One of the most arduous struggle one can go through, is the struggle to safeguard one’s human dignity, as well as the right to safeguard the integrity of one’s own body. These go hand in hand. This struggle is more intense than the struggle for food, shelter, clothing, political rights, religious rights, civil rights, gay rights, women’s rights, etc.
This is not a matter of comparing or ranking the various struggles people are engaged in. In many cases they may intertwine. However, regardless of one’s gender, colour, ethnicity, religious or political affiliations, social status, sexual orientation, etc., when one has to engage in a war for their personal dignity and bodily integrity, you are not just battling against flesh and blood, “but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”.
No clearer is this seen than the treatment of African women and girls… by standards set for the benefit African men! Not all African women, girls and by all African men, but specifically in the exploitation of forced marriages, the denial of education, the brutal use of rape as a weapon of war and the barbarity of female genital mutilation. I saw this documentary on Al Jazeera, “Abandon the Knife” on female circumcision in a rural communitiy of Kenya. My emotions went from astonishment, anger, sadness and empathy and others I can’t define. I commend the young women on their courageous stand to fight for their dignity, to protect their integrity, to take control of their future and to dream the impossible dream.
“Human dignity is more precious than prestige”.
Claude McKay, 1889-1948