Our country has a history of violence – our children have experienced the horror and fear of rape and beatings in their schools, communities and homes.
Tree of Life workshops have been spreading throughout Zimbabwe over the last 9 years. They are Healing and Empowerment workshops facilitated by survivors of torture, violence and rape. The Story Telling Circles are based round the tree metaphor and allow for the integration of past, present and future experiences, and makes a deep connection to spiritual beliefs and traditions.
And our forest is growing, the roots stretching wider and wider throughout our country.
For the last 5 months, this growing number of facilitators have been gathering in ‘Gender Circles’ and meeting the difficult space between socially and culturally accepted norms and matching them against our Tree of Life Agreements: Equality, respect, truth, love, tolerance, humility.
These have been difficult conversations, particularly in a present external culture of abuse of power. But like all difficult conversations, they have been rich with compassion and learning.
The women have begun to move beyond the silencing of their voices and the ownership of their bodies. They have spoken of the value of mothering and community and loyalty and love, the limitations of jealousy and victimhood, and have learnt to walk with dignity and respect.
The men have listened to stories of rape – and have had the space to share their own. They have looked at the inequalities of ownership, and the effects it has had on their lives – in schools, churches, political organisations and the places they work. They have shared the limitations and difficulties of family responsibilities inflicted upon them – often from an early age.
We met last Friday (18th March) There were over 50 of us, facilitators from Tree of Life communities and organisations representing the hundreds of circles who stand behind them, and we spoke of the One Billion Rising on the 14th February.
And we decided we are READY
We are ready to join the dance
We will be joining all the global rising on V Day against the abuse of women.
We are in the process of planning
Watch this space!
We will be posting on Facebook, Her Zimbabwe and One Billion Rising Zimbabwe