More often than we would care to admit, we women are bullied into feeling shame when our spouses cheat on us or abuse us. We are forced to carry the burden and guilt of being a victim of a failed relationship, or even worse, being a victim of sexual abuse, on our already heavy shoulders without complaining. Even when poverty comes knocking at our door, we are left with the duty of making sure that the whole family survives. Yes, women have been made to carry around their scars so secretively and so shamefully as if they prayed for that misfortune.

I am not here to give women a solution to their problems, nor am I here to share unprecedented ideas because in my opinion, women will always bear a scar somewhere deep inside them. I want to be the voice for women, women who have been scarred enough and are tired and angry at their situation. Angry enough to decide to embrace those scars before those very scars lead them to their early and silent graves.  Here I am today urging all women to start the ElleAfrique Movement – a beautiful union of women encouraged to embrace those painful life experiences that have made them the strong women they are today.

Today, I give you a new beauty tip that is not advertised in glossy magazines or modelled on the haute couture runway. Many women are ashamed of what they have been through, and to be honest it is not anything to be proud of. However what they often fail to tell them is that what does not kill you makes you stronger, we forget that a scar is a permanent reminder of an old wound, a sign that you triumphed, and that is a special kind of beauty.

Those scars are what make you exceptional, we often forget that no one can take our strength or wisdom, no matter how much we may get misused physically, emotionally, or sexually.

I watched myself spiral into a moment of craziness when my parents were going through a difficult time, even more when my father passed away and I had to drop out of school. Like most young women, I was comforted by the feeling of being in control of myself, like starving myself, excessive drinking, even self-harming. I watched myself starve my own body and blamed myself for everything, since I was a female – that was my fate. Not to my surprise, I watched a friend get abused regularly by a family member, and when we would talk about it, it somehow felt as if it had been her fault because it was ‘her hips and the way she laughs that made this man kill an internal part of her.’

Women have considered the scars they bear as burdens but I say, no more! Today those scars will become a symbol of your strength, your beauty and your smile. You have made it through. When you celebrate those scars, nothing can hold you down. Pull yourself together and trust that you will be just fine. Those scars are about to become a testimony because of the grace and wisdom that was naturally placed in you at creation. No more excuses for not living and loving the life that you have and want to have.

Use your experiences to shape the younger generation of women because you have the right to show the world that you are just as capable as any other person.