Unknown Sheroes: Musenge Musomali
My name is Musenge. I am a Zambian woman, aged 38. I am the founder and executive director of Liberated Hearts Foundation. And I am also a survivor of incest, child sexual abuse and gender based violence.
During the early years of my childhood, I viewed our home as a safe environment. I believed I would grow up to be whatever and whoever I wanted to be. My parents were educated with decent jobs; I too had great dreams.
But when I was 7 years old, everything changed in our home. I suffered silently at the hands of my brother who had begun to sexually abuse me. I withdrew into my world of pain and isolation.
After the age of 10, one brother stopped abusing me, another one began. I was afraid to tell anyone because my brothers told me that it would bring shame and embarrassment upon the family. I simply accepted the abuse as my fate.
After my parents passed away, I was sent to boarding school and was able to finally escape the sexual abuse. However, during the holidays, I abused alcohol, marijuana, and engaged in risky sexual behaviours. No one intervened because they thought I was a rebellious demon possessed girl.
As I grew older, I became more and more self-destructive, it was a dark path. I explain more about my journey as a survivor of childhood sexual in my book titled ‘Glow after Pain’. It is available on Amazon (Kindle & Paper back); I encourage you to get a copy.
At 24, after years of pain and frustration, a Catholic organisation called Our Lady’s Hospice intervened. They offered me counselling, care and support. From that moment my life took a whole different turn, and I began to counsel and render emotional support to people from similar backgrounds.
From 2004 to date, I worked for several non-profit organisations in the area of health, human rights advocacy, gender and economic development. And in 2017, I founded Liberated Hearts Foundation whose mission is to advocate for rights of women and children, support and empower survivors of incest, sexual abuse and gender based violence. And facilitate survivors healing processes and breaking the silence on incest, which is still considered as a taboo in different cultural settings in Zambia.
Early this year, LIHEF launched the child protection campaign which is addressing the alarming increase of child defilement cases in Zambia. This campaign is ongoing and will be a massive campaign conducted in pilot sites in Lusaka District.
Lusaka District recorded the highest number of child defilement cases with 320 translating to 48.2% of the child defilement cases reported countrywide.
In the third quarter of 2017, 416 defilement cases were reported. In comparison 664 where reported in the third quarter of 2018, translating to an increase of 248 cases or 37.3%.
It is clear from the statistics that urgent measures need to be put into place to eliminate violence against children in Lusaka District and the entire country of Zambia.
Liberated Hearts is committed to elimination of violence against women and children and to achieve its objectives, there is need for individuals and various stakeholders to join this noble cause and render any support that will advance this work. The security and peace of women and children in a world that has recorded high statistics of violence against women and children is everyone’s business. To join the fight email us firstname.lastname@example.org
Links to my publications
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