Hey Knightresses and Knights against street harassment. I have a victory speech.
Victim: Me and Gina.
Time: 8:45 pm…
Crime: street harassment
Perpetrators: 5-6 Men between the ages of 17- 24.
All famished, after running on a cup of only lemon and honey juice all day because (WerkWerkWerkWerkWerkWerk) a few minutes ago, I asked my work mate to push me to the trading centre to buy fries.
So there is this stall with a bunch of 5-6 men who make chapatis. They are right by the main road and so we have to go past them every time we go anywhere.
So we are walking past them with my girl when they make these lurid remarks about us.
Now we had been catcalled the previous day while I walked home with another lady colleague after work and this morning she suggested we take another route to find breakfast because she couldn’t deal.
I am slowly losing my fear of street harassers so even though I had been reacting passively to these men, I was not planning to stop using the route. So this evening while I was with with Gina they called out at us.
We had been walking closely together when I suddenly took a detour without alerting her of what I was about to do. I climbed onto the platform of their stall.
She asked if I was going to buy chapatis and I didn’t respond to her. I just walked up to these dingbats.
And told them in clear Luganda:
“Listen. It is very disrespectful of you to make such comments about people who you live with in your community and who support your business. You have been insulting me and my workmates since the beginning of this week, and we are health workers who serve you and respect you while we are at our jobs. I would expect the same from you. Even if I weren’t a health worker, I am a human being”.
By this time they were busy kneading their chapati dough with furious shame and apologising and “madaming” me.
I told them that I and all other women are human beings with dignity and they deserve to be treated as such.
Them; More tusaba kisonyiwo musawo (healthworker) tetujja kudamu…
Me: “I just want women in this town to walk by your stall in peace without feeling like pigs”.
Me to an astounded Gina: “Gina I got tired of these things. I am tired of being afraid. We have to confront them”.
So there ladies and gentlemen was my bit of activism and my bit of feminism that day.
MY LESSON TO FELLOW LADIES
Don’t be passive. Confront your abusers with a rational speech. Claim your space.
You have a right to be beautiful, feminine and and live fearlessly and happily in the same space as men.
I usually answer to Namuddu Ann Lindah. A social worker by day and superwoman by night.
I am a 20 something feminist, poet and wanna-be pianist dreaming of a world that nourishes and provides a safe space for the feminine essence to flourish. I do my bit for the cause by engaging in conversations with young people through discussions on various subjects like mental health, body autonomy, reproductive health and how to end rape culture.