The aftermath of rape: The untold story 

Source: The aftermath of rape: The untold story 

Stories my vagina could tell

Oh this precious yet most hunted asset that I have!!!
When I was born they all ululated celebrating my vagina
My vagina, a potential asset which would bring them riches one day in the form of lobola…
My mother was lectured on how to care for my vagina,
‘Squeeze some breast milk and rub in with the elbow,’ she was instructed
This was done so I would not become a ‘prostitute’ they said…
My vagina would one day have to belong to one man and one man only.

As I grew older all society could see was not my brilliance nor my potential in life but my vagina.
At the age of four my cousins were already attempting to penetrate my vagina
At 8 years of age a priest violated my vagina
So painful it was, my vagina bled profusely
I could not tell anyone about it,
My vagina has kept unkind secrets.

At 12 I had to pull my labia so that I could ‘please my future husband’
A painful exercise it was, rubbing ashes into my vagina walls and elongating my labia, the most priced adornment to my vagina.
Then the long awaited menstruation started, my vagina bled
I was lectured on how to wash and take care of my vagina now that I was a ‘woman’
My vagina had to be treasured and kept away from men lest I became pregnant, they said.
My vagina became my most treasured and precious asset to be guarded jealously.

As the years went by many men became interested in penetrating my vagina
It was as if I walked displaying it on my forehead,
Oh my vagina became a source of my discomfort, stress and misery
At University a lecturer violated my vagina again and it tore me apart…
My vagina literally turned me into a sex object in the eyes of so many lustful men.

Then my vagina did have consensual sex , it was so traumatic, reminded me of the rape experiences
Hoped it would be pleasurable one day but my vagina coiled each time
Sexual indulgences by my vagina did eventually lead to pregnancy
My vagina was not spared, the insertions by the Gynaecologist during antenatal visits…

Delivery of the baby came, the baby had a ‘big head’ and the Gynaecologist had to cut open my vagina to make a way for the baby,
12 stitches were sown on my vagina after birth
Did the stitches heal?
More than a month of sitting in a dish with cold salty water for my vagina to heal and be intact,
Another baby came and my vagina went through the same ordeal.

My vagina is surely tired, my vagina deserves a retirement
My vagina has experienced all sorts of violations
Patriarchy has been control of my vagina all my life for it was never meant to belong to me but rightfully so to some ‘man’
Enough is enough I am reclaiming my vagina
Oh! Come(stay with me), my vagina, I embrace you with so much love, kindness and tenderness.

Children by choice not by chance

I did not want anything to do with this man. I had considered him a friend and yet he had just violated me so horribly. I had been raped before and that was a dark time in my life and I did not want to go down that route again. I was devastated when I found out that I was pregnant. This was a baby I could never love, did not want and had not planned for. I could not be like those young women who were trying to find hope out of being teenage mothers. The abortion procedure was backdoor. I was not even a statistic in that office. I was nameless. No one cared about me, just about the money he had paid them to help me get rid of this thing he had planted inside me. It hurt.”

A young, university woman finds herself pregnant after a lecturer forces himself on her on the same day that she discovers that the woman he claimed was his maid was in fact, his lover. She spent a weekend at an institution that offered young, pregnant mothers-to-be shelter where the harsh reality of what lay ahead for her was thrust forcefully before her. She was left reeling at the trauma that accompanied bringing up an unplanned and unwanted baby into this world. She knew immediately that being a young, university drop-out mother was not a path she would willingly take. She knew that she could not disappoint her mother who was a single-parent and had worked extra hard to see her into university where she was studying law. She also knew that her choice was between being a hopeless, young mother or, walking down an illegal path she knew she could never talk about openly or dare to think about.

She only got the money for the abortion after threatening to report him to the authorities. It was impossible to go back once the appointment had been booked. There was no one to counsel her or even to discuss her fears and concerns. She was alone. There was no one to hold her hand when the pain was ripping through her body in her hostel room back at university. She was on her own for those seven days she was bleeding and bloody. There was no medical attention, nothing. A week after the bleeding had stopped; she began to smell an unpleasant odor that came with a brownish-black discharge from her privates. Finally, a desperate cry to a peer educator managed to bring her the required medical attention that she needed.

This is but one story of the many stories of how a dream was going to fall off into the valley because of an unwanted pregnancy. Having a child should be a choice because the implications of having a child by chance can be so crippling and have negative consequences. Many girls and women have unsafe abortions in Zimbabwe.

According to Tamale, a leading sexuality expert, ‘ it is through the intersection of religion, the law and reinterpreted customs, [that] the complexity of African sexualities (particularly women’s) is instrumentalised, controlled and regulated by the patriarchal state.’ It is sad that the most politically surveyed and heavily regulated aspect of people’s lives is their sexuality. Laws and policies are being used to control and punish certain expressions of women’s reproduction, in this instance, that of women choosing not to carry their pregnancies to full term for one or more reasons.

According to section 60 of the Criminal Law and Codification Act, abortion is a crime which warrants “imprisonment of up to five years.” The Roman Catholic Church has lobbied the world over, trying to prohibit contraceptives, in-vitro fertilisation and abortion. This then leaves women powerless and unable to exercise their autonomy as beings. Religion, culture and the law come together to bolster patriarchy by ensuring that they control women’s bodies. Abortion therefore raises moral and legal questions. The legal question is should the practice be criminalized? And the moral question is: is it wrong to have an abortion? Who should decide whether or not to have a child? If criminalising abortion results in more harm than good to women and girls, then that regulation cannot be regarded as being reasonable and fair. Morality is firmly entrenched between the legs of a woman but whosemorality?

The sad reality is that as a society, we can continue to bury our heads in the sand, pretending that abortion is not happening when the truth is many women and girls are having to resort to unsafe procedures to terminate unwanted pregnancies. This results in high maternal mortality and morbidity rates as women choose to use risky methods which include inserting sharp objects into their uterus or drinking poisonous concoctions. Surprisingly, even in cases where abortion is permitted by the law (in cases of rape or when the life of the mother and the unborn child is threatened), the moral judgements of the authorities who perform the procedure or give the go ahead get in the way. Many women have failed to have a legal abortion because the magistrate just took their time to sign the order others who have had the order granted, have been discouraged by the attending doctor.

How does forcing someone to carry a child they do not want make the world a better place? Women’s freedom to make choices, right to dignity and autonomy is brutally restricted by laws on abortion. Women have the right to self-determination and they must be allowed to make informed reproductive choices. Denying them this experience is equating them to children who have to be guided as to what is right for them. Reducing incidences of unsafe abortion is an urgent public health concern which, if governments are serious about attaining zero mortality and morbidity, they should decriminalise abortion. Removing legal barriers to abortion does not only protect women’s health, but restores their dignity and upholds their basic human rights.

Secrets behind Tary’s turnaround, 10 series


Losing weight is a mental, psychological and emotional battle as much as it is a physical one. It is therefore imperative to feed one’s mind, soul, emotions and spirit with so much positivity in order to achieve resounding success. I always say this to people that make enquiries of how I have managed to lose 37kgs so far, that Losing weight ISN’T EASY but it CAN BE DONE. Despite my son calling me ‘duff dhunda’, ‘fatty boom boom’, probably he had heard it from others.

Regardless of the fact that I had collapsed whilst attending a meeting and I was advised that my sugar levels were high I had not taken weight loss seriously. I remember my Doctor actually saying to me that he would not give me any medication for high sugar levels but advised me to lose weight and I thought it really was not serious. At one point my dream was to own a clothing line called, ‘Big is Beautiful’, inspired by the fact that it was difficult to get nice, fashionable clothes for my size. Although I was comfortable in my size the huffing and puffing that happened when doing some physical work annoyed me. I knew I was not at all healthy but took comfort in the fact that I rocked an African body, ‘proudly african’, I would say.

One day in August 2013 whilst coming from work, I see my clothes hanging on the washing line next to my young sister’s clothes. I could barely believe my eyes, ‘Was it really me that fit into those clothes?’. The clothes looked so huge and honestly I could not stomach that I was the one fitting into those clothes. Funny thing happened, I asked my helper to give me one of the skirts which was hanging on the line and I struggled to fit into it and there and then I knew the time had come for me to do something about my weight. This was my wakeup call and turnaround point. It was the beginning of the journey I am still travelling, a journey that has been filled with so much joy, pain, tears, laughter, failures and success. It’s been a worthwhile journey in which I have reaped more than what I bargained for.

My success has gone beyond the physical. And I have decided to share my story as authentic as possible in the hope that someone out there can also be inspired and motivated to start their own journey. This ten tier series which will be coming out every week is a reflection of what has worked on my journey, the down falls and more importantly looking at the 10 GOLDEN RULES that I attribute my success to. I am hoping it will be as interactive as it can be so that we can keep learning from each other. I would want to also state that I am no GURU but this is my story as raw as it can be and it will always be my hope that someone finds it beneficial.

Today I talk about the first thing that I strongly believe is important to keep one going on the weight loss journey.

1.Know what you want and why you want it

It’s always important to ask the question, ‘Why do I want to lose weight?’. Knowing why you want to lose weight will keep you focused. The journey is not easy at all and so when you know why you are on the journey and are sure about what you want to achieve the journey somewhat becomes easier. So many people will discourage you, say hurtful and nasty things like I have been told several times, ‘This is enough, if you go beyond this people will think that you are sick,’ but that has not stopped me. Surprisingly when I see the same people and I have lost a bit more they will say, ‘You are looking amazing’. If I had not set my goals and know that I am losing weight to be healthy and ultimately to feel good about me I would have veered off the road a long time ago. Only you , understand the journey you are travelling and that will keep you focused on the ball.

Never want to lose weight for other people, do it for yourself so that it becomes easier for the journey is painful. When your goals are clearly set nothing will stall your progress, you will know that even when you have fallen, you will rise up , dust yourself and move forward. I tried several times to lose weight before embarking on this defining journey and I always failed. Looking back I realize I used to want to lose weight because someone else had talked about losing weight or because someone had said a nasty comment regarding my weight. When the going would get tough it was so easy for me to give up because I did not really know why I wanted to lose weight so the deprivations would not make sense and they were so painful.

I remember one time a guy friend of mine sad to me that his friends were asking him if my weight was not as a result of me taking Anti-Retroviral drugs. I pretended that I had not been affected by it but the next thing is I purchased a 300 dollar worth product to help me with weight loss.

I took it for 7 days, lost 8 kgs but after the 7 day program I went back to my bad eating habits and the weight piled back. It was because I did not know what I wanted, I did not know why I was losing weight besides the fact that I had heard a nasty comment. Find that which drives you so that even when you seem pressed of time you will make time for you to exercise and prepare healthy food. Even in the midst of so much chaos you will remember to stick to your dietary and exercise schedule because you know what you want and why you want it.

Now more than ever I am conscious of why I want to lose weight and I am doing it for myself.

Self love

“You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Buddha In life we unconsciously reject ourselves and always put others first. For most of us it is the only natural thing to do because that is how we have been raised. This is even worse for women and girls who from a tender age everyone else in the family comes first, so if it is eating you get the last plate even if there are other boys who are younger than you. We are taught to always serve others which is not a bad thing but more often than not it culminates into self rejection. As we grow older self love diminishes from our lives when we have children and tend to prioritize them in every sense.

The next money that we get hold of as parents we think of how we are going to spend it for our children, our parents and our siblings. We are always the last person that we think of. Growing up in a society that has a tendency to compare us to the next person we always find ourselves bashing the self for failure to be like the next person or for all the wrongs that we conceive we have done in our lives. We grow up being asked to be like so and so and in the same vein we lose ourselves and we fail to realize just how beautiful we are just as we are. I am one person who has failed dismally to conform to a lot of societal expectations and I used to bash myself for it until I realized that I had to rejoice that I am an original me and not someone else’s photocopy and only then did I start appreciating, understanding and loving myself. Our experiences in the past good or bad are supposed to teach us something and not act as our drawbacks but many a times our lives dwell on most of our negative experiences and we fail to successfully progress in life.

Self rejection and sacrificing leads to self hate and thus it is important to love ourselves under whatever circumstances. Perhaps one would ask why talk about self love? Who does not want to feel loved, appreciated, and understood? It all starts with us because no one will love us if we don’t believe we are loveable. It is important to appreciate oneself and to be able to be loved you must love and respect yourself as much as you do to others. When we love ourselves we become more grounded and live more purposeful and meaningful lives as we embrace our weaknesses as well as our strengths and are more centered in our life purposes and values. When we love ourselves we will not let anyone hurt us or take advantage of us. It is also very important to remember that we are what we say we are and so it is imperative to ensure that we change the conversation in our inner world before we see any change in the outer world. I have hated myself and kept on blaming myself for things that happened to me even when I was young.

I have hated myself for the mistakes that I have made in my life. I have lambasted myself for not being like this or that person. I have accused God of favoritism by not giving me certain things and for having allowed me to go through certain traumatic experiences in my life. I had this deep rage within me but I realized that if I had to live a fulfilling life I had to forgive myself and all those who wronged me in my past. I realized that I needed to heal from my past and love myself so profoundly and most of all I had to be at peace with the universe. I have taken a number of steps in embracing self love that I believe can benefit one or two individuals. It hasn’t been easy because I lived more than 20 years hating myself for a number of things and being too hard and harsh on myself only to realize that the outside world is not any kind to me so only me could really love, appreciate and embrace me. Forgiveness The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy-Henry Ward Beecher.

If the sun does not choose who it shines on and shines on murderers, thieves and armed robbers that is profound love which we must embrace and exercise when forgiving.This comes in two parts: a) self forgiveness-there is no need for us to carry labels and mistakes from our yester year mistakes and make them define us. Whatever happened, happened and we surely have to rise above these experiences and learn a thing or two from them so that we progress towards becoming better people. One friend of mine always says never beat yourself up about the bad choices you have made in your life because when you made them at that particular point in time they made sense.

Anyway experiences are always the best teachers so view your mistakes as rich, authentic lessons learnt and move on. We always forgive others when they err and hurt us so why not extend the same kindness to ourselves. Go ahead and forgive yourself for all your flaws and acknowledge that you are a human being and erring is human. We need to choose to focus on our strengths and not our weaknesses because when we focus on our strengths our love for ourselves grows deeper.

These days when I feel I made a mistake I just sit myself down and say out loud, ‘I forgive you Tariro for such and such and please learn from it and never do it again.’ It has really helped me a great deal because then I love myself more and more. b) Forgiving others- We have all been hurt in our lives by other people intentionally or unintentionally and this hurt and pain usually sits in our bodies and results in us hating ourselves. Unfortunately we will always be hurt by one person or the other but honestly how we choose to respond to it is our responsibility either we keep hurting ourselves more and more by focusing on the pain or we choose to let go and move on. Forgive everyone who wrongs you in your life even those that are not sorry for their behavior and actions for your own good. That way you will love yourself more knowing you are too precious to allow other people to mess up with your feelings.

Letting go of the past-allowing yourself to heal Make peace with your past so that it won’t disturb your present Harboring negative feelings only hurts us more so it is important although hard to let go of past events. Painful events in the past usually weigh heavy on our souls and result in low self esteem and low self confidence or no confidence at all. This has been my greatest struggle in my life. I went through a number of traumatic experiences in my life that have remained a part of me for all these years. I have cried incessantly over the years due to my past experiences among them rape experiences, sexual assault, sexual harassment, physical and emotional abuse from relatives and colleagues and I tell you it has torn me apart.

I have physical scars all over my body and they are visible on my face too from childhood physical abuse, I always looked at the scars and told myself how ugly I was and hated the person that caused the scars. My world outlook was greatly influenced by these experiences and generally I believed that humanity was very cruel and I guarded my space jealously fearing that I would get hurt. Due to the numerous sexual abuse experiences I had, I really thought I had to make every effort to make sure I was not ‘attractive’; I compulsively ate myself and in the process became obese. Some days I would want to look pretty but on others I thought I would only be inviting trouble for myself. I have had to deal with Bipolar Disorder because I persistently lived in my head and dwelt on the past always focusing on the pain and the hurt and never on the good things. I then realized when I was obese that

I was doing myself so much harm and I had to let go of my past if I would be happy. This has been and is still the most painful part of my journey but I am winning the war. I had to struggle with low self esteem although it was not apparent because to those that know me I am ‘supposedly’ one of the strongest people there can be who oozes with so much confidence but I battle with myself fearlessly to portray myself as such. I felt worthless and useless but now I have had to appreciate that my past experiences have made me the activist I am today who will go all out to fight for women and children’s rights because I have walked in those shoes and this drives my passion. Healing from the past makes us accept ourselves, be at peace with the universe and mostly love ourselves more for shining after the fierce storms that we have gone through. It is important to tell ourselves that for every rain that we experience we should look for the rainbow and for every darkness that engulfs us we should look for stars.

Value yourself When you value yourself you know your self- worth and you will not allow other people to take advantage of you. You become very comfortable in your own skin and find no business in wanting to prove anything to anyone or conforming. Society always wants to place us in little neat boxes but it is okay if you find yourself not fitting any of those boxes. You are who you are and embrace yourself. Never compare yourself to anyone because when you fail to meet certain expectations you will hate yourself for it. I have been in relationships both professional and personal where because I didn’t value myself I allowed people to abuse me as they pleased tossing me around left, right and centre.

When you are confident of your self -worth it is easier to walk out on any toxic environments and situations because you love yourself so much you would not want to put yourself through hurt and pain. When you value yourself you inevitably fall in love with the self because you become mindful of what you feel, what you want and what you think and never do anything to please anyone else at your detriment. It is difficult at times to say NO to the people that we love and even to our superiors at work which in turn makes us depleted and at times injured physically, emotionally and spiritually. When you value yourself however it is easier for you to say NO when you cannot and to genuinely express yourself. Always exercise self affirmation Always believe in you and say kind words to yourself. If you don’t tell yourself how beautiful you are and wait for someone to do it, if they do not you become frustrated and judge yourself upon their inactions.

Praise yourself for the achievements you have made in life and give yourself compliments. Stand in front of that mirror if need be and tell yourself e.g, ‘Tariro you have such gorgeous eyes…’ Self affirmations make you appreciate and love yourself more. I have lost 25,8 kgs in my weight loss journey and when I am feeling like a failure I remind myself of that achievement I have made. It is those little simple things that seem like they do not matter but go a long way in boosting your self confidence and result in loving thyself more. Explore your spirituality Whatever it is that you believe in it is important to always believe in something because this is the foundation of self love. When you believe in something you have trust and belief in that and that can keep you strong when you feel like you are broken. For example when you believe in the power of the Universe or God you can easily look up to those in times of distress.

When exploring your spirituality it becomes easier to even learn new things about yourself that can help you appreciate and love yourself. Meditation is a key tool in exploring spirituality as this is an art of listening and it enables us to tune in and fine tune our mind and the spirit. Personal Development Never stop learning, enrich yourself, always keeping abreast with what is happening in the world so that you never cease to be relevant. A person should invest in books and ensure you read so as to enrich your mind progressively. Take care of yourself It is important to take of the self to reinforce self love. Taking care of the self means adopting healthy habits to take care of the body that makes you, you. Healthy habits include exercising, eating healthy food that nourishes your body and surrounding oneself with positive people. It’s also important to have enough sleep and healthy social interactions which nourish your mind and heart.

Amazingly Living with Bipolar

Today I decided to write about Bipolar a complex and chronic mental disorder that I have. During the first days when I was diagnosed it was very difficult for me to accept it because I would see myself at Parirenyatwa at Annex with all those people with different mental disorders shackled in chains, I would see myself walking up and down the streets naked and what did not make this easier is that one of my doctors would always want to refer me to Parirenyatwa to the Annex Department.

I really felt embarrassed at first but I have now embraced it and I am leaving an amazing life with bipolar disorder. Some could ask what is Bipolar disorder? It is a mental illness characterized by episodes of elevated mood and periods of depression. Individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder experience severe mood swings that impair their daily life and negatively affect their relationships. These mood swings include “highs” (mania), when individuals feel either on top of the world or on edge, and “lows” (depression), when they feel sad and hopeless. Suicide attempts are common in bipolar disorder, especially during depressive episodes.

What has prompted me to write today about my ‘embarrassing’ condition which I have embraced but is somewhat misinterpreted and is usually regarded as a mental illness-the kind that will see you running in the road naked and going all crazy? Two things did, firstly I have of late noticed how the mainstream media and social media has been awash with stories of people who have committed suicide and in my circles I know a couple of people that did commit suicide. A case that quickly comes to my mind is that of the lady who jumped from the 13th floor at Trafalgar court in Harare last week over suspicions of her having an altercation with her husband over issues of infidelity. I was terrified upon reading comments from people on social media when people were literally lambasting the woman, some alleging she was possessed by the evil spirit. I saw comments such as, ‘ she is stupid, silly, what has she solved by the act, she is possessed by evil spirits from her family and all sorts of distasteful comments.’

I realized that the judgments that were expressed on these posts could probably have been out of ignorance or rather some beliefs-not for me to judge but they made me very uncomfortable. I felt that society was a bit harsh because a lot could have resulted in the woman making the decision that she made, for all we know she could have been suffering from undiagnosed bipolar. Secondly I have decided that if I write about it someone might benefit from it and get help or someone out there can appreciate they are not alone and can be motivated to soldier on. Living with Bipolar disorder has made me see some good days and some real bad days in my life when I have lost it and attempted suicide and fortunately there were people that cared around me that helped me seek help.

I have been castigated a couple of times for having attempted suicide, asked what kinds of lessons am I teaching my children? Told that I am a failure and at one workplace that I was at I was told how embarrassing that was for the organization…..several hurtful things have been said about my several episodes of attempting suicide that I have gone through which is one of the things that people with Bipolar go through. Atleast now with the treatment I am much better. What quickly comes to my mind is how as Africans anything that we cannot explain is, ‘chivanhu’, there is some evil spirit troubling the person.

I have gone through episodes where people that were close to me also thought some people were casting evil spirits on me but hell no it was undiagnosed Bipolar disorder. Many people do go through a lot of depression and rarely do they seek for help which leaves them at risk of losing it and inhibiting suicidal tendencies. There is need to support our friends and relatives especially as they go through depression or stress which are triggers for Bipolar. I for one started depression treatment when I was 16 but it could not be effectively managed. At times I was calm but in other instances it totally got out of hand. I was later diagnosed with Bipolar in 2013 and it all made sense why I was struggling with severe depression and with my medication I am doing well.

One might ask what causes Bipolar disorder? There is no single cause for bipolar disorder. Indeed, like all psychological disorders, bipolar disorder is a complex condition with multiple contributing factors, including:• Genetic: Bipolar disorder tends to run in families, so researchers believe there is a genetic predisposition for the disorder. Scientists also are exploring the presence of abnormalities on specific genes. • Biological: Researchers believe that some neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, don’t function properly in individuals with bipolar disorder. • Environmental: Outside factors, such as stress or a major life event, may trigger a genetic predisposition or potential biological reaction. For instance, if bipolar disorder was entirely genetic, both identical twins would have the disorder.

But research reveals that one twin can have bipolar, while the other does not, implicating the environment as a potential contributing cause. With me what caused my depression in early childhood was the history of childhood sexual, physical and emotional abuse that I have written about previously compounded by the fact that I never did receive any counseling or psychotherapy. These traumas I believe have been the triggers in my life for Bipolar which probably was being treated as depression from the age of 16. It is however essential for friends and relatives to be observant when it comes to their loved ones so that they can read the signs and symptoms and seek for help at the earliest possible time. Although it is a chronic illness Bipolar can be managed and one can live a normal life with the necessary care and treatment and support from friends and relatives. Unfortunately it cannot be cured but it can surely be managed so that one can live a fulfilling life. Fortunately Michael Gelfand in Harare now offers a programme for Bipolar Disorder and survivors can check themselves in the institution when they have hit rock bottom and they get services which incorporate an individual’s support system.

It’s also important that when someone you know has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder you just read around the condition. To conquer and be able to live amazingly with Bipolar I have adopted healthy habits which include exercising. I actually embarked on a weight loss journey because I was obese from compulsively eating due to stress and depression. I literally exercise every day of my life and this helped a great deal as I feel amazing every step of the way in losing weight. I also make use of a lot of stress management techniques like breathing, yoga, when I feel like crying I cry like there is no tomorrow and when I need a hug I call in my friends and get a tight squeeze and this has totally helped me in balancing myself. I eat healthy and for me this has meant no sugar, no processed foods, no junk food, no soda drinks, no alcohol and no meat or any meat based products as I am now a vegan.

Ever since I adopted these healthy eating habits I have so much energy it’s amazing and I easily manage my depression levels. Embedded in my healthy habits is that I make sure I have enough hours of sleep for mental stability, 8 hours plus because sleep deprivation exacerbates bipolar disorder and seriously derails treatment. Above all I have made a conscious decision to avoid any potential triggers like toxic environments, negative energy and any stressful situations and I have surrounded myself with positive people.

I have also learnt with the help of my friend Tendai Wenyash Garwe that I can throw a pity party for myself when need be and I constantly remind myself that no one owes me a damn thing and this has made it easier to accept disappointments and generally it has assisted me in never having high expectations especially with regards to people. It is important for society to give support to people that are stressed or are suffering from depression so that cases of suicide might decrease. As Maya Angelou said lets be a rainbow in someone’s cloud and lend a shoulder to those in need of it and make this world a better place. Just a few indications someone has bipolar:

What Does Mania Look Like?• Feelings of euphoria and elation or irritability and anger • Impulsive, high-risk behavior, including grand shopping sprees, drug and alcohol abuse and sexual promiscuity • Aggressive behavior • Increased energy and rapid speech • Fleeting, often grandiose ideas • Decreased sleep (typically the individual doesn’t feel tired after as few as three hours of sleep) • Decreased appetite • Difficulty concentrating; disorganized thoughts • Inflated self-esteem • Delusions and hallucinations (in severe cases) What Does Depression Look Like?• Feelings of hopelessness and sadness • Inability to sleep or sleeping too much • Loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities; loss of energy (sometimes to the point of inability to get out of bed) • Changes in appetite and weight • Feelings of worthlessness and inappropriate guilt • Inability to concentrate or make a decision • Thoughts of death and suicide A Note about Suicide Because of the high suicide risk in those with bipolar disorder, it’s important to note the warning signs. In addition to those mentioned in the depression symptoms above, others include: • Withdrawing from loved ones and isolating oneself • Talking or writing about death or suicide • Putting personal affairs in order • Previous attempts


Norah is now 19 years old and has two toddlers with her, having had the first baby at 15. She confronted me seeking for assistance as she had no means to take care of her two toddlers sired by an Angolan guy who has been deported. Her youngest child is sick and she and her little child tested HIV positive. Norah recounts her ordeal, it all started when she was attending her form three at a local college in town when she started dating Randel as he was doing his form six at the same college. They were having lots of fun like any other teenagers dating as she retells it.

On her 15th birthday things got a bit out of hand when she visited Randel at his flat as they made love, one thing led to another and before she knew it they were having unprotected sex. Three months after indulging, Norah discovered that she was pregnant and she relates, ‘I could not believe it was true, that I was going to be a mother, I had never really thought about it and it was so difficult for me to stomach it…’ ‘My step mother then kicked me out of the house and she dumped me at Randel’s house who surprisingly did not deny responsibility.’ They stayed together and she conceived her second child when her first child was 1 year 6 months old. She narrated how they had fierce fights at times but could not leave the guy; she was now regretting that if only she had completed her education she could be earning a living thus being able to provide for her two toddlers.

Norah’s tale is not unique but this has become the order of the day, our children are indulging in sexual activities at an early age and for most girls it means they drop out of school due to unplanned pregnancies. In this era of HIV there are high chances that those children who engage at an early age are most at risk of infection especially in light of the fact that these days children are being born HIV positive and leaving like any other healthy child.

The Universal periodic review report submitted by the Civil Society states that an estimated 152,000 children in Zimbabwe under the age of 15 are HIV positive. These children like any other children will go through puberty and indulge with their peers thus spreading the virus unintentionally. In light of this scourge, should we as a nation continue to bury our heads in the sand and pay a blind eye to the fact that our children are perishing because of lack of knowledge. The Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council in 2007 observed that 49 percent to 52 percent of female adolescence are mothers by the time they are 19 years old. With these statistics it begs the question do we not care about ensuring an HIV free generation? Why can we not as a nation come up with realistic strategies to curb this thorn in our side that will leave our nation with illiterate youths who have dropped out of school due to unwanted pregnancies from their peers or who may most likely be infected with the virus.

As a mother I say let’s take the bull by its horns and face it that we cannot continue saying that sex is a taboo and therefore a subject which cannot be openly discussed with our children. If Norah had accessed contraceptives and had received adequate sex education, she might not have found herself in the same predicament. The reality that we have to come to terms with is that our children are so exposed these days and issues to do with their sexuality should be freely discussed so that just the mere act of having sex will not ruin their lives. The family set up is no longer closely knit as it was before which meant that aunts were always available to teach about sexuality. Every parent should teach their children about sex and tell them the reality that there is HIV and AIDS and that these days people do protect themselves when they are engaging in sexual activities.

I at one point followed heated debates on whether children should be given condoms, family planning tablets and sexuality information as some were pointing out to the fact that this will encourage the children to have sex, but let’s face it whether we discuss it or not our children are vulnerable and indulging. Modernization has surely destroyed our ethnocentricity, there is so much TV and worse still with the advent of Internet which has no ownership, how do we ensure our children are not exposed? The reality is that what they are watching on TV especially the famous soapies which are screened during family viewing time corrupt their minds. Back then when sex was a taboo there was not much TV, just folktales and even when the TV’s started there was so much censorship which does not exist now.

Schools do play a major role in molding our children as children spent most of their time at schools and from this standpoint I disagree with some point of views which have been put forward that schools should not play an active role in providing sex education. I believe there is need for both the schools and guardians to dedicate their time to ensure that our children are knowledgeable and have access to contraceptives. Is it really not better to be safe than sorry when the lives of our children are at stake than to pretend that they have nothing to do with sex and sexuality when we know pretty well that they are engaging in intercourse. Opinion article @ Tariro Tandi

The story of a girl, a woman out there

I opened my blog a while ago but have not been feeling inspired to write of late. There has been a lot of drama in my life lately… I must say. I am writing today not because I am seeking for sympathypitying. Oh no I just want to share my story with the world especially women and girls because one thing I know is that this will help others and oh yeah I feel at this point that is what I want to do. The story of the Nigerian girls who were abducted reminded me that indeed this is a cruel world especially for women and girls. It reminded of the story of my life that has made me commit my entire life to working for women and girls’ rights. I had not gathered courage to talk about my story but now I feel the time is right because I have started myself on a healing path and I believe without getting this out I will have taken shortcuts to the healing journey. I must say thank you to Tendai Garwe who gave me the courage to open up and lay bare as a way of healing.

My story began 26 years ago when whilst I was staying with my uncle and his wife and children I was physically assaulted at 3 by my ‘ambuya’-my uncle’s wife who I stayed with when my father passed on. Ok when I say physically assaulted people would say what the hack.. but I am talking about a hosepipe being used to whip a 3yr old. I have physical, visible scars all over my body from her beatings. I must say every day I wake up and look in the mirror i see how at a tender age i was so not loved and wanted. I have been asked a million times about what happened to me when people see the scars that even make up can’t hide…some have asked if it was an accident whilst others have assumed I was pretty naughty during my childhood and I just give any response that comes to mind without explaining a thing. How can I ever take myself through those horrific memories and explain to everyone?. As if that was not enough her children who at that point were all boys molested me and I always say I can’t blame them if the mother almost killed me what would have made her sons look at me as a human being.

Oh ok enough of all that battering but I always wish she was around but unfortunately she passed on…probably I would have gotten closure and dealt with it. After my horrific experience with‘ambuya’ I started staying with my mum who by then had completed her teacher’s training. Although life was tough as we were three children with only my mother to fend for us.. we were shown love. My mother had been disinherited by my late father’s relatives who owned a farm and was a business men. She walked away with nothing save for her clothes and those of her three children whilst my father’s relatives literally took over everything.

My mother would subsidies her salary by going to buy things from South Africa for resale during school holidays. This went on throughout my childhood. On one August holiday when I was eight years old and in grade three my mother went to South Africa and left me at home with my seven year old sister…we could now cook for ourselves so what was the big deal. We lived at a mission school so we were left in the custody of all the teachers, the nuns and the priests. Oh and one night one of the priests trainee we called them ‘Brothers’ came to our house. We were fast asleep, he knocked on our bedroom window, I asked who it was and he asked us to open the door, which I innocently did. When I opened the door he then pushed me onto a sofa, a 3 seater, removed my clothes and he raped me twice with my mouth forced shut. I could not scream. When he was done he threatened me that I should never tell anyone because no one would believe me and me and my family would die for blaspheming against a man of God. I was so terrified I never did tell, it was my secret for life, my body hurt for the next 3 days and I still remember this day vividly as if it happened today.

Enough of these sad stories but at times I am glad because they have made me the strong and resilient person I am today. I reflect on a lot more of the ordeals I went through as I was growing and I say what is women and girls’ place in our world. I will not explain all the other experiences I went through here but check out in a book I am writing to be published probably beginning of next year. I am blogging about this and I will repeat not for sympathy but I just thought I should share some of the real experiences of women that are minimized on a daily basis but which haunt the survivors for life.

Women and children have a great stake in this world and their rights should be respected and promoted. If this world will be a better world women and children especially girls should stop being regarded as second class citizens because we are only hurting the future generations. I commit that I will till I die work for the betterment of children and women’s rights because when I talk about their experiences and the different forms of abuse they face I am speaking from the heart and from a place that says, ‘I know and I appreciate what it means because at one point in my life I did walk in those shoes’, so they will call me a man hater but I am simply proudly a FEMINIST and an ACTIVIST.

To all the children and women who have experienced any form of abuse there is life after such horrendous experiences and we just have to be strong. I hope my short story can help many others to realize that it is not the end of the world and for many to commit to support survivors of abuse.



Having grown up with so much hate and pain, love has not been an easy adventure for me. Today I will talk about it and worse still write about it not from a place of expertise but from that place that says I will say what I have come to learn over the years.

One thing I have learnt over the years is LOVE is priceless……… I have come to love not by finding a perfect person but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly. LOVE can begin anywhere anyhow and mostly unexpectedly with the least expected person. Yeah that is what love does. There is no planning to love someone….., you just find yourself so madly and deeply in love with someone yeah just like that. It might be the way they talk to you that lights the light inside of you, it might be the way they make your world go round and spin or just the way they make you feel that you are just a perfect and ok person when you perceive so much imperfections in yourself because that is what pain and hurt has taught you.

The world has confused money and love but I have come to learn that money impresses lazy girls. When a woman is hardworking, a man with money is a bonus not a ladder to success. I have learnt to love whole heartedly without reservations and that has brought inner peace within me. My love is dependent on my state of being so whether the other person changes or not it really is immaterial because my love is never dependent on anyone else.

I simply love with my all for as long as it impresses me!!

Old wine in new skin

Am not new, neither am I a virgin in the logging spheres. I have done this before, just in another platform. Raising consciousness, provoking thought and questioning norms.

It’s me, once on Crossingtheline with no holds. Speaking out, calling it like it is. I don’t write from there, but from the inner most parts of my being, myself, my reality, my world.

Welcome to this new platform that will carry my thoughts going forward. I have lifted my previous posts from that other platform so that we travel together in this journey.

Now it is Tarytells!

I see it, I tell,

I hear it, I tell,

I feel it, I tell,

I experience it, I tell

I sense it, imagine it, provoked by it, question it, love it, WHATEVER IT IS, I WILL TELL!