By Aline Silas
Aline Silas's stories

The Big Threat

People ask themselves about the threats they have experienced in life, but have they thought of threats they have never experienced? Have they thought of the abusement, as a root of oppression in a community? In my opinion, it is the biggest threat! To see the colony, oppression and violence from first level communities to people under the line of poverty or oppressed people.

I live in Malawi, Dowa district. In my community, we are multicultural people; such as Malawians, Somalians, Congolese, Burundians, Rwandans, and Ethiopians. We speak various languages, but the majority speak Chichewa and Kiswahili. The population in my community is increasing rapidly, we are over 40 thousand people. In the education sector, girls who complete secondary school are almost 20 percent compared to 60 percent of boys.The reason why girls do drop out of school is mostly because of cultural beliefs since their parents start preparing them for womanhood, that is being married and able to take care of a husband.

There are numerous issues in my community that show that children and women are the most abused people. The issue of prostitution is increasing, and young women are the victims, even those girls who are still schooling. They face this issue due to the high rate of poverty in our community . In my community there is a girl called Mary, who’s just a teenager. I saw her growing up at a tender age and now she is a teen mother. She was forced by her situation of being in severe poverty since the man who was the one who helped their family financially. What happened is that when Mary was schooling in grade 3 primary school, her mother stopped her from going to school just to look after her young brothers. I know this girl as an orphan who do not have a father and they do suffer much to put food on the table. I personally talked to her and advised her to go back to school, but she responded saying “I wish to study too, but my mother forbids me”. I then decided to talk to her mother and persuade her, but the Mary’s mother told me that,”I live for work in the morning and come back in the evening just to put food at the table, and my husband died,that is why she dropped out of school, but if things go well, she will go back to school”. Her feedback kept me speechless. I wanted to ask more, but her eyes were already wet.

Then after three months Mary became pregnant. When her mother asked her the owner of the pregnancy, she responded that, she was raped by her uncle, and her uncle threatened her to kill her if she tells anyone. She wanted her daughter to abort, but the doctors said due to her tender age she could die. Then she gave birth to a baby girl, and now she is a teen mother.

They reported to police about this rape case but they are going on with the investigation. Some people said that the rapist fled to another country, which will make it tough to catch that man. This is a big threat since such inhumane acts of raping young girls can cause spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) such as HIV, gonorrhea,syphilis and candidiasis. Many young girls are being raped in our community by the adult ones and some by their own relatives. In our community we are participating in such issues since the organizations advised that the members of the community should play a part in ending violence and they report violence taking place in our area. Actually the organizations that we have in our community tried to do the awareness campaigns concerning this issue of STDs and most people are aware of such diseases.This is very hard for the victims and due to fear of revealing the truth, this condition sometimes makes them think too much of what happened to them. Some girls run away from their homes to isolate themselves from experiencing bad memories.

There are also some misconceptions of HIV that say that once an infected person sleeps with the young one then the virus is killed and a person is cured. This misconception is mostly spread by the witch and peasant people. In my community there are men who rape their own daughters, also believing that they will be wealthy as the way of completing the rituals directed by the witch. Most people who believe in such beliefs are uneducated and they lack civil education.

This is a big threat since it is an inhumane act that is supposed to be dealt with according to the laws. The challenging issue is that due to the victim’s secrecy of not mentioning the perpetrators, they remain anonymous and unpunished. Some of these victims are threatened that they will be killed along with their families by the rapist. Due to the reason of being extremely scared some girls decide to hide the issue fearing of being also discriminated against and stigmatised.

In addition to this point, some raped girls fail to maneuver with their education due to trauma as a result they end up dropping out of school. When they stop schooling some of these girls engage themselves into prostitution which results in early pregnancy, abortion or early marriage.

In our community, even though we have fewer organizations, we need more organizations to curb this inhumane act of raping women. We need the religious groups and community members to intervene and address such issues by giving civil education to people about the worse threat that can damage our community of raping women. Another thing is that the victims of rape should have courage to fight hard and report the issues to the officials, so that the rapist can be punished accordingly. The addition of more organizations and civil education can be a big step, thus it will help in ending completely a number of rape cases since the the rapist do this act because of being told lies that, they will became rich. The community should be safe for everyone, if we hold together and fight for protection and peace so that we can remove the big threat that people are experiencing in our societies.

10 June, 2023