women and girls to have complete access to the full-range of sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services, including safe abortion.

Helena in Namibia is trying to make this a reality in her own way by establishing a community-based organization to support young women living with HIV. Hamna in Pakistan is visiting schools to educate girls and boys about sexual harassment and the importance of respecting both girls and boys rights and dignity; and in Burkina, girls already having experienced FGC are standing up for their younger sisters, asking their parents not to subject them to the same harm.  Girls and young women around the world and in the direst situations are fighting for their reproductive rights. They are fighting for access to critical health services, including safe abortion.

Now it’s time for the President to step up. To stand with them. And to eliminate barriers to safe abortion care for women and girls.

 

For more information on the Break Barriers Campaign, visit breakbarriers.org.

 

 

Categories: International
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If there would have been hell on earth, it could be said that now it’s in Peshawar, Pakistan. Do you realise? 126 innocent children,
have been mercilessly killed in a Taliban assault on
an army-run school in the Pakistani city
of Peshawar. The attack is being seen as one of the
worst so far in Pakistan. “We selected the army’s school for the
attack because the government is
targeting our families and females,”
said Taliban spokesman Muhammad
Umar Khorasani. “We want them to feel
the pain.” Seriously? I mean like ‘feel the pain’? Is this what Islam teaches? No, it doesn’t.Iam a Muslim too, but as far as Islam is concerned, it is the best of all religions whose message is Love,peace and friendship. Why am I posting this; just to let the whole world know. Theyre innocent.Pakistani people did nothing and still are being shot dead for no damn reason!
Dear brothers and sisters, I beseech you people, please stand up for this cause. Please stand up for the sake of humanity, for the sake of those innocent children who were shot dead. Please!

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With the holidays coming up, most of us will be sitting down to a meal and cup of hot chocolate with family and friends who we rarely see. There will be laughter, stories and the predictable football talk. If your family is anything like mine though, after all of the small talk is done, the conversation will come to a plateau. Small talk will lead to awkward silences and stares. And then, undoubtedly, someone will open their mouths and drop the bombshell: The dreaded controversial subject that your mother told you time and time again to avoid like the plague.
Feminist
Many of those controversial conversations happen in our very day lives. Some of us may fiercely post about them on Facebook or Tweet the day away with hash tags galore. But…when that controversial political slogan comes out of your grandmother’s mouth, as we reach for that last bite of pie: we freeze over what to say.

This is very true in my own life, as someone who with Advocates for Youth, an organization that champions international reproductive health and rights and LGBTQ rights and as someone who belong to a very southern family who are big proponents of abstinence, believe that homosexuality is a sin and are staunchly pro-life, I feel that it is my place to talk about the issues that I feel passionately about. But of course, the key is tactic!

Below are some great tips on phrasing, wording and how to approach tricky topics, but remember that at the end of the day disagreements may arise, people may take things personally and feelings may be hurt, but being honest and speaking from the heart is also your right and your duty to your beliefs.

1. Use “I” statements.
2. Break down generalities, such as grouping all people with few things in common into the same category.
3. Ask them about why they believe or support what they do (and really listen).
4. Try not to affiliate certain beliefs or opinions with political parties, social groups or religions.
5. Really listen when someone else is talking, and question what they say in a positive way.
(Often repeating back to someone what they’ve told you can help you to both understand the statement and move toward the underlying ideas.)
6. Watch body language and pay attention to tone
7. Choose to not feel offend or personally attacked by their views or opinions.
8. Pick a good space to have the conversation, one that is safe for both participants and where you can have a comfortable dialogue without interruptions or “gang ups” by others.
9. Concentrate on Commonality.
10. Always finish on a positive note that you are family and that means supporting one another past disagreements.

 

 

Categories: Other
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When I started learning in secondary and higher secondary level , I do have much more curiosity with regarding sexual and reproductive health and rights, but my teachers cant share lucid information and education with regarding SRHR then certain imagination comes in my mind to continue my education in medical science then, then I started my career in medical microbiology. As time went on I started my work in SRHR with “Healthy Nepal Foundation” educating the school kids and to community people in Nepal. I give continuity to upgrade my knowledge and also share my ideas with regarding the SRHR with many people. Now, I am with YUWA-YALC team to work with the same issue in the Nepal and also in the global context. Now I am living happy and healthy life because firstly I have clarify myself, my family about SRHR issues and also I am trying to educate and aware many more people with regarding the subject about SRHR.

Poverty, Food Security and SRHR
SRHR issues are overshadowed by persistent poverty and women with unmet basic need specially their food security. The issue of food security affects the well being of women to the extent of having control over their bodies.
To address the linkage of food security  and poverty in line with SRHR, there should be proper linkage with policy makers to move in an integrated way with various ministries like agriculture, health and women’s ministries for a holistic change. Efforts on addressing women and poverty have largely been based on micro-finance projects to help women to earn a livelihood. The focus is not sufficient to adequately address women in poverty and to fundamentally understand the root causes that deprive women’s well being in the first place. Unless the root causes are addressed to ensure better access to health and food, women’s conditions cannot be improved.

Categories: Sex Education
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Feminist

From a young age, I understood that no matter where you go or what you do people will put labels on you. Throughout my life, I have been labeled as a Nerd, an Adrenaline Junkie, a Jock, an Art Addict BUT now, going into my third year of college the label that has been placed on me was completely unexpected…. a FEMINIST.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being a feminist. At first glance, I was like I am absolutely not a feminist. I thought to myself, “I am not one of those women who refuse to shave their legs or think that women should overpower men because we are greater than them.” I was confused and my mind was clouded with all of these extreme cases of feminism. Now… after countless people calling me out, and really looking into my beliefs I have accepted my undying love for feminism. 

I am a feminist because I believe that the woman should be respected. A woman carries you for 9 months, a woman endures child birth to give you life, a woman breastfeeds you, and a woman puts aside her wants and sometimes her dreams to take care of her child. A woman is the start of everything, she creates man and woman, and from that man or woman we have derived everything that we know today. Without a woman, this would not be possible, nothing would be possible. Because of a woman, we are able to experience love and hate, sunshine and rain, happiness and sadness and everything in between…BECAUSE OF A WOMAN. 

Women are powerful and need to be seen as equal. With this being said I will leave you with a quote I found online while researching and exploring my love for feminism:

“Any word that is feared has power. When a woman gives up her power, you have to question if she truly knows her worth.”

Stay Informed. Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.

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Cramping

So throughout this semester of college, a lot of women that I know have been confidentially sharing their experiences with learning they had an STD and their symptoms. What surprised me the most was that most of the women said they had none of the most popular symptoms such as burning, itching, or discharge. A large majority of these women went to see their doctor’s because of increased pain when it came to their menstrual cramps. Most women  shared with me that their cramps had just been absolutely unbearable over a course of a few months and they had no idea why. When they went to see their doctors, they were absolutely shocked to learn that the culprit was an STD (usually gonorrhea or chlamydia). So I decided to do some reasearch….

 

According to: http://getstdtested.com/symptoms-of-stds/abdominal-cramps

“Possible causes of abdominal cramps

As mentioned, cramps can be normal, but it may be a sign that something is wrong. Possible causes include:

  • PMS or menstruation
  • Sexually transmitted disease, particularly chlamydia or gonorrhea
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease or cervicitis, complications of untreated STDs
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Food poisoning
  • Kidney stones
  • Appendicitis
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

Diagnosing abdominal cramps

If there is a chance you may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease, STD testing is an important step in diagnosing this problem. Chlamydia and gonorrhea most commonly cause abdominal cramps in women. If the STD test returns negative, a doctor can diagnose other causes.”

So ladies, you know your body better than anyone else on this planet. So if something does not feel right, CHECK IT OUT! Don’t wait until it’s too late. Be ahead of the game and take care of your body.

 Stay Informed. Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.

Categories: Sexual Health
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I am a girl. I have a breast, I have a vagina  and I menstruate  and I am proud of whatever I have .But things were not like this in my past days, I used to get shy, get embarrassed and even sometime I used to ask myself, “why the hell I got born as a girl?”.  I still remember my childhood days when I wanted to play outside  but   I was not allowed  to play outside  when I used to ask them “ why i cannot  play outside as my brother ? And   people around used to say “A girl should not play outside”. And I stayed quite. My brother and I used to go same school but my grandmother used to scold my parents saying,” Why the hell you are sending your daughter to a boarding school?” and I got transferred to a government school. I stayed quite. When I entered teenage, things went worst, when I got menstruate for the first time , I got locked up for 12 days  and I was treated like that I had committed a  big sin and for that I got locked up that way as a punishment.  When my breast were developing, women around used to say to my mother,” oh look! Your girl is getting ready for marriage!” And I used to get afraid thinking that they would marry me soon for which I used to tie my breast with bandage to hide my breast even though it used to hurt a lot. Boys used to stare at my breast wherever I go and intentionally they used to bump at me and I only know that feeling how much pain I felt at that time.   Because of that  reasons many times I even did not want to go school, go out of my home, I hardly used to go outside but  even again I used to get  harassed on buses, on crowd, my so called relatives used to molest  me  , they used to caress me, I was literally broken.  Being frustrated I had asked my mom once “mom! Why am facing all these and harassment? Why people stare me like am their food and they want to eat me? ” and my mom replied me, “you are a girl! Every girls goes through it! World is like this, take it easily!” And after that I literally got broken. After that I started to live hating my self being a girl. I stopped to go outside, I even stopped to use public transportation, I used to get afraid of boys. even when I used to get harassed I used to stay quiet, literally  I had accepted  that  being  a girl I have to get used to it, I cannot do anything to stop it!  But one day my younger sister shared with me that one of  her teacher used to molest her  ,thinking that I could  help her to get out of that  situation but unfortunately  I was that broken  that I could not say a word  to her rather I hugged her and we cried together .  That whole night I kept thinking that for how long we girls need to get suffer, Get harassed like this? Then I cried the whole night remembering each moment I was molested, I remembered the face of my younger sister, how badly she was broken like me?   I decided not to tolerate, I decided to fight back! I realized that I have to speak up for my younger sister, I have to raise my voice for every innocent girl  who have been  harassed  like me?. We do not deserve this at all. Then next morning  I went to my sister’s school and complained  the authority I found there  that he had been molesting many students like my sister  and all the students  also stood up for my sister  after that authority took action against it. And I cannot describe it in words that how I felt at that time when he got fired. After that I started to love myself, I started to be proud of who I am. No girls deserves to be molested, get harassed. Every girl has right to live with dignity. The more you tolerate, the more you will be victimized. Speak out!  Your one voice makes all the difference!! Vagina and penis should not define you, your character and ability should matters!!!!!

 

Categories: Sexual Violence