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5 THINGS to remember when working on your “summer body” at the gym.

On April 12th in the United Kingdom we bid farewell to Chloe Ting home workouts and our beloved resistance bands. As we all flock to the sweaty gym environments with shitty bro music and men that uninvitedly fixate on our backsides , it is imperative that we remember 5 things in our bid to get these “summer bodies”.

Society and “summer bodies”

Since its popularisation in 1961 through an ad campaign by a chain of weight-loss salons called Slenderella International, bikini body is a term that is ingrained into every society. It is used to describe the requisite features of a woman’s physique that deems it attractive enough to flaunt in summer. It is interchangeable with its not so distant cousin summer body in Black culture. Notwithstanding the fact that women from every culture are under pressure in our male-gaze centric society to only showcase the present socially acceptable body type, these body types differ in racial communities. Bikini body standards in non Black communities bolster the thin, “fit”, chiseled abs and thigh gaps look; picture Gymshark and Victoria’s not-so-Secret models in your mind’s eye. Differing from our counterparts, the Black community’s paradigm of a “summer body” emphasises the absence of fupa, “snatched waist”, slim arms and a fat ass that jiggles in your sundresses; imagine the likes of Beyonce and BBL successful surgery undertakers who now sell you work out plans on Instagram.

Our desirability as Black women is measured by an ever growing scale of requirements and the hourglass body type is only one- a very vital one if you intend on having a “hot girl summer”. Understanding that as social animals we all (well some of us at least) aim to be desired and accepted, this blog post isn’t here to judge your rationale for striving in the gym to achieve a certain look, neither is it here to shame your body type. Be it for health reasons, mental health boost or simply to look desirable, here are 5 things to remember when you head into the gym to work on your physique.

1. WE ARE STILL IN A PANDEMIC-HYGIENE IS KEY

You are clearly ecstatic to have an array of gym equipment at your disposal and discard lifting your couch when doing squats. Amid your eagerness to return to “real” workout, it is salient to recognise that Covid-19 is very much active and making its rounds in the UK, therefore high levels of hygiene in public spaces is to be maintained (you should already be doing this but just a friendly reminder because I am nice).

Gym equipments are a mechanism for the transfer of bodily fluids so before grabbing that barbell or hopping on the stair master, ensure that you use alcohol wipes to sanitise any area of the equipment that you will be touching- don’t rest your health solely on the cleaning capabilities of the gym staff. Wearing a mask while lifting and doing intense workout can be extremely uncomfortable and challenging- however if it is not a health risk for you, its a good idea to rock one.

One final thing you should not neglect about your hygiene is ensuring that your mobile phone (don’t worry android users you are included too) is sanitised alongside your personal belongings that you left marinating in that locker infested with germs.

2. GET A WORKOUT PLAN FROM A LICENSED AND EXPERIENCED PERSONAL TRAINER

So you’ve bought all the figure hugging and curve enhancing active wear, got that waist trainer and probably wrapped yourself up in cling film to “lose belly fat faster” (it doesn’t work that way btw but you will eventually figure that out). Working out at the gym can be a daunting experience if you have never been there or have been out of the game for a while. For this reason it will be beneficial for you to arm yourself with an impeccable workout plan designed by a trusted Personal trainer; knowing exactly the exercises you will be performing each session and the equipment to use makes you more confident. You will be more motivated for each session and kick its ass.

The generic squat 500 times a day workout plans sold by money-hungry “fitness influencers” with no certified knowledge on fitness and health will not cut it. Your aim to snatch your body back is simply not achievable by using workout plans which are not structured well enough to target the muscles effectively, so INVEST in an in-depth curated plan targeted to your goals. Ohmariafiit is a Black fitness trainer whose website exhibits an array of workout guides at an affordable price; check out the Guide to Booty Building 101, I know you’ll love these glute pumping exercises. Whatever your physique goals are, a well rounded workout plan targets all of the body albeit at different intensities; do not hip thrust 7 days a week while ignoring the muscles in your upper body.

3. YOUR DIET IS IMPORTANT BUT STARVING ISN’T IMPERATIVE

An integral aspect of reaching your body goals is EATING THE RIGHT STUFF for your specific goal. The epoch of fad diets has negatively impacted our fitness experience, with many rushing to laxative filled Slim Teas, weight loss shakes and the ever so popular keto diet in order to achieve their goals quicker. Fact is, your body needs time to change safely and healthily so these short cut methods will only have you running to the loo a whole lot and might actually be hindering your fitness achievements. For example, using weight loss teas to lose belly fat while simultaneously trying to grow that booty is going to render your gym work futile; as you cannot spot reduce fat, you will find yourself shitting out all the nutrients your body needs to grow those muscles.

Of course having unhealthy carbohydrate dense and fatty filled jollof rice and chicken or our plethora of ethnic meals in large quantities – 7 days a week, in conjunction to working out consistently would be paradoxical. You cannot out train a bad diet. Carbs are not your enemy though, neither is fat. Irrespective of your fitness goals, you should be having a balanced meal which includes all of your macro and micro nutrients (unless advised otherwise by a doctor). The key to enjoying your meals and your fitness journey is to research and modify your favourite foods to match your goals; you might need to reduce the quantity, substitute some ingredients or/and minimise the frequency at the which you consume these meals. Starving yourself will ruin your relationship with food and although you might lose some weight, it will be unsustainable long term and unhealthy for you. It’s not everyday chicken breast and broccoli, sometimes baked plantain instead of deep fried plantain with your beans. Food is to be enjoyed. No ingredient is bad for you, everything just needs to be consumed in moderation and you will learn what that looks like to you for optimum results.

4. FOCUS ON YOURSELF AT THE GYM- THIS FITNESS JOURNEY IS FOR YOU

Ever so often we can become overwhelmed by everyone else at the gym, especially if you are new to this. The weights section as a woman resembles a lion’s den with hungry wild cats preying on you as you squat and thrust your way to a better booty. Some might even interrupt your sessions to mansplain an exercise or drop their numbers. You might simply be intimidated by the woman next to you squatting 100kg upwards while you struggle to balance yourself with a measly 20kg barbell. Focusing on everything around you can make you self aware and insecure; honestly everyone at the gym is also on their own fitness journey so aside from the thirsty lurking men, others are not really judging you for lifting and exercising at your own pace.

Some try to combat this by competing to “prove” their knowledge on the equipment or weight lifting capacity; this will mess your routine up – and your back. Lifting more weight than you can handle and using equipment incorrectly could result in life threatening injury; so I advice that you ask for help if needed and go at your own pace, this is solely your journey after all. In addition to possible injury, using equipment incorrectly also affects your form/posture which will make your workout ineffective as you will not be targeting the muscles correctly. It is always form>weight load.

5. YOUR BODY IS ALREADY A “SUMMER BODY”

Slim thick, fat, thick, curvy, slim, thin, skinny, no booty, small booty, fat ass, no titties, big titties – whatever your body type, shape or size, your body is already a summer body. This sounds cliche, I know; have you taken time to process the seasons your body has seen you through? This meat suit you wear has sustained you through your blissful moments and most challenging moments in life, how dare you tell it that it isn’t desirable for a season? Through all seasons of life you spend the most time with one person, the person whose desire you need the most, the person whose validation you need the most – YOU.

It is okay to want to improve your body to have a better chance at a longer and healthier life. It is however not okay for you to despise your body through this process of improvement. You are remodelling it to be better not because you are embarrassed by it. Being desired by others is a beautiful feeling but darling, at the end of the day you come back home to you when the screens are off and you nurture you – desire your body first. Your fitness journey should not be damaging your mental health or your physical body, bring yourself to a space where you are not enveloped by other’s fitness results or the ideal body type. Enjoy your own body’s journey; yours tells a different story – your story.

So your summer body is already wrapped around you but if you want to improve it, do so safely and enjoy the process. Remember you should not be worrying about if your body is ready for summer; you should be wondering if summer is ready to deal with all of the gorgeousness that is your body.

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How to Get Over a “Situationship” or Not.

Right now it feels like out of the billions of people breathing on earth, your heart was the only target to break. It feels like the world is out to get you or you are being punished for something you did when you were just a floating sperm in your daddy’s ball sack. And the whole world ridicules you for this feeling because how dare you catch feelings for someone who has not clearly made you their partner.

The definition of a situationship is subjective but it is a common consensus that this is a romantic situation which has some exclusivity but not certainty and verbal agreement of a relationship. In such situations, one party holds on to the hope of the situation progressing into a relationship based on their translation of the actions and words of the other party involved. This leaves a grey area and a lot of room for hurt that is opened widely when the least emotionally attached party leaves. Truth is whatever the definition of the romantic situation was, your heart was still involved and it was broken.

Being hurt by a romantic situation you only ever poured love and kindness into sucks. Being hurt by someone who is nonchalant to your pain, sucks. Being hurt and feeling stupid because you allowed someone else to consume you to the point of relinquishing power, sucks. It feels like they have all the power over your right now. You are in tears and you just want to rip through every layer of skin and maybe, just maybe you can make it to your heart and find a switch in there somewhere to turn the pain off.

The heart is one of the most powerful muscles in the body. It is a beautiful, vital organ that keeps us alive but yet right now it feels like its sole purpose is to kill you. This muscle expands unlike any other in the body and when you are hurt it feels like every artery stretches and intertwines with your intestines; forming knots of anguish in your stomach. If only our body processes hurt as it does food waste right… like “oh after a good laxative and 30 minutes on the toilet seat I will be completely free of the pain”.

But it doesn’t.

Why do heartbreaks hurt so much?

Well… you’ve heard that “the harder you love, the more you get hurt”. When you become enamoured of someone and open up for them, your little heart expands because now you task it with the responsibility of beating for two. This is why the thought of something bad happening to someone you have “caught feelings” for shatters you. This is why you ask constantly if they have eaten. If they are sleeping enough, breathing enough, tying their durag properly, balancing work pressures well, their family’s health and safety… remind them to breath. Your brain naturally sends signals to your body for these things for yourself but when you love someone, your heart believes it has to remind their brain to function as well.

So when your love interest leaves, your heart has to learn how to contract just enough without becoming too little and disappearing altogether; I mean it still has to keep beating for you right. This is where the hurt paralyses you. Your heart had expanded so big and adapted to beating for someone else so quickly that this change and need for contraction is quite literally breaking it. You might have to lose chips of it to get it to fit in your body again; after all you have made it grow beyond its fist size when you filled it with love for this person that it burst out of your body trying to connect it’s ventricles to theirs every time you hugged them

So what is the magic trick to making the hurt go away?

I could give you a list of actions and advice on “How to heal from a heartbreak”, “How to stop hurting and move on”, “How to move on from loving someone who doesn’t love you” but darling sometimes you just need to allow yourself to break. Muscles grow back bigger and stronger after a lot of pressure is applied; your heart is no exception. I’ll love to tell you that “you will be fine, you deserve love….” but truth is you already know this babe. You have been here before and even if this is your first time, you know that nothing lasts forever.

This is not a post for positive validation or affirmations. Today I just want you to know that your hurt is seen, it is valid and you should not run away from it.

Why are you even hurt? I mean it was only a dating situation its not like you were in a relationship or anything.

Why are you even hurt? You’ve only known them for just a couple of months.

Why are you even hurt? You allowed yourself to catch feelings so that’s on you.

Why are you even hurt? You got yourself in and stayed in that situation didn’t you?

Why are you even hurt? They’ve moved on.. you over estimated your importance and relevance to them so…

Why are you even hurt? You were the one stupid enough to see the red flags as cerise coloured drapes.

Why are you even hurt? It was clearly there, you just didn’t look close enough.

Why are you even hurt? You could’ve prevented this by leaving first, I mean you had many chances to do so.

Why are you even hurt? Everyone else could see how little you meant to them.

Why are you even hurt? You are nothing to them….. but in this moment, they are everything to you.

You are gaslighting your emotions a lot right now. You are explaining every single action and inaction and oversight and everything… You just want them to say something right? To maybe just validate your hurt and your reality. To make you feel less stupid and naive? To confirm that all the passion you felt was indeed real and not a prolonged daydream? You just want them to say more.. to explain more.. to make it hurt less, to give you…. closure. Their inaction or silence is a clear communication and all the closure you need my darling.

My darling I know it hurts. Fuck I know how much this is breaking you right now. It is paralysing and you want to scream so loud that maybe faint sounds of your despair will travel to them and they will come riding on a horse to rescue you from this tower of pain you are trapped in. My darling I know you are trying so hard to make sense of it all, to decide whether to put all the walls back up or keep believing in the fairy tale you deserve. Maybe if you looked into their eyes one more time their soul will get lost in the light of yours and maybe if you touch them one more time they will remember how you both melted into one so many times.. when you moaned in synchronicity at every thrust, when you hugged at every meeting and goodbye, when you moisturised their skin with butter and a whole lot of love radiating through your palms.

I wish I could share these generic lists and tips with you that will magically make it all okay; I could but I don’t want to. I want you to feel every single heart throb. I want you to be aware of how tight the walls of your chest come together when you squeeze the warm tears from your eyes. I want you to lay in bed and not want to do anything for days and I want you to fucking feel all of the hurt and confusion because like waste, your body gets better by expelling negative emotions outwards. No brain trick is going to actively make you stop loving them tomorrow or next week or next month.

You are going to love them, long for what was and what could’ve been, You are going to get up everyday and work through the hurt because well capitalism has us by the neck babes and you can’t be heartbroken and broke at the same time x. You will be aware of the hurt and affection when you randomly miss them because you are making breakfast and you made your toast just how they liked theirs. You are going to miss them because you opened that wallet that still smells of their perfume from months ago. You are going to miss the plans you never fulfilled because they are fulfilling them with others right now. You are going block and unblock, see what they are up to until one day you will realise, you have not thought about them in over a month.

One day you will be making your toast and you will get flashbacks of how they liked theirs and giggle at how silly it all was. One day you will realise you have not cared about what they are up to in a week, a month, a year. One day you will realise your heart has perfectly contracted to only beat for you and you won’t shed a tear. One day, the hurt would have completely pass out of your body through your tears, your sweat, your breath, your will. One day you will accept that your love was one of the most beautiful things you shared at that time and they needed it. One day you will love again. And again. And again. And again until your body becomes one with the earth and your soul gives the universe more love than it could ever give when it was harboured by your body.

*Processing or experiencing heartbreak should not result to physically harming yourself or others and their properties. If you find yourself actively trying to do this, seek support from friends and family and or medical help. Sometimes all you need is someone to listen to you cry and hug you without invalidating your feelings. Don’t catch a case or destroy yourself as a result of lack of romantic love please babes. Cry and block and unblock and block and unblock but do not every escalate it to an action that will damage your character or other relationships.

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Unrequited Love: How to Move on from Loving Someone who DOESN’T Love You.

This post has all the information you need to take back your love and move on healthily open to loving someone else in the future. You have unfortunately experienced one of the most painful forms of heartbreak; join the gang darling x. If you are not currently experiencing this, you might be reading to prep yourself so if the universe ever decides to do a negative 360 on you, you are ready to spin that shit right back.

What Is Unrequited Love?

Unrequited Love is defined as a feeling of love that is not returned. A very simple sentence to define something that can eat away at valuable weeks, months and even years of your life if you do not learn how to process and move on from it healthily.

Why Does Loving Someone Who Does not Love You back HURT this much?

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

You are not alone. In fact you are actually part of about 80% of the population who will at some point love someone who cannot love them back; the 20% who do not experience this are lucky bastards… so for those of us who aren’t so lucky we have to understand and process it. You will be tempted to wait or try to convince this person to love you….. darling, DON’T. Darling, you can never make someone love you if they do not want to. So process the hurt and let go.


REJECTION

This right here is the culprit. When someone tells you that they cannot respond to your emotions in the way you want them to, you feel rejected and that shit sucks! You feel insecure, unwanted and undesirable. It sucks so bad that there has been multiple studies to analyse how the brain reacts to being rejected so lets take a little dive into the research:

Firstly, your emotions are absolutely valid. Do not ever punish yourself for loving someone, it is natural as “humans have a fundamental need to belong. Just as we have needs for food and water, we also have needs for positive and lasting relationships”- C.Nathan Dewall.

The Cyberball research by Naomi Eisenberger in 2003 concluded that the areas of the brain triggered in people who experienced rejection are the exact same areas triggered when we experience physical pain.

Another research by Ethan Kross in 2011 revealed that when images of their ex was shown to people who had recently broken up with their partners, their brain regions triggered by physical pain lit up. So this tells us that you are not just in your head about how much it hurts, your brain processes rejection as a form of pain and with pain, there is always a treatment; sometimes this treatment is quick and numbs it immediately, other times it takes just a little bit longer.

So now you know this, How do you Move On without being bitter?

Moving on from a romantic bond takes a lot of self reflection. Of course some people will say “get under someone new, to get over someone else”. Whether it is a crush who does not feel the same, someone you were dating that changed their mind or a relationship where your partner decided they wanted something else in life that does not include you; the hurt will be there and getting under someone new only gets you a new person to pile on more hurt to what was not healed.

Here are some steps to process unrequited love and actually healing leaving you positive and open for more love in the future:

REALISATION (Take them off the pedestal): When you are in love or attracted to someone, it is all roses and the passion makes you focus on all the positive things about them. The idea of being with them becomes your main source of dopamine. This passion usually prevents us from actually getting to know them as a person as opposed to the object of our desires. The idea of them you have is one that makes you blur out their flaws and only focus on your ideal perfection; so to you, there is no one in the world as amazing as this person.

Truth is, if you take a moment and actually focus on the behaviours of that person, you will learn that they are not as special as you have made them out to be. Like you and everyone else, they have flaws and are just human. This realisation will take you out of the scarcity mindset and you will gradually realise that the only perfection this person has, is the perfection you attributed to them.

SELF REFLECTION AND FOCUS: This is often the task that we fail at miserably. Self reflection is not an exercise to chastise yourself to the point of invalidating your feelings. Saying things like “I am stupid, why would I allow myself to love someone who clearly does not want me” does not get you any step closer to healthy healing.

Self reflection is understanding why the rejection might be affecting you that intensely or longer than others.

It is understanding your attachment style. Take the attachment style quiz here. Understanding this arms you with information to compassionately assess your emotions and process them as opposed to avoiding them. “The cure for not receiving love does not lie in avoiding to experience it”.

Once you have understood this, flip that camera and keep that lens focused on you. Now is a great time to take on tasks that reward you and give you that dopamine satisfaction the wanting for your loved one provided. Be careful not to bury yourself in work and socialising as a way to avoid feeling the uncomfortable feelings of rejection, your healing is not a race. Take your time.

DISTANCE: “Out of sight, out of mind”. Putting a considerable amount of distance between you and the other party is important for you to process your emotions healthily without relapsing.

This includes not stalking them on social media after you have unfollowed/blocked them. Your mind needs time to create an accurate perception of this person and if you are still in communication or consuming the life of this person visually, you don’t give yourself the environment to unlearn and take them off the pedestal you have put them on.

So block them. Unfollow them. Delete their number and cut off all communication until you get to the mind-frame where you can maintain communication with them without expecting love.

ACCEPTANCE: Going through the first two steps and implementing some distance will get you to this final point. This is the point where you take deep breaths, your mind is clear and you have accepted that you fell in love with someone who simply does not love you. Whatever that person’s reasons are for not loving you has no bearing on your self worth or desirability.

They are just ONE person and this planet is filled with millions of people. Yes, they might be a dope ass person but there are many dope ass people everywhere. You are deserving of the love you envisioned but you can never force someone to give it to you. Take the time to work on your emotional attachments and balance it out without totally giving up on love.

Unrequited Love and rejection can lead to depression, obsession and in some extreme cases physical harm. If you feel like your mental health is rapidly deteriorating and you are having life threatening thoughts towards yourself or others, seek help from a supportive structure and or medical help. Don’t allow one person’s NO to negatively throw you off your life’s path. Another person is never worth you losing a considerable amount of life’s most valuable currency- time.

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Her Clitoris is Hers to Keep: END FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

Another day, another blog post on how the bodies of African girls get abused and mutilated. Is the fact that there are millions of women and girls walking around today without their clitoris because it was forcefully chopped off their bodies a shock to you? Today is a significant day; around the world people are coming together to amplify the voices of the 200 million plus recorded FGM survivors. You will see a lot of information on Social Media, the News etc and you will see all the big numbers, you will probably shake your head at the sad reality and then…. you will go about your day.

TRIGGER WARNING: Descriptive torture

I was about 6 years old when I was circumcised. I vividly remember the lovely afternoon when my excited voice of laughs echoed and transitioned into muffled screams. My mum and I had gone over to my aunt’s house where my older cousins were being circumcised to help with the chores. Someone walked past with a beautiful green and blue Ankara wrapper and I turned to my mother, with pleading eyes and asked “can you please get me that kind of wrapper?” I wish I had never uttered those words.

An aunt overheard me and lured me to the backyard where she had stated the wrappers were and all I had to do was pick one. I skipped all the way to the backyard where the door immediately shut behind me. Someone suddenly blindfolded me and I felt two hands grab me on either side. I only remember my legs being forced open, my hands held down firmly on either side, and then there it was…

A sharp stinging pain shot through my body. I tried to cry as loudly as I could so my mum could come and get me out of here. Surely my mum is not aware that her little girl is being subjected to this pain.. but there was no sound, the hand over my mouth muffled my screams. The pain continued as my clitoris was being chopped off with just a razor blade and knife.

When it was all done, I was carried into the living room. My mum and the older women were there and on a big mat my 4 cousins laid passed out from the pain. We were kept together for about 2 weeks. Those were my 2 weeks rite of passage into a world that abuses and takes parts of my body without my consent. Those 2 weeks were painful…

The only form of medicine we received were paracetamol and palm oil on the freshly cut area to “heal” it. I hated having to pee so I drank and ate less. Peeing was like pouring alcohol over a fresh wound multiple times a day. Changing sleeping positions was a nightmare in itself so some nights, sleep on your back and battle it out with the sleep paralysis demon. After two weeks a big celebration was held for us. Aunties and uncles gathered around with gifts and money and we were now “respectable” women. I was not a woman. I was a child. Just a child.

I knew what I experienced was painful. I did not at that time understand the gravity of this painful ritual. Here is an in-depth interview I did on my experience.

FGM is another major display of the fact that African women are not given the luxury to have autonomy over their bodies and identities. Our bodies being policed and claimed by our patriarchal societies from conception is not mythology, this is the reality for millions of unrecorded girls and women.

“Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

-World Health Organisation

This practice is predominant in African and or Muslim cultures around the world. There are laws in place to punish anyone who violates a girl in this manner. However, in most countries the traditional circumcisers disregard the laws and still continue to chop away at the clitoris of dissenting girls. There is no founded medical benefit for this practice and frankly the reasons our mothers and aunties and grandmothers give for violating our bodies are never centred on medicine. It is always something along the lines of “if we had left that thing on you, it will make you sleep with a lot of men and become a slut. You’re not a respectable woman if you have that thing on you”

if we had left that thing on you, it will make you sleep with a lot of men and become a slut. You’re not a respectable woman if you have that thing on you

Our bodies are spoken about with such disgust. This culture is associated with the notion that as women, we are not to enjoy sex. Sex is solely for reproduction and the pleasure of men in marital relationships. So what do our mothers do? They take away one of the greatest sensory organs for women in relation to sexual pleasure. Not only is this practice a violation of human rights, it is also extremely dangerous as it is rarely ever practiced in a medical environment leaving the survivor with many reproduction related health issues. Oh and also a pretty painful and shitty sex life.

These women who have made it their life long mission and career to take away significant parts of our bodies choose between three types of FGM; I guess it just depends on what level of pain they are in mood to inflict or how much they hate the way your vagina looks.

THE THREE TYPES OF FGM

TYPE 1: This is where someone decides the external part of your clitoris should not exist. So they saw it off with a razor blade.

Illustrations by : @Martic_design

TYPE 2: This is where they really hate your vagina so they decide to saw off both the external clitoris and the labia.
TYPE 3: This is where they actually hate everything about your sexual and reproductive organ so after chopping off the external clitoris and labia, they sew the everything shut leaving only a tiny opening for urine and menstruation.

My identity and relationship with my vagina has been tumultuous and required a lot of learning and adapting. Despite their efforts, I have indeed grown up to be a slut. A slut who loves pleasure and sex. A slut who like many of the 0.1% of the statistic that makes up each FGM victim has had to endure pain, a mental battle with every partner. “Will he recognise that my vagina is incomplete?”, “Will he recognise that by body is not normal. Not beautiful?”

I was one of the lucky ones to have only gotten Type 2 and made it alive to share this post with you today. Unfortunately many girls die from the pain, the infections, the complications. Unfortunately many girls have had their level of pleasure, risk of infertility and pregnancy complications determined for them by the women who were to protect them.

We are a generation battling this inhumane practice. We understand that this has no benefits to us so I hope we also understand that no amount of pressure from family members or partners should make us subject our daughters to the pain we are enduring. Our daughters deserve to have their bodies intact. The deserve to grow up into women who own and enjoy every single part of their body boldly. Patriarchy has our society by the throat but it is your duty as a parent to protect the child you chose to birth into this world. It is your duty as a mother who realises FGM has fuck all to do with medical benefits to put a stop to it. It is our duty as women not to subject other women to torture, humiliation and abuse.

Women are fighting a massive battle with the male gender in every department of life especially Gender Based Violence, as a woman, do not make yourself the centre of another trauma they have to battle.

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An African Girl’s introduction to sex is an experience of Abuse.

Most African women’s first sexual experience is one of abuse

Sanusia, in a clubhouse room on 21 January 2021.

The statement above is quite a big statement right? It was my intention to welcome to you to my blog with a light-hearted Valentine’s Day post decorated in red roses and hearts. You will see red all over this post; unfortunately not roses. This post has hearts; unfortunately they are broken fragments scattered around the statistics I will be presenting you and my personal account. Let’s get to the lovey dovey stuff another day.

Statistics are the numbers and percentages we use to validate a statement or an experience of a group of people. We are all pretty much on the same page on the fact that many women get sexually assaulted at least once in their lifetime right? At least I hope I don’t have to insert some numbers in here to convince you of this reality. On the discourse of sexual assault and rape in Africa, statistics simply do not represent the extent of the damage done.

“In most countries with data available on rape, less than 40% of women who experience sexual violence seek help. Less than 10% seek assistance from law enforcement”

World Population review

Rape statistics in Africa are badly skewed because our society includes that of rape culture on steroids. You know…. the victim blaming; you are a girl why were you wearing that? Why did you go to his house? Why were you out at night alone? Why do you want to embarrass our family with such an accusation? He is your uncle, you have to respect him. This is just what men do, boys will always be boys….

Why am I talking about this today?

This post is inspired by a series of events that transpired after joining a Clubhouse room. This room focused on Black women statistics with the discourse centered on mental and sexual health. The hosts present a statistic and open the conversation for contribution from the audience (more statistics, a statement, perspective). We were presented with a research by Public Health England on sexual competence at sexual debut. This research stated that lower amount of Black African women reported being sexually competent at sexual debut. The amount of education you have on sex, safe sex and consent contributes to your sexual competence.

My response to this was ” most African women’s first sexual experience is one of abuse so they have cultivated a culture of silence and shame. Sex is introduced as something done to them not something they are an active participant in therefore they are usually not sexually competent….” My statement was important and relevant and I was taken aback by the anxiety that enveloped me when I started speaking so I quickly finished off without presenting statistics on this statement. I did not realise that even though some speakers who had spoken before me presented no numbers, the absence of statistics invalidated my statement and made it unfathomable. I immediately left the room after speaking and went into a meditation room to calm my anxiety. A couple of hours later I research the hashtag to catch up on any relevant information I had missed, then I found this.

she made a big statement based off nothing.

I repeated that statement over and over again. I was filled with rage. Why am I so angry that a stranger disregarded this statement? Surely it’s not that outlandish of a statement right? Why am I crying? I breathed. It did not stop. I woke the next morning and the bells chimed loudly in my head again. See to a sexual assault victim, their statements are always based off something even if it is just their own experience.

So here goes NOTHING…..

I could spend an entire day giving you numbers to justify the reality of these experiences but as someone who understands that the statistics on sexual assault in Africa in greatly underrepresented particularly in minors because of a culture of silence, shame and blame; I will give a story of someone who would’ve made 0.1% of the statistics if she participated in any of this research at the age of 6 and 13.

TRIGGER WARNING: Descriptive sexual assault and rape.

It has taken me a decade to understand and accept that these experiences I had are categorised under these terms. When I say “most African women’s first sexual experience is that of abuse” I speak for the “most” women who were not in the areas the research was done, so they didn’t make it to the statistics.

I speak for the “most” women who live in a society where sexual assault is so normalised that it will take them a decade plus to realise that the first time they had sex they were assaulted.

When I say “most” I speak for the 5 year olds, the babies, the 6 year olds, whose sexual assault traumas will be buried deep in that part of their brain that protects their innocence.

When I say “most” I speak for the girls who were raped by the 46% of men who admitted to committing rape when they were 10-14 in South Africa.

When I say “most” I speak for 6 and 13 year old Sanusias around the continent who will only have the courage to face the reality that their sexual debut was an experience of sexual abuse decades later.

6 year old Sanusia loved dancing. She happily joined Uncle Sofie’s dance competition he organised for the girls that night. If you win, you get a special prize. Of course I won. I have always been competitive and a great dancer. Uncle Sofie took me to his bedroom to give me my gift. I vividly remember my skirt being lifted, he complimented my panties and pulled them down. The rest well.. my 6 year old brain is still protecting me from that.

You know how the first sexual experience is usually depicted in the movies as two clueless teenagers exploring their bodies….. well reality is a little different for some of us. At 13 I was the most beautiful, radiant girl. Thanks to puberty the hips were doing their thang. I had gotten into an argument with my “boyfriend” at his mom’s house, she was not home. He was 19. Mid argument he slapped me and pushed me over the table. He took off my underwear and pushed, and thrusted, and pushed and thrusted until he was in. I winced at the pain from the force of him pushing and I hate myself for not crying, for not fighting, for simply laying emotionless watching him thrust and thrust until he was done. I was not ready for sex. I did not know about contraceptions or STDs I just knew I was “in love” and I was powerless. I got up when he was done and put on my stuff and left. This experience will repeat a few times until someone asks me for the first time when I was 20 “are you sure you want to have sex with me”.

I do not speak nor attempt to speak for all African women. I speak for the 0.1% of the statistic that each girl who couldn’t voice their experience would’ve contributed. In another post we will explore how abuse as a first sexual experience influences sexual behaviours. Again in that post and future topics like this, I will provide you with some numbers to add some validity to reality but I will always speak for me and for the “most” who do not make it to the statistics.