This post is written by FitClique Africa’s Kwiyo Patience.
In Lindsey Kukunda’s new blog Not Your Body, Ugandan women submit stories detailing their experiences with street harassment. Each story is infuriating and chilling in the way it conveys complete and utter disregard for women’s autonomy over their own bodies and how widely accepted this kind of violence against women is. If you are a woman living in Kampala, then these stories are instantly familiar because they are an inescapable part of our everyday reality.
It is because of stories such as these, similar personal experiences and outrage at this society sanctioned gendered street terror that FitcliqueAfrica first got inspired to participate in this year’s 16 Days of Activism. 16 Days of Activism is an annual global campaign against gender-based violence that runs from 25th November to 10th December.
The original idea for 16 Days was to place emphasis on street harassment but it eventually evolved to include a broader definition of violence. For women, the streets don’t have a monopoly on the psychological, emotional and even physical violence constantly directed our way. It comes in many forms, both subtle and obvious, from strangers but also from romantic partners, friends, work colleagues, family, other women and ourselves.
The FitcliqueAfrica 16 Days campaign comprises of 5 Free Self Defense workshops and pertinent discussions on social media. It will explore the many different kinds of violence against women, the factors that cause/influence them, as well as equip women with the tools and skills to identify and deal with them.
The Self Defense Classes, every weekend from 21st November to 6th December, will be free. They will be specifically designed to cater to the needs of a diverse group of women- from university women (21st November), to a general group of women (28th November), queer women and sex workers (29th November) and adolescent girls (5th November).
Each session of the self defense workshop will include yoga, emotional self defense and a sister circle to share experience and discuss gender violence related issues unique to the different groups of women. The physical self-defense will be guided by the excellent FitcliqueAfrica in-house trainer, O.T.
We believe that that this workshop is important and incredibly necessary. We encourage all women to sign up for Saturday’s class which will take place at the National Theatre (2.00pm-5.00pm). To register, confirm attendance on the Free Self Defense Training Events Page and text your name and number to 0701406773.
Also, follow and join campaign on social media @fitcliqueafrica on twitter and Instagram and FitcliqueAfrica on facebook. We will be highlighting the work of 16 Ugandan feminists, and share stories/experiences and hold discussions on 16 topics including body, identity, sexuality, abortion, inclusivity, street harassment and more.
Let’s collectively expose the different kinds of violence against women.