Fighting Fistula is a task many individuals, non-profits, healthcare professionals and even governments are involved in. At WoSA, we are no exception. We present to you an illustrated book series, titled, Shackled By Tradition.…
Shackled By Tradition is a body of 3 illustrated books, each chronicling the life trajectory of three African females in contemporary African society, and the ills that befall them due to ignorance and traditional beliefs of the men in their lives, ultimately pushing them into the cold grips of fistula.
Each book follows their every day struggle, their contact with this scourge, their struggle with its debilitating effects and how they overcame it and were reintegrated back into society.
The stories of Talatu, Misha and Adane should inspire all girls and women all over Africa and bring hope to thousands of others suffering from Fistula and other related diseases. It highlights the ills women face in our societies and what they go through, every day for no fault of theirs.
The Shackled By Tradition Series is meant to inspire us all. It is meant to make us all, especially the gate keepers of our societies do proper self-introspection, and reevaluate some of the beliefs that have held us back for so long, so we can overcome the challenges of child brides, early sex and forced marriages, female genital mutilation and other vices.
This educational intervention should reimbue in us the unwavering determination to ensure that every victimized woman or child is afforded the freedom of choice.
The choice to get married, or not, the choice to have children, a career, an education or a home. The choice to respect their body, achieve financial independence and/or pursue a healthy lifestyle.
We hope you enjoy the stories of hope, survivors have entrusted to us to share with others to educate, encourage and edify.
Girl Child Education
Page 1. Within the small town of Illa, Kito was an abusive husband who lived uncomfortably with his wife and their teenage daughter, Misha – a 13 year old, obedient and studious child.
The Domestic Violence
Page 2. Misha was often caught within the battering her mother often received from her father, while always trying to protect her abused mother.
Effects of Abuse
Page 3. The domestic abuse of her mother often left her sad and moody anytime she was with her friends. Misha’s father had turned his hate towards her for always siding with her mother and trying to protect her.
Page 4. In school, Misha was a bright student, but her travails at home were distracting her and making her pay less attention to her classes.
Page 5. Kito, old fashioned in thinking and ways had already determined that he would stop wasting his money on her school and rather get her to supplement his income at home. He came to forcefully withdraw Misha from school.
Page 6. Kito forced Misha to start hawking bread on the streets of Illa, leaving at dawn and only returning at dusk.
Page 7. Every evening, Misha handed the proceeds of her street hawking to her father who used same to fund his profligate lifestyle, which included an addiction to gambling on local board games.
Page 8. Soon after, Kito decided to marry her off so as to get more money for his binges. He forcefully married Misha off to one of his friends whom he owed a huge debt.
The Rape Victim
Page 9. The child bride, too fragile for sexual intercourse was deflowered on the very first night in her matrimonial home, and subsequently, severally sexually abused even when she withheld her consent.
Page 10. Heavily pregnant, Misha was still forced to hawk vegetables and food items, as well as other odds and ends on the streets to fend for herself as her husband would give her no money for her daily sustenance.
Poor Maternal Healthcare
Page 11. Months later, when she was due, Misha was left to her fate and put under the care of a quack midwife. Complications had already arisen due to protracted, obstructed labor.
The Fistula Scourge
Page 12. By the time she was taken to the government primary health facility, it was discovered that Misha’s vagina and rectum were damaged from the continuous pressure from the baby’s head stuck in the birth canal. There was nothing they could do.
Page 13. Misha returns home without a child, but with fistula and continuously leaking urine and feces. She begins to smell the foul odor and hear the constant drip of her own waste, Misha was soon thrown out by her husband.
Page 14. Misha goes back home, to her father’s house, desolate and inconsolable. Her former school friends come to visit but cannot stand the stench, they leave soon after.
Page 15. Unable to stand her stench, Misha’s father throws her out two months later. With nowhere to go, Misha becomes destitute and soon goes about begging in the streets.
Every Girl is Special!
Page 16. Soon after, Misha meets a good Samaritan, Madam Lani on the streets. The woman, perceives the repugnant odor while handing her some stipend, and decides to ask more questions.
Page 17. Madam Lani takes pity on Misha and moves her to child care facility she runs alongside her sister, both try their best to make Misha comfortable and feed her back to wellness.
Page 18. Madam Lani tells Misha her problem is curable, and that there is a government hospital in the city where a solution for her ailment could be found. She jumps on a bus with Misha to the city, in search of a cure.
Page 19. Misha was taken to hospital and seen by a surgeon specialized in obstetric fistula repair. She is admitted, cleaned up, then readied for surgery.
Page 20. After hours of excruciating surgery, Misha was successfully operated upon and her condition corrected.
Page 21. Misha returns to school and to her everyday life soon after, happy to have been cured and healed. Her tears had been wiped and her life about to begin all over again.
A Success Story!
Page 22. Despite the pains of her past, Misha is studious and brilliant and goes through school without hitch and soon graduates from university with distinction.
The Change Agent
Page 23. Misha soon gets a job with the government. She spends her leisure time working as a passionate fistula advocate for young girls.