Showing posts from May, 2016

Respect is greater than fear

By Selene Cruz via UN Online Volunteers

Respect Should Always Be More Powerful Than Fear #SharingNotShaming At 22 years old and fresh out of college, most young adults out there are embarking upon their first working experiences. Eager to learn and trying to make a positive impact in my first serious job as an English instructor for employees of a transnational company, I was striving to grow by always doing my best, learning as much as I could from others, and ensuring that everything that carried my signature had the best quality.  Helping my students improve their skills, confidence and competence in the language could potentially lead to promotions, or excellent letters of recommendation. How can anyone know that this kind of drive in a woman could be so badly misunderstood? I had two different groups in which all of my students were significantly older than me. Some of them over 30, but most of them were pushing 40 and even 50 years old. This considerable age difference between me an…

Shame the Abuser, Not the Victim

By Adedamola Taofeekat via UN Volunteers

My Past Experiences Shouldn’t Ruin My Present Life My name is Odofin Adedamola Taofeekat and I am a 21 year old from Nigeria. Who I am today, who I will still become, is shaped by what I’ve gone through in the past, either positive or negative. Girls face terrible and shameful situations everyday all over the world and a lot of them are too scared to speak up out of fear that those that they value will shun them when they know their stories. I was a victim of sexual harassment. When I was 8 years old, I was sexually harassed almost every day by my class teacher when I was in primary 2. He would sit by me at the back of the class during class exercises and touch my inner thighs through my skirt. At first I didn’t understand what he was doing, I would push him away gently scared because he was my class teacher and he could’ve beaten me for being disobedient. However, he was persistent and kept it going for over two months. I was never really a soci…

We can overcome racism

By Kumsa Yuya via UN Volunteers

Whether or not we are conscious of it, from birth we are being socialized. This process of socialization tells us what is valuable, important and beautiful. Although not inherently problematic, often these attributes deemed valuable in society are attached to immutable characteristics that have been assaulted through history. These characteristics include things like skin color, size of facial features, and behaviours that are a presumed consequence of having these features. Borne out of these historical circumstances is a hierarchy that is clearly discernable no matter where we are in the globe. The result of these arbitrary categorizations is the institutionalization of discrimination; a caste system is thus accepted as nothing more than unquestionable truth. Although this is the reality for many marginalized groups throughout the world, my story will focus on what I faced and learned as a result of these experiences being an African Canadian. Although …

We must embrace our differences

By Iliana Oikonomu via UN Volunteers

While you grow up, you have a lot of people telling you what’s right and what’s wrong. What’s okay and what isn’t. And all these “rules”, all this ‘musts’ and ‘mustn’ts’ are based on society stereotypes, and what is consider a trend. But those things, those stereotypes, change over the eras which really makes me wonder; Is there really a right thing after all? Is there a thing that should apply to everyone? And why should we all look, talk, act and think the same way? Every human, every single person, is different but it often seems we try to put them all in a bag and make them clones of each other. Where are their beliefs and since when ‘feminism’ is a trend and not a way of thinking and living? These things occurred to me a lot and I’m happy to finally be able to share my story. Growing up, I’ve been no exception of people judging me for the clothes I wore or the way I talked or walked. Even as a kid I had to take hard criticism about my style, my…