She was threatened with a gun, so she left him

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After the death of her husband, this mother of seven found comfort in a friend, who later became her partner. He moved in.

“I had made a pact with him before he moved in, that once he laid a hand on me, I would leave him, no matter what, and that is exactly what I did.”

Several months into the relationship, he held a gun to her face while she was holding her two year old daughter, and he threatened to shoot. With her daughter on her left arm, she managed to pull the loaded gun away from him with her right hand.

“That was a million dollar decision that night, to carry my daughter on my left, because it saved our lives, as it meant my strong hand was left free to pull the gun from him.”

After pulling the gun from him, she told him to leave her house that very same night.

“The whole village, even my Uncles and those I respected sat me down and told me to stay with him, but I refused. My thinking is this, I can find another man, but I can’t find another me. If I allowed him to keep harming me, it would impact on who I was and would harm the lives of my children, that was not a choice, it was never a choice.”

“There was never a point where I was going to let someone else ruin my work, harm my children or erode my character,” she said.

“The decision was easy, because I respected myself enough not let anyone else harm me. I did not suffer, because I did not let him harm me.”

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*This story is told because so many people have gone through some degree of violence in Samoa, even those who are in positions of authority and influence have been through one form of violence or another.

This mother of seven, who is now a grandmother of 27 went on to accomplish much in her life, she never remarried. She was lucky that she had the strength of conviction to leave what could have been a fatal relationship. Others, are not so lucky. According to a Samoa Family Health Safety survey 46% of women interviewed had experienced some form of partner abuse – of which 38% was physical abuse, 19% emotional abuse, 20% sexual abuse.

This  story was told by the grandmother of Storm. The mother of Storm, was the 2 year old who was in her arms at the time of the incident. It is one of my first memories as a child, and as an effort to ensure that other children do not have to go through this, this campaign was set up.

Today, is the first day of Sefulu Ono Aso Storm Campaign. Please support the campaign by sharing.

This CEO was accused of sleeping her way to the top, how she responded was amazing

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Sarai Bareman was accused by some of sleeping her way to the top, but this young CEO of Samoa Football Federation has proven every sexist remark wrong, by excelling in her role as a leader in Samoa sporting circles, and personally praised by FIFA.

On the worst days she has been forced to lock herself in her office to hide the tears as she questions why she is doing what she does.

Fortunately for the beautiful game she is inspired by the dedication of her team, the smiles on the faces of people discovering football and the challenge the role poses.
“Being the CEO is a huge responsibility and the pressure to perform is immense,” Bareman said. “Nevertheless, when I witness the smile on a young girl’s face when she scores her first goal, and the cheers from the crowd as she jumps up and down and celebrates with her team, her mother screaming on the side line with pride – I love my job.
“When I hear the story of a school that we have been working with, reporting that thanks to our football programme there are more children attending school than ever before, this takes the passion I have for the game and builds on it 100 times over as I see the positive impact it has on children, schools and communities and even more – I love my job.”
Bareman’s high profile role comes with a huge amount of responsibility and while her position should be seen as a step forward for women in society, unfortunately she continues to be subjected to gender bias. “As rewarding as it has been, it has also been one of the most challenging experiences of my life,” she says. “More like a battle, and one that I am determined to win.”

Born in New Zealand, Bareman moved to Samoa in 2008 and after starting off as the FFS finance officer soon moved up the ladder, landing the role of CEO in 2011. “I was quite unprepared for the in-your-face opposition I encountered as a female, afakasi or half-caste in a male-dominated country like Samoa, and a heavily male-dominated sport like football.

“I have been called a stupid palagi woman who has no idea what I’m talking about, with no brains. I’ve had my ideas and suggestions ignored, or laughed at simply because I am a woman. I’ve had people tell me straight to my face that my place is in the kitchen and not the CEO’s office and I’ve had to deal with hurtful rumours stating the only reason I got my job is because I slept my way to the top.

“I’ve had male employees who don’t respect me or my authority and who deliberately disobey me or try to shame and embarrass me. I’ve dealt with older men who don’t like to be told what to do by a woman who is younger than them, who is a half-caste.

“I’ve been sitting in serious meetings with high level people and I’ve had to put up with men hitting on me and using sexual innuendos right in the open, while everyone laughs. I’ve had my butt grabbed, been subjected to wolf-whistles and sneered at by all types of males.

“But perhaps what is the hardest is other women, other females, have tried to undermine me by spreading nasty rumours, making up lies, refusing to support me or accept my leadership. Why? Because of jealousy, insecurity, fear? Who knows.”

Despite everything she has been through, Bareman remains strong and says all of it has had the opposite effect.

“I’m still here, I’m still working and I still love my job.

“I have this fire that is burning deep within me. It’s a fire that is burning for me to succeed, to make a difference, to fulfil my purpose and to lead the way. To lead the way for every woman I’ve seen beaten and abused, for every girl who is bullied and teased because of her gender, for every woman who has had to work twice as hard as any man and for every girl who has had her hopes and dreams trodden upon because she’s a female.

“When I’m told that I’m not capable, or I get disrespected because I’m a woman – it’s fuel to my fire.”

Bareman says this conference has been a chance for each and every participant to discuss and share their own experiences, as well as look at how sport can be used to improve people’s lives.

As a leader in sports herself, with 100 per cent certainty, she says this is true – especially when it comes to empowering women.

“Sport creates a platform for women to become leaders, to recognise their true potential, to socialise and participate on a level playing field with the respect of other women, and men alike. There is an expectation that as a woman, we will automatically fail and through sport we can change these perceptions and eliminate inequality.”

Bareman is a true leader who is making progress in breaking down barriers for women globally, but especially at home in Samoa.

“I refuse to shrink my goals and dreams because I am a female. I will keep using that burning fire within me to lead by example and create opportunities for women to be a role model for young girls and to show men that as a woman, I have earned respect and I am capable.”

She implored all those present, but especially the men, not to accept any action verbal or physical that degrades women.

“Ladies, if someone puts you down or treats you like a second class citizen, if you are abused or degraded or made to feel inadequate because you are a woman – use it. Build your fire and use it as fuel.”

Original Story: http://boxscorenews.com/fight-for-gender-equality-fuels-samoa-footballs-baremans-fire-p69212-68.htm

 

“I am a survivor and I am strong”

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Leilani Jackson is a mother of four, she is a nurse and physiotherapist, but most importantly she is a survivor. “The violence hurts but it’s the psychological abuse that hurts the most.” Her advice: “Find your source of strength, focus on it, and have faith in yourself to survive independently.” According to her, having a supportive family and friends helped her through the difficult times.