“Stay safe. Black lives matter. Stop sexual abuse.” That’s how I’ve been ending my posts for the last month or so. Recently, so many people came out talking about their sexual abuse experiences and that was a very dark period for me on social media because it highlighted that even the people you don’t expect to, will abuse you.
Today’s prompt is “Write about an issue that is close to your heart.” I’m here to write about sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse is defined as any form of forced or unwanted sexual activity, including taking advantage of a person unable to give consent. Allow me to break down this sentence. “Any form” in the definition means that sexual abuse is not limited to rape but also includes unwanted sexual contact/touching, child abuse and so much more. “Consent” simply means permission. Silence is not consent. For as long as someone hasn’t said “yes”, their answer is no.
This is just a reminder that at no point should you ever feel entitled to someone’s body. You do not own anyone and you do not own their body. No one has to do anything to please you and you are not free to do what you like to someone’s body.
Speaking out against rape or sexual abuse of women should not happen just because “she could be your sister or your mother.” No. Throw that whole narrative away because someone doesn’t have to be your relative for you to protect them or to care for them. Protect them because they are human just like you!
Zambian families need to stop covering up for abusers. I have heard of stories where a child has been sexually abused by someone in their own home and when they spoke out about it, the rest of the family told them to keep quiet about it and forget it ever happened. That’s the point where we start messing things up for future generations because why should the abuser be protected? Why should the child forget what happened? Why should you be comfortable with keeping that a secret? Why should you allow your child to be unsafe?
Churches in Zambia shy away from the topic of sexual abuse. It’s not like people don’t know that sexual abuse is an issue so why do you choose to stay silent about it?! People are dying at the hands of abusers but you don’t want to talk about that. I may be speaking from a place of anger but please, help me understand the silence? Even people in the church get abused. Even people in the church are abusers. You have a platform. Use it. Let’s not pretend rape doesn’t exist and isn’t addressed in the Bible either.
Friend groups should also be checked. Correct your friends when they say inappropriate things or do something inappropriate. Do not by shy to speak about sexual abuse just because you are afraid of losing a friend. Your silence is contributing to the pain that someone might feel the next day.
Generally, the rape culture in Zambia and the rest of the world needs to change. Going through the comments on a “Mwebantu” Facebook post talking about how a girl was raped is heartbreaking. The responses will have you in tears but they will show you that so much work needs to be done in order to protect women and everyone else from abusers.
To the person who has suffered at the hands of an abuser, I pray you heal. I pray you understand that you are not what you went through and it does not define you. You are strong. You are beautiful. You are not alone. You have people who fight for you everyday and people who pray for you. You may never be the same again but you will be okay.
Like I said it should be our responsibility to ensure everyone is protected from the hands of abusers so please, read more articles on sexual abuse and how to help victims of sexual abuse. Do your part and I’ll do mine.
I’m just hoping and praying that one day, we won’t have to be afraid to take walks alone or go out on dates. I hope one day we won’t be afraid to spend time with family members and all sexual abusers will be brought to book. I hope that when my kids are born into this world, they will be safe and I will not have to worry about them being sexually abused.
All I’m trying to say with this post is : STOP SEXUAL ABUSE.
Stay safe. Black lives matter. Stop sexual abuse.
Thanks for reading!