By Elma Asio
Your father respects your mother. He has never raised his voice or hand against her. You studied at the very best schools from the time you were only learning to speak to the day you got your degrees. You got a job where everyone is respectful of each other.
All your life you have been surrounded by people who aren’t so different from you, with backgrounds and families that do not deviate from what yours looks like. And so when you hear stories about multitudes of organisations fighting to educate the girl child, you scratch your head, wondering why all the fuss yet all the girls you know have all passed through. When you hear about women who get physically, emotionally and sexually abused by their partners, the notion seems like a far reach out the kind of world you live in. When you hear about a person who has been abused continuous because the color of their skin or the tribe they belong to, you say, “Oh, dear. So sorry” and brush it off because you don’t feel or know their pain. When you learn about ladies who are constantly being sexually harassed at their workplaces, you wonder who these animals are because your workplace is filled with absolute gentlemen.
In the world we live in, where class systems exist, where poverty is prevalent, where sexism and patriarchal mindsets thrive, for you to truly understand the gravity of any other person’s situation, you must put yourself in their shoes, see it from their life’s perspective, conjure up some deep empathy, get out of your bubble and realize that the kind of life you live isn’t the same kind of life everyone else has lived.
When you hear a story of a 14 year old who was sexually assaulted by a relative, a mother who was beaten mercilessly until she was hospitalized, a young 8 year old who was told she didn’t need to go to school, think of the women in your life. Your 14 year old sister, your mother or close aunt, your 8 year old self, how would you have felt if those stories were closer to home? Distress? Anger? Frustration? Hopelessness? A need to leap for action?
It’s when we get out of our bubbles and look at what life is in other people’s eyes that we realize the true meaning of oneness. We realize the need to lend a helping hand to pull each person up. We realize how we should leave no man, woman or child behind to suffer in poverty, in abuse, in discrimination or distress of any other kind. Get of our bubble, see the world through someone else’s eyes, then you will feel compelled to change it for the better.