You see, I have been brought up in a good family where my parents keep telling us how bright we are and how much potential we have. As I write this though, I feel really dumb and I do not even know how I ended up in campus in the first place. I however for my own self esteem will blame my parents for misguiding me on how bright I am.
You may wonder what made me realize how not bright I am because I may have fooled you into believing I am bright or maybe you overheard my parents say what a bright kid they have.
It all started last semester when I had to pick a research topic and being me, I picked ‘ girl child education ‘ . This semester I was assigned one of the brightest lecturers in school as my supervisor and she told me to write on what I wanted to find out on girl child.
Believing in myself and how bright I am, I simply remembered the many times I had watched news on girls being sexually harassed by teachers and other persons and they had to drop out of school due to early pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. I read almost every report by NGOs on slums and even read a story about a girl who couldn’t walk after she was raped several times by her grandfather. This to me was so touching and had immense negative effect on the girl and her education.
On the background, I wrote on the universal expectations on a woman that interfered with her time in learning. Getting married, domestic chores etc. I even quoted the remarks made in Beijing conference 1995 where raising the issue of girl child education was met by negative remarks from men. Wasn’t that brilliant???
What I wanted to find out was how parents reacted or would react if their girl told them a teacher was touching them in an appropriate way. Did parents take time to advise their boys to respect the girls from young age?? What would the mother do if the father of the child was molesting their daughter??
Did they take time to look at the performance in school and their interaction. . What effect would sexual molestation have on a girl and her education?
So yesterday I took a shower put on a pair of pants and even ironed my shirt to go present my work to my supervisor being very sure that she would be impressed by the level of brightness of the student she had been assigned. I went to her office in high spirits.
She put on her spectacles, scanned my work silently. She finally looked at me and with heavy mother tongue influence, she asked ‘ was your study on sex or kalchilt??’ (I want to believe she meant girl child). My high esteem was floored and even right now I am still clueless on how to raise esteem that took a lifetime to build and one dumb research and statement to destroy.
I am still in bed trying to imagine how my parents will react when I tell them ‘ mum, dad, your daughter is dumber than you think ‘