Sunday, June 19, 2011


Father's Day

For years I was estranged from my father. Not because I got angry with him and decided to shut him out but because I was a pawn between two persons whose love had died. At times I felt angry at him, angry that he could so easily walk out my life. Wasn't I worth fighting for? How could he not know his little girl needed him? Although my memories of him had diminished my child heart longed for the safety and security that a father offered. Then one day he was there and my little heart exploded. My daddy had come back. He couldn't stay away any longer, he had missed his baby girl.

Given that my childhood was nomadic involving migration I missed out on a lot of memory making. However, he was always the affectionate parent,given to the hugs and cuddles that I couldn't seem to get enough of. For the first time I understood where I had gotten that loving nature. Apart from being his mirror image over the years I saw more of me in him, the simple, uncomplicated approach to life, the love of nature, the reclusive side that so many miscast as aloofness or snobbishness. Yes I am my father's daughter in so many respects.

There is nothing left to say but thanks for the love and support even when obstacles were put in your way. We may not always see eye to eye and truth be told at times you drive me up a wall. I guess I do too and would have disappointed you many a time. However I think it is fair to say that we have grown to respect our differences. Happy Father's day and if I have learnt one thing from you it is that forgiveness is a beautiful thing.

Friday, June 03, 2011


Virginity checks

The CNN report where members of the Egyptian army admitted to conducting virginity checks on female protesters took me back to my teen years. Back then one of the threats issued by adults was a visit to the doctor to be checked for "chasteness". This was an indication of how zealously mothers guarded their daughters virginity, cognizant of societal standards that said "you keep your heifer home, while allowing your bulls to roam".

Additionally, a pregnant daughter was a source of great embarrassment to the family. Unfortunately, sex education in most cases was couched in either vague terms or threats to life and limb if girls strayed from the straight and narrow.I don't recall ever being issued, my threats were more subtle but enough to give you pause. However, several of my friends,tired of being labelled as sexually active, took it further and demanded their mothers take them to prove their innocence. I often wondered how these checks were even a possibility. It seems to me that the unfortunate girl would have to be a compliant partner. Wild horses would have had to literally drag me, restrain me and anesthetize me before any such procedure could take place.

The report was distasteful on so many levels. The attitude towards women's sexuality was as dated as it was frightening but sadly not surprising. Read the following quotes attributed to the perpetrators:

"We didn't want them to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren't virgins in the first place"

What am I missing here? Isn't the definition of rape sex without consent? So could somebody please explain to me why these idiots are associating rape with virginity?. Wait I know, it's totally impossible for a non virgin to be raped.

It gets worse:

"The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine.These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protestors in Tahir Square and we found in the tents Molotov cocktails and drugs."

How lovely! There you have it.You can't blame the poor soldiers because after all the girls forced their hands.Those girls were just begging to be stripped and searched. Hmmm, where have I heard variations on this before? Oh I remember,it goes something like this: Did you see the short skirt she wore? Where she was going that late? Does she not know men she is tempting the men? Yes,I've heard it so many times.

In all of this I wonder if these virginity checkers realise that a virginity check is simply a nice way of saying sexual assault?

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