LOUD WHISPERS: We Are Still Here

(In commemoration of International Women’s Month 2021)

Please don’t look for us, we are not lost

We have not been stolen away

We are still here

Even when they came for so many of us

And shoved us into the deep belly of the devil

There are still enough of us left

We are still here

Our mothers and fathers wail and gnash their teeth

Hoping, praying, fasting, beseeching for our return

We are still here

We are here in the eyes of the little girl

whose innocence was bloodied by the hands of her favourite uncle

We are here in the pain of the once vibrant Jenny

who has become a shadow of herself because some boys wanted to ‘teach her a lesson’

We exist in the fear of the widow who has been left with four mouths to feed

with no money, a temporary roof and vultures circling her home

We can be found in the sheer agony of poor Simon

Clinging to his wife Stella as she dies trying to bring their child into the world

Simon has no wife or child to comfort him

One day every year, we are remembered

One month, every year, we are reminded

There are a lot of speeches, rallies and marches

We sing, dance and clap

And our big men and women come out to tell us a lot of nice things

Then we all go away till the next year comes

We are still here

Waiting for the day when the pain will stop

When we will not have to see the desperate hunger in the eyes of our children

We never want to see the day when the thought will cross our minds

to sell one to feed five

Or the day when we will finally have to trade with the only thing we have

so that our children can go to school

We die a thousand deaths

As we see our children, men and women tied down like goats for sale in foreign lands

We are waiting for the time when we will have enough value to be considered as human beings

As people who do not get stolen away from their homes or schools

Or bartered, battered and disposed of

Cars, bicycles, phones or chickens, goats and cows get stolen

We are no different from all these things

The next time you hear we have been stolen away

remember the real reason

There are those who think we do not matter

we will always be lesser beings in their eyes

They don’t care, don’t give a damn and know they will get away with it

So, they steal us away

Yet no matter how many of us they take away

We are still here

In the bodies, minds and spirits

of all the millions who come together every year

One month every year

Those who remain present but are actually absent

Those who are not missing but are well and truly lost

We will always be here

We will no longer be silent while they steal us away night and day

We will no longer speak in whispers

We know there are enough of us to make a difference

With solidarity, perseverance, courage and determination

We will make sure that everyone knows

We are still here.

The poem ‘We are still here’ is in ‘Where is Your Wrapper?’ Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, published by PRESTIGE, Farafina books, October 2020

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She is the First Lady of Ekiti State, and she can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

Source: Abovewhispers

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3 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: We Are Still Here

  1. Elizabeth April 1, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    Wow
    Our women are strong, resilient and courageous!

    Reply
  2. Femi Diipo April 2, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    “We are still here” echoing the ageless voices of women across time, race and seasons.
    Things will get better, the world will get better, it must and it will and one day the voices of our girls, mothers and women will transform the world and echo through time till everyone listens and adheres

    Reply
  3. DSEED April 12, 2021 at 3:25 pm

    We aren’t going nowhere. We are still here. May our nation be reform.

    Reply

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