i've been suffering from a cold this week, and since i didn't take any time off work, was is no shape to be writing in the evenings. don't worry, i work in my own office so wasn't busy spreading germs. i drugged up with coldrex & strepsil, and tried to get through the day. it's just that i'm off work this week doing the human rights training (yay!) so wanted to make sure i'd tidied all the urgent stuff up before i left.
i saw "the king's speech" thursday night, and it was incredibly good. you know how sometimes you worry that a film won't live up to his hype, but this one totally did. incredible performances and very well done. ok, so not quite up there with the historical accuracy, but then i suppose it wouldn't have made such a good story.
yesterday i was a meeting all day, in a room of 24 men & 2 women (1 of whom was me). i was there in a representative & advocacy role, and it went reasonably well. nothing concrete to show for my efforts, but i'm certainly hopeful that there will be some positive results soon.
i also got contacted by the sunday star times, and ended up at the tail end of this story. they've quoted me accurately, but i do have some issues with the way shakti have dealt with this story. this is the comment i put up on facebook in response to someone else:
... and think the way shakti are approaching these issues aren't particularly helpful for the women who seek their help. it's one thing to want to empower women, and good on them for raising issues. but when they attack whole communities, i find that really problematic. they continually assert that everyone in the community knows this is happening, but i've talked to plenty of people, and have yet to find one is aware of a single case.
today, at a shama* board meeting, i asked our social worker/manager if she was aware of a single case of underage marriage that had come to the attention of the centre. shama is on the POL400 group & is advised of every case of domestic violence or abuse of ethnic women that is reported to the police in hamilton. we also get referrals from other social service agencies. and we've had not one single case.
a friend of mine also researched the teen pregnancy figures last year. if all these underage marriages are happening, then you would expect some teen pregnancies as well, but the data she found didn't support this. there were very few (if any - i can't recall clearly, but my best recollection is that there were none) MELAA's in the teen pregnancy figures. it's possible that 50 a year are getting married and not a single one of them get pregnant for the next 4-5 years, but that seems rather strange.
in any case, i agree with ruth that this is very sad, and that even 1 case is too many. i told the sunday star times quite clearly that if any cases came to our attention, we would immediately contact the authorities. the practice is condemned by every one that i know of in our community, and just once, it would be nice if shakti acknowledged that, instead of trying to act like we're all covering it up.
i really don't know what else to do with this.
on the subject of courage, i've written about one type of courage over at the hand mirror. there's another type of courage happening over at the facebook group set up to protest agains a stupid competition by an even more stupid radio station. plenty of people have been turning up on the site to troll and/or abuse. but the mods have been coping admirably.
finally, there is the spectacular courage of the egyptian people, which has finally seen the fall of mubarak. i was so happy to hear the news yesterday, the person who told me said "we're celebrating the removal of satan". of course, i'm realistic enough to know that troubled times are still ahead, but even so, it seems to be a great victory and an involved incredible courage by people who knew they were potentially facing death or torture.
some links: here's one commemorating those who died recently. and here's a photo-essay type thing. (thanx to sahar for linking me up to those)