We See You Run By Sibongile Magudulela
These are the faces of two girls who went to school and watched cartoons like millions of other little girls around the world. These are the faces of two girls that sang and danced. These are the faces of two girls who loved to play hide and seek and all the other games that they created. These are the faces of girls who drew and painted countless drawings. These are the faces of girls who went on many adventures in their gardens.
Here’s what the image does not show. The games they played their games in their gardens because they couldn’t have their adventures outside their house’s gates. Beneath these smiles faced a completely different reality where the singing and dancing stopped as soon as they walked across the threshold of their garden.
These two girls were taught to escape men in all sorts of ways.
‘If you see him following you run across the street and walk in the opposite direction.’
‘If you think he’s following you run to the nearest person who doesn’t seem like a threat and ask for help.’
‘Never go to the bathroom alone in a public place.’
And as these girls grew up, they had to learn new rules ‘Never go to the shops alone, even during the daytime.’ ‘Use a taxi at night it’s safer than walking’ turned into, ‘Get a friend to take you home you can’t trust taxi drivers anymore.’
These are the faces of two girls who carried stones whenever they went on walks. Their hope was that it would protect them from the whistling men if ever they stepped closer than the two girls feared. They’ve grown older now, the girl on the right is 16 now and the one on the left 19. Her name is Sibongile Magudulela, a student at Scarborough College, that girl is me.
I have been followed by men, once while going on an afternoon jog. What do you do when you’re already running? Once I was followed by a man while he was in his car, up and down my street. But where do you run if his car is in between you and your home? Thankfully, I was unharmed.
Today I still carry that fear and that fear has followed me to England. My heart still beats faster every time I hear footsteps behind me, I still go over those rules over and over again for every new set of footsteps. I’m still afraid and millions of other girls still live in that same fear.
That face was, and still is, able to tell her story but what about all those girls who never got to tell theirs? What about the girls who don’t make it out unscathed, unharmed… alive?
I am asking you to take action with me as I stand against the injustice done to other South African women as well as girls all around the world.
Trulife is an NPO working to improve the lives of South Africans through education and creative content. Trulife works alongside schools, universities and other organizations as well as the public to create videos and materials that address social health issues. This year they are tackling Gender Based Violence, violence directed at a person simply because of their gender.
Research has shown that there is a cultural problem underlying GBV, where there is a lack of understanding between men and women and a disregard for women that is being passed from one generation to the next. Trulife brings true transformational change that frees men of the toxic limitations put on their behaviour and empower women to speak up for their equality and safety.
All the funds raised will be used by Trulife to carry out their workshops on GBV education with students and teachers, allowing students to be fully engaged with the topic and get a deeper understanding that they do not get from their Life Orientation lessons.
This year Trulife started a project they’re calling WE SEE YOU where the challenge is to run 100km in 10 days in order to bring attention towards the issues faced by millions of women and girls around the world regarding GBV. In order to show our support on the 22nd of March the students of Scarborough College will gather together to run.
So how can you help?
– You can donate using this link: https://gofund.me/b4e6b3d5
– Sponsor a runner.
– You can run and join the WE SEE YOU club on STRAVA and record your runs to show support.
– Share this blog post with anyone you think would be interested in donating.
We can make a difference.