I remember looking through my Twitter timeline and seeing a young woman called Sitawa Wafula being congratulated for winning a philanthropy award and when I looked into her, I knew I must share her story on African Queens Project: http://africanqueensproject.com/2013/08/12/sitawa-wafula/.
Sitawa advocates on an issue that has been a silent killer on our beautiful continent, an issue that is usually blanketed by age old beliefs and harsh traditional views thus leaving the victims of this silent killer to miss out on much needed medical treatment. The issue I am talking about is Mental health related sicknesses. Sitawa Wafula, after suffering a rape ordeal, rose up from the ashes by giving a voice to the voiceless via promoting awareness on Victims of rape as well as mental Health sicknesses, having developed one after her rape ordeal.
She has recently launched a campaign called #HugSitawa, “that aims to create awareness about mental health and suicide and also raise money for a toll free help line.”
“Currently, 1 in every 4 Kenyans will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. This narrows down to each and every household in this country having a brush with either bipolar, depression, suicide, alcohol and substance abuse disorders, just to mention a few.
…All these households will have to compete for the services of 79 psychiatrists serving a population of 40 million Kenyans.
…All these households will also compete for space in one referral hospital what is understaffed, underfunded and overcrowded.
…And like me, all these households will not have a proper support system.”
If you would like to find out more about this campaign and how you can be a part of it, please check out this link for more information: http://sitawa.blogspot.com/2013/09/hugsitawa-campaign.html
I am hoping that by my sharing her story and her campaign that is currently located in Kenya, that it will be an eye opener for other campaigns in other countries like Tanzania, Uganda, and Chad just to name a few. Below is a blog post that Sitawa wrote where she poetically describes what happened to her the day that shook her world and turned it upside down. #HugSitawa
|“I will keep telling my story because everyday,
a man, a woman, a child is raped”
In her interview on NTV,Vip Ogola said that she will keep telling her story because everyday, a man, a woman, a child is raped; and they need to know its going to be ok,that they are not alone. Back then I wasn’t sure, I was scared, I had no one to tell me it will be ok,there was no story for me to relate to; pen and paper were all I had, my poetry was the only solace; so I did what I thought best…wrote a piece about it and went on. Right now I am sure of myself and I, too, will tell my story so that someone out there will know they will be alright, that there are people who care, people who have been there…Sunday 15th
Sidenote: It is a long piece, unedited (OK just worked on the paragraphing, period). When I was working on my book I thought of shortening it, but yet again I looked at those pieces and saw how they have made me, and the fact that I didn’t write this or any piece for entertainment or for literature critics to see if it follows the rules. Poetry is my vent and the book is me opening part of my diary to the world and yes it was to be out mid this year, and it is ready but I, too, have to be ready.@Vip, you don’t know how your voice has helped me, right from when I read your story on The Standard to seeing you on national television plus the many things you do for people who have been raped. Makes me kinda wish I met you back in 2003,but all things work at His time so its never too late…May He continually bless he works of your hands.
Oscar Wilde said, ‘There are many things that we would throw away, if we were not afraid that others might pick them.’ I have held on for far too long, now it is time to let go. I wrote this piece on after events that took place on Sunday 15th June 2003 for therapy and it has helped me for the last 6 years. Now I write it in my notes, praying it does the same for someone.
I am ready to move to the next level of healing.
If the sun was there on that day, I don’t know;
And if it shined brighter than ever, I don’t care.
My tears, all view they clouded.
What moved me, to date am yet to know.
An errand to run, you said you had,
Before I fully awoke, you’ll be back,
As the day to spend together you desired.
So over I turned,
And deep into sleep I fell.
If all the anger I feel is at you, I don’t know;
And if you spend your whole life making amends, I don’t care.
Nowhere in sight, so off I go.
Your best friend I meet, wish I never stopped to buy that gum.
A message from you to me, he to keep me company.
Back to the host we agree, a little more time he said.
A little spike in my cup of tea he added.
One sip, two sip;
Cant recall if there was a third.
If the hosts heard me cry out for you, I don’t know;
And if you know I cried for you, I don’t care.
Back from the dead I return, warmth behind me I feel.
My love when did you arrive, stone face meets my eyes,
Shock, worry, their brothers and sisters on me descend.
A leg out the bed, chill over my body.
Naked as a new born
Not a cloth in sight.
Just a rubber on the floor.
If I vomited on the bed and blankets, I don’t know;
And if the vomit remains to date, I don’t care.
Sick all over my body, headache, numbness, anxiety.
I need my clothes, I want to go home
A word out, a threat
One look at his monstrous face, more vomit,
Disgust and fear.
Slowly he dresses,
If my best friend thought my request for a dagger was a joke, I don’t know;
And if I got one and killed him, I wouldn’t care.
He is mocking me,
Enjoying every moment of my anguish
Where are you?
Did he know you wont be back?
Why did I go back?
If I didn’t care about my breath and stop to buy gum
Or drink that tea?
If everyone pointing and laughing, knew my dirt, I don’t know;
And if it became local gossip, I don’t care.
A cloth at a go I get, as against you he talks,
To every comment I agree and thirsty I claim to be.
A glass of water he fetches, out the door I run
Tears streaming like a river
Tripping and almost falling
All this after a pretend siding with him
The only way out I saw.
If one should or should not take a shower,I didn’t know;
And if that was removing evidence, I didn’t care.
I was out
What would you say
Would you want me anymore
My best friend on road I meet
Why the tears
I’m just high, its the weekend so it allowed
If someone had seen me and told the folks, I don’t know;
And if she could have thrown me out, I wouldn’t have cared.
Home I go, effects of whatever spike taking toll
Seeing three roads, all leading to hell
A slap so hard no sense it brings, scissors on my hair
No longer beautiful, just a dirty, slutty piece of shit
If the folks sensed something was amiss, I don’t know;
And if your unbelief was shock, I don’t care.
A week outside I don’t step
Waiting, counting, wondering
Will they come?
Lord I cant be pregnant
Was that a cramp?
Away I go
As there is no one to talk to
If you’ll get to know what really happened, I don’t know;
And if you don’t, I don’t care.
Word around for me you have been looking.
Together I see you
Worry grips me anew
Do you know?
To ask I decide
Disbelief; you reaction
Driving the knife deeper
Though severely bruised,
Under this I try to arise.
A way to heal I need.
As much as you look at me,
You cannot see it.
But I carry a scar with me wherever I go.
And in whatever I do,
It is always there,
Mocking and degrading.