Eneza Club Changing Mindsets!
Today, the atmosphere was full of energy and I was impressed by how the students reviewed the different forms of violence that we learned in the previous lesson. They even gave specific examples from their communities.
One of the students suggested that a woman’s outfit can be a cause of rape. I asked the class how many of them had same mindset and all of the students raised their hands except one brave boy named Justus. Justus said, “Times have changed and now that we are living in the 21st century, women have rights to express themselves in any way that they feel comfortable. It can be through their mode of dressing, action or speech, and the fact that a lady chooses to wear a short skirt or dress doesn’t mean that she is inviting sexual advancements towards her or provoking rape, she is just wearing what makes her feel comfortable.”
It is the 21’st century and women are allowed to do whatever they want as it is their right. They can wear whatever they want want to wear. So if they pass by a group of men, and they’re wearing a short skirt, that what makes her be confident. She doesn’t have the idea in her mind that she wants to be raped or that she’s invoking people to rape her. She’s only doing that to raise her confidence or maybe she feels okay to wear that mini skirt, or a short dress, or whatever. So I don’t agree that it’s a cause of rape or sexual violence.
While Justus was sharing his opinion, some of the ladies in the class seemed to be relating and they started giving him silent applause even before he finished his statement. When I asked the class, again, who agrees with this, the majority of the class raised their hands.
Justus’ remarks were a true reflection of what Eneza is all about, changing the mindsets of the young people in the room who have been socialized to objectify women therefore perpetrating violence against them. Eneza creates a safe space for these young men and women to openly express their thoughts and concerns on matters related to sexual violence, and to agree or disagree on the best way forward in eradicating sexual violence in their communities.
At first, 64 students strongly believed that how women dress provokes rape. After Justus shared his perspective, only 9 still had mixed reactions. The other 56 students changed their perspective because of Justus. My hope is that by the end of Eneza, the 9 will align with their fellow students by advocating against victim-blaming.
By Lydia Matioli, Sexual Violence Prevention Coordinator
#SAAPM #eneza #makeitknown #sexualassaultawareness #endgbv #endsexualviolence #sexualassaultawarenessmonth