Tipping Point recently had the oppportunity to contribute to Tarshi’s In Plainspeak online magazine. This publication explores issues related to sexuality in a way that is gender-sensitive, non-heterosexist and affirms respect for all people and their right to sexual well-being.
In Tipping Point’s first contribution, titled “Not My Fault: Reclaiming Public Spaces Along with My Own Sexuality,” Yuleidy Merida shares a story of a Tipping Point participant. When girls and women can move freely, without fear for their immediate safety or the social sanctions they may encounter, they can show up – as participants and leaders – in different spaces. Taslima’s attendance in various Tipping Point sessions gave her the opportunity and strength to follow her dreams and to advocate by herself. It took her some time to convince her mother about going back to school. But with a new sense of confidence and thanks to the comradery of her Fun Center peers, she decided to finish school and serve as an army officer.
In our next article, “Let’s Get Uncomfortable: How the Control of Girls’ Sexuality Is Everybody’s Business in the World of Child Marriage”, Anne Sprinkel explains the connection between control of female sexuality and child marriage. CEFM lies at a particularly unique intersection of patriarchal discrimination and control for approximately 700 million women: on the surface, girls lose their ability to make one of the most intimate decisions of their life – who and when to marry. As the impacts of this practice unravel, we see it is done at the expense of girls’ schooling, chances for paid employment, “the refusal to permit them control over their sexuality and reproduction, and a tolerance of their vulnerability to gender-based violence”. While understanding the impacts of CEFM is important for response, we know that prevention is both vital and achievable.