“I was shocked when the results came back positive”
A report from a study vividly describes politically motivated sexual violence against women in Zimbabwe. The violence against the women takes many forms including
- extreme violence,
- gang rape and
- insertion of objects (bottles and sticks) into the vagina.
The aim of the study was to provide a valid and reliable description of cases of politically motivated rape and other violence against women in the African country. It is the first vivid description to come out of Zimbabwe detailing instances of politically motivated rape
Over three-quarters of the women studied were victims of multiple rape, with an average of three rapists per incident. One woman reported a total of 13 perpetrators, and 14 women reported 3 or more perpetrators to their rape. One woman reported 3 separate rape incidences in June 2008 by a total of 13 perpetrators.
Women in the study exhibited high levels of sleeplessness, nightmares, flashbacks, and hopelessness. A third of the women reported these symptoms, which are commonly associated with experiences of trauma. For some, flashbacks are triggered by large gatherings, particularly where political slogans were being chanted while others had recurring nightmares during which they relived the rapes. Traumatic memories may continue for extended periods of time.
I have written a few articles about unfair stereotypes normally associate with Africa and things from Africa. To be fair to the outside world, African cultures play a major role in establishing some of these formulaic conceptions.
One thing that easily comes to mind, and which worries me, is the pigeonhole role normally offered to the woman in most African movies. It has been a while since I saw an Africa film but the few that I can recollect had the same theme in all of them. The woman was for the most part depicted as the witch, the bitch, the maid, the weak, the evil, the cheated, the abused and others you can think of. ‘Role model’ roles were few, if any.
Has this changed? If it has, then please, pardon me. If it has not, then it has to change and it has to change fast. Our young girls will be grateful to us if we do.
Media construct our culture, and the media we use to communicate with one another shapes our perception of reality. When young girls see women in movies or read about them in books, they regard these women as lucky individuals, role models, celebrities in today’s slang. In response, they try to be carbon copies of these flattered, lucky individuals. They therefore begin to model what they see. What we show them is possible is what they grow up expecting to accomplish.
African women are the most hardworking among women. They are strong, resilient, and they never quit. It is summed up in the old Nigerian song “Sweet Mother’
It about time we saw the African woman portrayed as an educated entrepreneur, skillful international diplomat and a war hero. After all, what comes to mind when we think of Yaa Asantewaa?
It is just fair that the women play the ‘other roles’ too. Isn’t it?
The European Heart Journal (January 11 edition) reports that taking regular breaks from the desk, even as short as a minute, is good for both your waistline and heart health.
In a study reported after studying 4, 757 people aged 20 and over, researchers found those who sat down for long periods without getting up had a larger waist circumference and lower levels of good HDL cholesterol.
Other findings from the study showed that prolonged periods of sitting were linked with heart problems, inflammation, higher levels of C-reactive protein (an important marker of inflammation) and triglycerides (blood fats).
For instance, in the study, subjects who took more breaks from sitting during the day — up to 1, 258 short breaks in one week — had smaller waists, up to two pants sizes smaller than those who took the fewest, as few as 99 breaks in one week
Practical tips for you
- Centralize things like rubbish bins and printers so you need to walk to them
- Occasionally stand during meetings
- Stand up to take phone calls
- Walk to see a colleague rather than phoning or e-mailing
- Taking the stairs instead of the lift. You would also save your employer on electricity bills
I stated: The main disadvantage of the female condom is that it is three times more expensive than the male condom and therefore beyond the means of women in most African communities where the average income is less than a dollar a day. (The cost of the female condom is between $2.50 -$5.00).
The cost of the FC2 Female Condom is around $0.60 for governments and donors and lower with increased volume. The $2 price is what FC1 costs on the shelf in a retail drug store in the US. The FC2 was developed to lower the cost of the female condom with intent to increase access to women in Africa. It has same design but different material and different manufacturing process which allows for the significantly lower cost.
I apologize for mixing these up in the article.
Updated (Jan 13, 2011, 10.00 AM) : Please See Correction
A study reported in the Journal of Experimental Medicine shows people who pull through swine flu may be left with an unusual natural ability to fight off other flu viruses. While wrestling with the H1N1 virus, the body makes other antibodies that later can fight many other flu strains.
It is hoped that by exploiting these findings, scientist can make a universal flu vaccine that would defend against any type of influenza.
If such a feat is attained, it would solve an age old problem that scientists and researchers face at the moment: year after year, researchers struggle to forecast coming flu strains and how to rapidly produce a new vaccine for the strains each flu season.
Last year H1N1 swine flu virus that reached pandemic levels infecting an estimated 60 million people.
This study provides the possibility of making a single vaccine that could potentially provide immunity to all influenza.
In the nine patients they studied who had caught swine flu during the pandemic, they found the infection had triggered the production of a wide range of antibodies that are only very rarely seen after seasonal flu infections or flu vaccination.
Five antibodies isolated by the team could fight all the seasonal H1N1 flu strains from the last decade, the devastating “Spanish flu” strain from 1918 which killed up to 50m people, plus a potentially deadly bird flu H5N1 strain.
The researchers believe the “extraordinarily” powerful antibodies were created as the body learned how to fight the new infection with swine flu using its old memory of how to fight off other flu viruses.
As the first female Finance Minister in Nigeria, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala attacked corruption to make the country more desirable for foreign investment and job creation. Now as a director of the World Bank and head of the Makeda Fund, she works for change in all of Africa