The African Girl

03:49 Eva Kesh 5 Comments



I had so easily forgotten the strange but ordinary on-goings of the treatment of young girls and women in Africa. The West' cotton wool wove itself up and around my experiences.A friend of mine moved to Tanzania and in passing conversation she spoke of having to go to the store with unkempt hair, no make-up and raggedy clothes. "What luxury," I thought briefly as I recalled the times where I as a young girl would do the same. She continued and spoke of how every man she passed by either shouted compliments, whistled or cat-called. I know she felt uncomfortable, sexualised and objectified by these men -some old enough to be her father- but she said nothing. This silence is something which is normal, something you adopt as you go on. Should you dare confront any of them, that is a sure way to verbal abuse. Quickly, you realise you live in a place where this is a perfectly acceptable mode of social interaction.

I remember as a young girl on my way the shops, I would see women being objectified by a small group of men every few hundred yards. The men -some who owned corner shops- would sit outside the small kiosks, sometimes smoking but mostly just conversing amongst themselves until a customer approached their shop.They would cat-call some women customers or those that would walk-by. For the most part the girls/women would speed up their pace and some would cross the road. None ever said a word, no matter how uncomfortable, disgusted or endangered they looked or felt. In Africa, as a girl, you are often sexualised before you can fully/partially begin to comprehend what it means to be a woman.
Under some African cultures, the preservation of being a virgin is
cherished by your own family that will sell you onto another,
rewarded by your future husband's family in form of livestock or money and
celebrated as proof that you are a good girl/woman, that you are of worth and value.

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