In 2018 I had the privilege of being part of the WordCamp Harare Organising team, it was so much fun. Okay, maybe the planning process was a little bit stressful because we had a lot of firsts that particular WC but in the end, it was all worth it.
For the first time in Harare the lead organiser was female, my girl Tapiwanashe Manhombo WHOOP WHOOP (you should totally check out her website), talk about women empowerment!!!, secondly, we had our very first ever WordCamp Juniors Workshop and we also had our very own Contributor Day. It was an awesome experience.
For the Juniors workshop, we had kids between the age of 9 to 15 years. We had overall around 15 kids that attended. I was in charge of teaching the juniors how to start a WordPress blog, we ran into some problems on the day but l will get into that a little later.
“I always wanted to have a story to tell but nothing ever happened to me”
Jennifer Fox 13-year-old self.
When I work on a website at night I usually switch on the t.v and put it on music or some random movie channel, the sound helps me stay awake. Of course l have the mandatory coffee to keep my body awake but the sound from the t.v helps me a bunch.
Last night while l was working on my brother’s website techoldengineering.com, there was a movie showing on M.Net. l wasn’t paying much attention to it as usual but l caught a few glimpses of what was going on and at first l was not interested. l had one head-phone on because l was also listening to some music on my laptop. At first, the movie seemed to be about a doccie that a certain middle-aged woman was working on. As the movie progressed l noticed that the woman at times would get some sort of box out, that was full of old letters, she would pick one to read and then she would put it back after she was done reading it. The one thing that sought of grabbed my attention was that this woman had a love interest who had a few lines or so it seemed and this person was Common, in my head l started to wonder why someone as successful as Common was featuring in a movie where his character seemed to be an extra? l then started to notice that this woman, named Jennifer was some sort of a university lecturer, and there were scenes where she would flash-back to when she was young and an introvert, a period where she was an equestrian athlete(Horseback riding etc)
I am sure at this point those that have watched this movie know which movie l am going on about. Let me just say this movie made me puke and left me crying not like loud sobs but sad emotions flowing down my cheeks. I am not crazy about rom-coms, sob stories etc. l dont usually get sad, Titanic didn’t even do a number on me (Leonardo DiCaprio froze to death, so what?!!) That’s how bad it is lol.
It’s not just that this movie is based on a true story, NO!!, l have watched a number of those. It is about the story-line, how it was well articulated, how it is very controversial and how raw all the emotions of characters are. I could feel every emotion, the pain, the confusion and even the anger l was right there with the characters. Jennifer Fox the woman whom this whole story is based on said that she had to put this on screen, to try and influence people to change the conversation.
This is more than a story about Pedophiles and a 13-year-old girl. To me, this is a story about a twisted messed up world we live in. It’s so sad that this child was subjected to this, at the time she thought it was love and even as an older woman she referred to this as her first ”real relationship”. I won’t say that her not telling her mother about it means she liked it NO, she was utterly confused and a wee bit lost.
I want you to take a moment to look back at your teenage years, your school friends and family. How did you treat that girl/boy that was a late bloomer? The one who didn’t look anything close to those girls on MTV, the weirdos and freaks as they are so-called. How did people relate to them?
I don’t know if many people noticed this but the moment Jennifer realized that it had to stop was when she got her first period. I will honestly commend her on being brave and bold enough to finally say no to this man and woman, l don’t think a lot of people in her situation would have done what she did. Let me just tell you about what happens in the real world, why people that are in the same situation as Jennifer end up getting depression, committing suicide, abusing drugs/alcohol or just losing sight of what’s important. In most cases in our society when a child comes and says these things the first thing that comes to the adult’s mind is, Are you sure that’s what happened or you are just are confused? What did you do for him/her to say or do that? What were you wearing that made him/her do that?
I guess there should always be a reason why l am a victim, l must have done something wrong for something so terrible to happen to me. Why did l allow it to go on for so long? I must have liked it… these are some of the questions that end up destroying the victims more than the actual abuse itself. Most kids that disclose what has happened to them are often told to keep it to themselves because it’s too embarrassing or it will affect relationships in the family.
When Jennifer was older she went back to the adults that were around her during that time and she asked them why they didn’t say anything cause in her mind she was convinced that they must have known. How could they have not known? How could they have not noticed her throwing up every time she visualized the abuse. What saddens me the most is the fact that she did try to say something, at one point she based her homework on it – the teacher read the whole thing and just assumed that it was fiction, this is a story so tragic that the teachers mind couldn’t even imagine a universe where something so awful could be happening to a 13year old. Jennifer even believed that her parents knew about this but they didn’t, she was waiting for someone to say something for someone to save her from this but unfortunately, no one did.
As a parent how do you protect your child from such a thing, how do you keep them protected in a cocoon without affecting their social cue. The so-called stewards that were supposed to keep her safe and groom her for the future destroyed her. As a parent how do you trust someone to be around your kids when you can’t tell the motives of every person around your child.
Parents are we talking to our kids? How would you react if your child said they are depressed? Do you accept that and try to get help for your child or do you immediately think that they’re just seeking attention. I know Jennifer doesn’t blame the mother but l personally think that when a mother sort of suspects that something is off she should act on it. Her mother should have sat her down and communicated her concerns, Jennifer mentions that as an older woman she wonders why no one had done or said something.
There is the continuous use of the phrase, “…it was the 70’s, things where very different then…” in the movie so l guess we are stuck in the 70s because people are still ashamed of talking about these things. I want to change the conversation…
Let us change the way things are done, let’s change the way we think!!!