June 2014
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                                      Rasheda Ashanti Malcolm
I've been asked why I see fit to interfere in the cultural, religious and traditional practice of other nations. I’ll get straight to the point. Heading a campaign such as Protect The Girl Child has given me a new avenue of information and knowledge into harmful, many times hidden cultural practices. And let me state here that culture is not a religion, it has nothing to do with the Creator, culture is a man-made phenomenon and as such it can be fraught with mistakes. I do respect culture and tradition, unless they are harmful.
Recently there was a YouTube video with a Trinidadian mother beating her 12 year old daughter with a belt and continued beating the child even when the child had fallen to the ground. The discussion of this video caused a storm when we spoke about it on WildeTalk, (radio show, Saturday 2-4pm). The 12 year olds' crime was that she posted semi-naked pictures of herself and a boy on FB, which enraged and humiliated her mother who in turn took the action of humiliating her child by whooping her and posting it on YouTube.
Many of the people who called or text in to WildeTalk was in agreement with the mother, they too believe our young generation need a firm hand in bringing back discipline and boundaries and I agree that something needs to be done. But many others thought the mother was an abuser and should have been prosecuted and locked up for grievous bodily harm.
For me in a 21st Century world where an emergence of feminine energy has awakened, as women we must remember the power which we possess. Our daughters learn from us. Yes I know about the influence of the media and the powerful pull of social media for our youth, but we are still their first love. They learn about love from us. And if we get it part right, they also learn how to love and respect themselves from us. As mothers we must know the messages we are consciously or more importantly, subconsciously giving our daughters. We cannot give them a message that leads to them normalising violence in their lives.
Now before the ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ supporters raise their objections, let me continue. A 12 year old child has no right posing semi-naked and posting it on a global network like FB or anywhere. But at twelve she has no understanding of the consequences of such an action. At twelve she needs guidance and education and boundaries explained and she needs a clear understanding of the process and the recipe for a healthy relationship.
Putting myself in the mother’s shoes, I no doubt would have been enraged enough to give my child a few slaps in the hope of ‘knocking some sense into her head’, but I would have then proceeded to interview her on YouTube, find out why she did it; what she hoped to accomplish; if she understood that in the future any prospective employers may come across this. I would put forward reality and have her reflect on it.
The whooping this mother meted out was excessive, slave like punishment and it has no place in the lives of girls who are going to grow up inspired, empowered and knowledgeable.
So for the few critics who thought we were interfering in other people’s culture, I say to you, we interfere because we care and we are going to keep this conversation going until we are heard.
Join The Wilde Foundation and Maendeleo Services in Luton on 26th June 2014 as we continue our community discussions raising awareness of the sexual and domestic abuse of women and girls and the hidden harmful practices that we normalise.

9am - 12pm; Building Block Children's Centre
Beech Hill Community Primary School
Dunstable Road

For more information on this project, email: 
Break the cycle & remove the chains
VAWG - Violence Against Women & Girls
You may start seeing this acronym; VAWG, if you haven’t already noticed it, and for those of us who work in the industry, we know very well that it is not a new phenomenon. What may be new is the speed at which we can all be informed about human abuse, world-wide. We have channels of communications with each other and are sharing information on a global level – so many women now know they are not alone in their abuse. They now know that they should have a right and many are ready to fight and even give up their lives to stop these atrocities.
The rape and murder of the young Indian woman by those five thugs; the rape and hanging of a 14 and 15 year old in Pakistan, two police men were among the rapists; the stoning to death of a woman who married out of her religion, led by her father and family members; the giving of girl children as young as five years old as brides to grown men; the stolen Nigerian girls; the woman who gave birth in prison because her husband says ‘God’ and not ‘Allah’; the rape of a fourteen year old in Kenya whose perpetrators were made to cut the front lawn of the police station for their crime. These are just the tip of the iceberg; women and girls have always been subjected to widespread extreme forms of abuse and strong media attention should always be given, lest we forget.

Tribute To A Legend
 MAYA ANGELOU (Born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014).
The award winning author, poet, political activist, mother, grandmother, mentor, actress and a shero to millions has joined the realms of the ancestors and WIN are proud to join the millions of voices who are celebrating her life.
We will not stand by her grave and weep; for we know she is not there. She is already sitting among the doers wheeling out her brand of inspiration.
Thank you Maya Angelou, for enriching my thoughts, my words, my language. Thank you Maya, for the writer I am.

Wisdom and aphorisms of Maya Angelou:
- "If you're always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be."
- "I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as 'making a life'."
- "You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."
- "Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option."
- "Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God." [This was her final tweet, posted on 23 May.]

Forever Heard

Marguerite Ann Johnson,
Better known as Maya Angelou,
Today we mourn your passing
Though an everlasting 
Legacy, rich with literature helps to soften the blow
Of losing you around the globe.

You chimed a powerful tune
To let us know 
Why The Caged Bird Sang,
In 1968,
We learned about the struggles and strife,
The abuses you experienced in early life

Yet, refusing to be silenced and
Fighting victimhood,
You rose like a Phoenix
Because you knew you could,
To write, act, and become a journalist,
To perform, direct while still an activist, 
For Civil Rights, 
You fought the fights,
To dismantle segregation 
Between African- Americans and Whites

During periods of decolonisation
Your radio journalism 
Was an absolute sensation 
In Egypt and in Ghana,
We still salute you,
A Mother of Africa!

And a mother to many across the seas,
You gave children ‘Thank You’ libraries,
Regardless of colour, class or creed 
Yes…Youngsters must read to succeed!
With niece, Sally Baffour’s, campaign
Boys and girls make reading gains.

Your inaugural poem pulsated a memorable beat,
A literary treat,
For Bill Clinton,
Then, an awaiting president

As one of my strongest literary ‘rocks’,
I am adjusting to the shock
That you remain no longer here,
In physical terms, that is clear. 
However, through your books, films and recorded words,
Your legacy lives,
And that singing bird will be… forever heard!

Thanks to the Writer, Poet and Storyteller, Akuba
for this wonderful tribute to Ms Angelou

Join us, on WildeTalk on Omega Radio - that’s Ginger, Culture and Munchie on Saturday 21st June, 2-4pm (GMT) as we celebrate the life of Ms Angelou . . . You can also get us on  for intelligent conversation, inspiring banter and great music.

Do take a look at our websites, EWI & WIN . . . like us on FB & follow us on twitter, & like our Protect The Girl Child Campaign on FB

And that’s me for now . . .
I leave you with this quote for the month:

A smart person knows what to say. A wise person knows whether or not to say it.

More health, wealth, love and joy!

Rasheda Ashanti Malcolm is a Writer, Author, Broadcaster, Activist, CEO o f WIN & co-organiser of the Every Woman Inspired International Conference
Copyright © 2014 Wilde International Network, All rights reserved.

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