"I am a combination of my mom and dad." Hadra Ahimed- A journalist Featured

Written by  Published in Human Rights Monday, 11 September 2017 13:24

Hadra Ahmed is an Ethiopian producer and freelance journalist contributing to various international media outlets. She is a human rights activist, focusing especially on issues affecting women’s rights.


In all the years of my professional life I have come across loads of physical and emotional harassment almost every day which are really repugnant and will not be enough to discuss here. I have also never discussed this on social media. I have heard many women express disgust when they explain how their interviews went and the pre-requisites to get a certain job they are after or how their bosses act towards them. As a person whose entire being aches with injustice and who went through those horrors; not knowing what to do have bled my heart. I know it is no longer ‘Puageme Activism’ day but I felt it is never too late to raise issues that matter. I also know that today is a holiday did not want to post this and I wish I could write you a bright story but I just could not hold back any longer than this.
So here goes!
My day turned upside down when I faced a horror that I am still struggling to get over yesterday. It almost ruined so many things but also made me decide to make sure I will do more and continue to do what I have been doing all my life to support victims of any sort. I pray that we no longer go through it for the years to come. I am also making the story as precise and less explicit as possible.
I went to meet someone to discuss about sponsorship for a project I am working on. The discussion about my project only took a few minutes. It then turned in to how I changed physically and how he liked my lips, tits and arse. I was taken aback and tried to keep the conversation professional. He then came and sat next to me even though there were plenty of chairs in the room. He kept on changing the subject to how he missed me and wants to ‘get it on’. I declined politely and expound clearly that I was not there for that purpose but to discuss about one of my most important projects. He told me not to worry and that ‘he’s got me covered’. Then I said if that is the case then our meeting is over and that I must take my leave. He looked at me surgically as if that was an unbelievable move and that I was just leaving after getting what I wanted and him getting none.
The next thing happened so fast that I was pushed on the wall, hurt my head, panting for a breath, his one hand tightly holding my hands and his other on my neck. As I was trying to get myself out of his grip and air, he let go of the hand that squeezed my neck and he was trying to untie my dress. I fought with my might while at the same time yelling at him to stop. Yet he wouldn’t. He kept on saying, “no I won’t stop. I must have you”.
 With all that I have got I then said “but I said no. You should respect that”. I pushed him then there was a distance between us. I hurriedly tied my dress while at the same time fighting him not to come near me. Shouting ‘NO!’. I couldn’t run and leave the office because apparently when he left to get me water he locked the main door and we were at his office, which has another door given him being the manager. There was no one to hear my shouting because it was Sunday and New Year’s eve. He came after me and dragged me again. I kept on saying no and he kept on grunting and exclaiming “I MUST HAVE YOU”.
It all happened so fast in a very limited amount of time. I gave him the option of backing down and respect my decision. But he wouldn’t. He took me back to dark places that I was trying so hard to forget. I then told myself, well, IT’S TIME. That is when I decided to give him what he deserved. I kicked his balls and punched his face and while he was on the floor holding his cock and crying in a gruesome pain, I stepped over his body picked my back-pack and left.
I still shiver but I got out of it unscathed- hoping that someday we get a job done without being asked for sex as a qualification and criterion.
This is what I trained for. I was not going to let this happen again.
Growing up with my brothers I was seen as someone who needed protecting. They were always hovering over/around me for every little thing that happened around me. I was grateful for that. My mom was relieved when we left the house for school every morning and came back home all together. I was never cat-called on the streets or harassed in class while my brothers were around. Though I was happy for the shield I was getting but there were also times that I never felt protected because I used to worry about what might happen when they are not around. Also if they are not, my mom used to be anxious. My mom knew the risks of sending me out on the streets alone because that is how she grew up.
She knew growing up the kind of harassment she went through still exists. She faced many challenges which led to her dropping out of school because she was bullied and in a time where educating women was a taboo her mother (my grandmother) had to fight with her neighbours and the community to send my mom to school- at least for a few years. But it was more than they could bear. My mom once told me when I asked her why I had to start school with my brother, she said, “because I did not want you to face whatever I faced and I want you to continue with your education”. 
I was surprised and asked her why she felt it would change or stop because I was with my brother, she said, “Because if I had a brother it would not have happened to me”. This is not the case just for me or few of us but happens to almost everyone whose parents grow up in rural areas of the country just like my mom.
After learning with my brother’s protection until 10th grade my brother had to drop out of school because of health reasons. Then I was left alone. My mom knew that I was old enough and matured to go ahead with my education but was not sure if I could be safe. Then I moved to my relative’s house to continue with my education.
Little did she know that I needed protection from what was in the house as much as I needed protection from what wasn’t.
That is when I decided that I should protect myself from the monsters that ruined my life and my mom’s. I joined a Shaolin Wushu class and started training. Yes this is what I decided to do because almost everyone I faced and came across were not ready to have a matured conversation and understand each other but go ‘physically tough on me’ or ‘show me who the man is’. I was tired of the ‘she is a woman and needs the protection of her brothers’ bellow. 
I trained day and night every day of the week for over 10 years. I stood up for those who were not physically strong to protect themselves. I trained girls who could not afford to go train. One of my students once told me that after she started training the boys in her class started respecting her because they were scared that she might beat them if they bully her. Another one said they told her that ‘you have physically changed and look more like a boy’ and for that they wanted to be friends with her.
I am still proud to see those girls are able to protect themselves and now learning without being worried about what the boys or the bullies in their schools might do to them. They now focus on their education and catch up with their reading- arming their brains and their physique. I hope someday they will help other girls and be examples.
Even though the first principle of Wushu is to be patient and not to respond with force and it tells you to keep on finding other ways before reacting but keeping it together with most bullies is difficult. And that is why I decided to gear up my ideas ready to have conversations with people but also physically ready for whoever wants to go further as well.
But I can only hope we will not get there because there is also a huge problem there- it is different when a woman beats a man and a man beats a woman. I have been taken by officers to explain why ‘I beat a man’. I have been asked ‘how dare you beat and make a man bleed’. Even though my counter question of ‘would you have said the same if it was the man who beat me’ never answered but I decided to defend myself. I am always ready to train whoever is ready. I am against bullies in every form. No more! Not again! This is what I trained for!
That is why I say I am a combination of my mom and dad. I have the qualities of my mother as well as my father. 
Last modified on Monday, 11 September 2017 13:47

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