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All posts for the month February, 2014

Because I’m A Girl…. In Zambia (I Have The Right To Feel Safe)

Published 17/02/2014 by Petra Chikasa

Many girls like me face the challenge of not being able to express themselves as freely as boys would because they fear that they may be seen in an immoral light or become a victim of our patriarchal society.

Women and girls are not free to wear short dresses or skirts during the summer for the fear of being stripped in public which is a very common practice in my country, sadly some women are usually in the forefront of these cruel practices. They believe that when a girl steps out of the house in shorts it means she wants men to see her body, so they strip her in public to “help” her achieve her goal.
Many times when a girl is rapped, the first question she is asked is, “what did you do??” It is almost always assumed that as a girl there is be something that you must have done. The victim is the one who is blamed. Questions like “why did you wear that dress?” “Why do you walk like that?” Are often asked. Excuses are always found for men who rape girls. Why doesn’t anyone ask the rapist “why couldn’t you control yourself” “what if this was your sister/daughter?”.

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There is a myth in my country and most sub-Saharan Africa that if one sleeps with a virgin then they are cured of HIV and AIDS.

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This has increased the number of defilement cases in my country. Girls are not safe in their own homes,Sometimes young girls are even defiled by their own fathers. Even though Civil Society, The Church & Girls Brigade are doing a lot to sensitize society about the rights of girls, there is still a lot to be done!

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Between 2011-2013 there were many stories that were reported in the media of young girls that would be attacked, killed and the skin of their face peeled off as well as their private parts removed. This it was believed was being done by a group of men as a satanic ritual for people to become rich quick. A lot of young girls were afraid to go out in the evening or out with friends. I for example would have my dad pick me up everyday until the stories had died down.

Being a girl in my country is not easy. There a many challenges that one has to face. Young people need to rise to understand their world, society and rights and well as the laws of the country and advocate for a more girl friendly world.
Inspite of all these challenges that girls go through, Girls Brigade Zambia offers a safe space as well as programs that bring hope and transformation to many young girls by enabling them to find their true worth and potential. The outreach programs embrace girls of all background irrespective of their social or economic status. It is a true sisterhood movement that reaches across the four corners of the country, changing lives of young girls.
The future is bright for every girl who passes through girls brigade because they are really touched by the experience of finding God’s love and grace and having their lives fulfilled!
GB is truely a movement of transforming girls lives Inside Out