This is a guest post from media personality Misred, real name Samantha Musa, following a nightmare weekend for her when she went viral on social media following an interview she did with a Ghanaian radio station.
Some people took issue with what Misred said in the interview and challenged her over the sentiments she expressed. Unfortunately, trolls and cyberbullies also came out in their numbers and launched abusive personal attacks at the media personality which impugned her reputation and morals, instead of engaging on the issues. Misred later apologised for the interview.
Misred wrote this letter to highlight the adverse effects of abusive and demeaning language as well as cyberbullying on the mental health of the victims.
I hope I find you well after a stormy week that pushed you to reflect on yourself and the society you live in. This should have been about me, not the personality. Unfortunately, it became about you, your feelings and your life. It involved the Samantha who goes to work every day to become Misred the media personality. The Samantha who wears the mantle of mother and the Samantha who is also a daughter. The Samantha who wakes up each day a proud and yet vulnerable woman and also the Samantha who is a Zimbabwean hoping for a brighter future for her country.
I felt that Misred had to write this to you Samantha because I didn’t want you to take up the burden for my views I just wanted you to know that it’s OK for people to not agree with how you see things but it’s not OK for them to strip down your womanhood to make a point. Being in the public eye doesn’t make you right or above criticism but it doesn’t make you immune to the hurt or reduce how one feels. Being in the public eye means being brave to express yourself when you feel pain.
For so many seasons I have had moments when things were about Misred the personality and never about Samantha the person, everything became intensely personal. You were called everything you can think of in the book. Today I speak about what it does to someone’s mental state.
I know you were broken in a way that you have never been before, but that brokenness is the premise of why I’m writing this now. There were two sets of people who reached out during this time. Those who wanted to check if you had broken to a point of no return and those who wanted you to get out of that brokenness. I’m thankful to both groups. I’m glad it happened, because it revealed so many things about who we are as a collective and how we feel about a lot of things. It revealed that we are not ok as Zimbabweans. We are angry and we want to be heard at whatever cost. This time, you were the cost and unfortunately in a world where going viral is the word of the day, you went viral!
I speak on multiple occasions of how women need to learn to fix each other’s crowns and this time, there were a lot of clamours wanting to break yours than fix it. I am in awe of how God works, because you are blessed to have a very small group of women who will always catch you when you fall! It is not brokenness I take from all of this, but it is the women that chose to give back love when some would’ve preferred for you to crash. God’s ways don’t always have you smiling, but sometimes they have you learning. One powerful woman that was introduced to me through this moment wrote something deeply profound and I want to share it with other women because I think God wanted you and me to go through this for others to learn and grow.
“One thing I know for sure, is, as long as the sun rises from the East, being a woman in this world is HARD. My womanhood, this body I reside in, will always be used against me, when patriarchy wants to punish, silence, and keep me in my place, this body is the first line of attack”.
“I have also learnt that one of the easiest weapons used against me is my sexuality, my sexual choices, and half the time, mere sexual innuendo is enough to destroy a woman. By simply reducing me to a VAGINA, my fate can be immediately sealed. All my work, good or bad my whole being, can merely be reduced to my vagina, and that is it! I am done for. I am sad. Sad. Sad. Because, at the end of the day, that is what I am reduced to. We are reduced to our vaginas. #Finichi. It’s a very easy thing to do. It is pathetic. It is horrid. I am but just another notch in a society that still adheres to an ethos that every outspoken woman is a bitch. The fight is never on a fair plane; it singles out its opponent, strips her of her opinions and attacks her womanhood.”
“My gift to women younger than me today, the same horrid words you use to reduce another woman to a vagina is exactly what they will do to you, the day you cross that (invisible), line. Always remember that. YOU are more than your vagina. You are a FULL human being.”
⁃ Everjoice Win
I believe having different views is OK and taking each other to task is always encouraged, but demeaning and attacking every aspect of a person’s life takes away a lot from what could have been meaningful discourse.
The people who truly knew you and loved you before haven’t changed, and those who never really knew you or loved you are still the same and that’s what makes all this particularly interesting. The truth loves sunlight, and it always reveals itself in good time. I leave you with this fact, according to a study 7 in 10 young people experience cyberbullying before they get to 18, 36% adult suicide in developing countries were as a result of cyberbullying in 2019 and that’s just the surface.
You are growing into the woman you are truly meant to be. Every experience was designed specifically for you as part of your lifetime curriculum. There is magic within your heart and spirit that only you will ever understand how long it took to uncover. Grow within that magic, allow yourself to continue to be that GENUINE YOU! You will fall and rise again but this is the order of life, such is the university of life called experience.
Yours with Love