My Reality – TALES OF AFRIKAN YOUNG WOMEN WHO CHOSE ABORTION
Ever since women and girls and gender expansive persons became self-aware, they found ways to document and share their experiences. Stories are undoubtedly one of the oldest tools of human progress and remain one of our greatest weapons. Nothing is more powerful than the personal story of spotlighting the urgent needs of women and girls in Kenya regarding their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). This is because every story is as unique as the girl or woman at the center of that story. Despite a world that boasts of unimaginable milestones in medical research and healthcare solutions, billions of women and girls in the world still find themselves in the precarious position of having to choose between life and death simply because they are sexual beings. This anthology opens a window into nine experiences of young Kenyan women as they contemplated, made a choice, and attempted to terminate pregnancies in a society determined to shun, stigmatize and demonize those who even “think” about such a decision. As they share their stories and parts of their lives, the nine young women paint vulnerable but vivid pictures of the complexity of the decision, the complexity of the environment in which this decision is made even though access to legal, and therefore safe, abortions means that people can have agency and authority over their own bodies. Some of the abortion stories are long while others are brief, yet the brevity of a story in no way represents the simplicity of the experiences of the women and girls who lived it. Some stories are still unfolding, and some details are still too emotional to relive. Others are old stories still living in fresh memories with new and urgent lessons to teach us. The only real fact remains that abortion is a moral choice. It is an ethical choice. It is one’s personal choice. There are no good abortions; there are no bad abortions; there is only the abortion a person needs.
No single story could sufficiently capture the real tragedy of existing as a girl or woman in Kenya and what it takes to access basic sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) information and services. This anthology is therefore a mere drop in the ocean of women’s experiences in Kenya and Africa. But it is a pivotal drop because each story is a rare glimpse into the complexity of what it means to be a girl or woman daily confronting intersecting barriers, disadvantages and forms of discrimination in the realisation of SRHR. Young women are not homogeneous. They are diverse in their experiences and complex in their compounding vulnerabilities. This includes but is not limited to women and adolescent girls living in informal settlements, female sex workers, and lesbian gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) womn. Our goal is to amplify these diverse voices in our work and do our bit in untangling some of these complex webs.
Download the full book HERE.