She had struggled with herself, her sexuality and simply being an independent person in a setting where women were still second-class citizens. To be used, regularly abused and tossed aside when a man in her life needed to be taking responsibilities.

She was a mother. A daughter born from a relationship where birth control, the use of a condom, would have meant it was a learning experience rather than a life changing time. She was left with the responsibility of a child. A large and serious responsibility when hardly more than an adolescent herself.

The father long since gone. Flushed himself away to go fuck up other girls’, young women’s, lives as he continued to spread his seed for the fun of it, not bothering with the responsibilities of his actions. Come once, but not come again when he may be expected to become a father in all ways well beyond the biological action of impregnating women.

The Grandmother took charge of raising the girl as this young lady sought to become an independent woman and achieve the potential she clearly had. Alas, her pride got in her way. The economy was poor, few jobs even for the most gifted in a land of graft. She had another man, her boss in one of her jobs, who pressed her for sexual favours. Who thought the machismo thing was to have sex without a condom. Whether he, or the first asshole, was the cause of this lady contracting HIV/AIDS will not be known. The consequences were apparent.

The first daughter is healthy, she has a daughter of her own and a life with purpose far removed from many of the issues her mother suffered. Did she learn from the woes and early demise of her mother? This is for her to answer.

The young lady gave birth to a second child, another daughter. This one would not live beyond her first 6 months. Struck down by poverty of health services as her mother succumbed to the AIDS virus. And she followed suit. Ignorance. Circumstances dictated an inability to be able to stand up to men who think with their balls and do not care for the consequences never taking responsibility for the wellbeing of their offspring. What role is this in terms of fatherhood? None, this is the act of a man seeking relief, doubtful much pleasure, and the short term gratification without any thought of longer term consequences.

Now she was dead. The news came to her friend while sitting in a small town in southern Somalia. The Belgium Air Force agreed to lift him out of the town as they re-routed a delivery of humanitarian supplies. The clouds were low and grey as the Hercules dropped out of the sky, only the darker grey of the exhausted aviation fuel showed the light grey aircraft against the hues of rainy season cloud.

The aircraft was unloaded in the rain, warm but saturating rain, sapping the spirit but not enough to stop from catching a thief trying to abscond with nutritional supplies. Banged against the aircraft, lifted bodily from his feet, it was made clear, try to steal and you will be messed up good and proper. Justice swift and without any compunction for restraint, men acting selfishly were not going to be tolerated anytime soon. The mood was far from forgiving; this would-be thief felt the anger toward men who cared little or nothing for women, children, other people in general.

The man turned, Belgium television were busy making a documentary on the role of the Belgium armed forces in supporting humanitarian action. This may not be the most convivial piece of filming but it exemplified the stressors and pressures all people felt in these situations. Death stalked the scene here despite the life bringing rain and humanitarian supplies. Just as death stalked the consequences of ignorant or uncaring men having sex with women and fucking up women’s lives as they walked, or, more likely, ran, away.

Wet through, the man climbed on board the Hercules and felt the power as the engines were revved up to force the aircraft to escape the enveloping mud, already the aircraft was 15 centimetres deep in the mud. They took off, all the power was used to escape the situation on the ground, low low low across the town with its massive issues as people continued to keep body and soul together. In this town, the women and children would not die from HIV/AIDs. No, here women and children died of wilful neglect as; again, women could not assert their rights and men dominated using them as childbearing machines. The shock of hearing of a lady who had given birth to eleven and had six or more miscarriages is tempered only by the realisation this is not an uncommon situation in this appalling setting. And still is with girls, they cannot be accepted as women as young as fourteen surely, giving birth without ever having the opportunity to learn to write the child’s name or develop the skills to read them stories. Learning to read and write, to gain collective power from mutual support, is the best way to stick it to the men, Stick it to The Man. Men who think it is ok to take advantage of women, use, abuse and chuck them aside far sooner than they leave a cow or camel to suffer without water. Yes, many instances of men preferring to save the milk giving prowess of a cow or camel over the need to look after the Mother of their Children.

The mourning for the young lady did not raise the cause of her death, her killing by ignorance and lack of responsibility. The abuse of women continues. As much of Africa begins to realise there will be no population dividend, the issues of this young lady’s inability to live a full and accomplished life resonate. She is interred in her family plot; with her father who doted on her. A person who took no quarter when he found men who treated women like his daughter had been treated. As a judge he handed out life sentences to rapist, sought to have paternity suits placed on men who fathered children and thought it was ok to run away from responsibility.

It will take more, far more. The actions of the few need to be replicated. Men cannot claim to be victims whilst there children dying from wilful neglect and senseless posturing. No woman, no child, should die because of the ignorance of men and the inability of organisations to do something about the clear and obvious trends in population growth still destroying the Rights of the majority.

She was dead. Never let the quest for Rights die with her.

Girl raped in restroom of South African restaurant

Africa’s population myths dispelled

Time in Fragile States: countries & inside my own head— exploring one’s self and community at the edges of reason opens possibilities in mind, body & spirit