DIALOGUE IS OUR WEAPON
Author; Evelyn Odhiambo
Recently the plague of suicide and femicide amongst the young people has hit the nation with the hardest clob. The trending tragedy of deaths and suicide is alarming. It feels like the societal value for life is extinct. Many young people face numerous challenges and especially in this dynamic society where flashy is the new GOLD. They all strive to belong and get noticed without knowing the root path. The urge and eagerness of being like the socialites makes them vulnerable to the harsh wind of nature.
That aside what is most worrying is how youth relationships are the root cause of deaths and suicide among the Adolescent and Youth. This is the breeding space for wars and fights. The sense of life being a Natural gift to be protected at all cost has escaped the mind of many young people. Reason being many young people have numerous Sexual Reproductive Health needs and concerns that are not addressed even from the family level. They have taken control over their sexual relationships and life with countless advice form the internet. This has led to Mental illness: Depression, stress, bipolar, homophobia, stigma, discrimination and the art of violence.
Hope raisers a youth led organization based in Babadogo focuses on creation of safe spaces for young people through Art. Organized a session on Dada’s connect “through the eyes of a woman” a talk space organized solemnly for young people to talk about how women are the most affected by the new trend of murder with an inclusion of the men in the society. They brought in a group of young specialist, peer Educators and Advocates on mental health to help the young people be aware and critically understand the stages and causes of mental health.
As the discussion went on, it was evident that young people have relationships issues and some even suffer from childhood trauma something that’s so much ignored in our African context. Because they believe young people cannot have stress as they have nothing at hand yet they are in relationships empty not knowing how to talk and solve issues. This is the root cause of Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) that as a nation we’re currently experiencing. As the discussion went on, a young man made rather tough statement and this is because of how he has been bred and taught growing up “A woman can never beat me, I’d rather be beaten by a fellow man but not a woman NEVER.” This as light as it may sound has inner strings that takes time to ease. Many explained how having expectation in a relationships are the reason why they fight. But my question is, aren’t we supposed to have expectations in Relationships?
Many didn’t even know that the abuses they consider being sign of love is classified as SGBV. Physical, Sexual Violence (rape, sodomy, defilement), Economic violence (Sex in exchange for money or material good), Psychological violence (Mental torture), Negative Cultural Practices (FGM) are all SGBV. Most of them blamed their actions on family background financially the hardship to survive and just how they do not feel like they belong hence they push harder to belong. This is one of the hardest stages one has in life while growing. The recent cases can be prevented if only mental health is taken with caution and seriousness it deserves especially among the young people. This is the generation of Adventure where the world has completely transformed and most of the guidance they get are from social media posted by imposters and fraudsters living false lives. This push our young people for internal desired that are not even close to their reach. Sexual talks with this young people is essential because we love exploration and experimenting and without guidance we lose track and that’s why is my heart is broken or my boyfriend leaves me, I’ll be on a soul hunt to kill him , “ the spirit of if he isn’t mine then no one will have him.” That’s the song that many young people are currently speaking.