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MY BODY IS NOT A DEMOCRACY by Ester Kabasambo, Uganda

Updated: Sep 21, 2022


My body is not a democracy and therefore you should not vote for what happens in my body or what my body should do. I am the landlord and caretaker of my body so I know what is right for my body. You are free to say what you think is good for my body but keep those opinions to yourself don’t make for me a decision, you were not their when I was building it up.


I have rights over my body autonomy and integrity. This gives me fully ownership of my body and therefore I have a right to take my own decisions. The question is if this is my right “why do you deny me this right?” As a girl, woman, trans woman, lesbian etc. I have a lot of things I want to do with my body but, my constitution does not support me, it’s only against me. For instance, in my country – Uganda, I have limited access to abortion services, and the environment and stigma does not support the trans women rights. We recently had a case where a group of trans women were arrested from the shelter houses where they were staying during the lockdown.


Since Covid-19 started, I have felt like there has been an attack on my body from both the outside and inside. When I hear the stories of young girls being raped and defiled, women being violated, I begin to think I have stepped in a world where women don’t have rights. When I hear men speak about how women’s bodies work and their ideas for controlling them through legislation, I wonder if they have daughters, mothers and wives. We also have a challenge of fellow women bullying us and trying to put us down when we are trying to fight for our rights.


I have a right to access correct sexual reproduction health rights information. Give me the information but don’t make the decision on what to do with my body for me. We recently had a case in Uganda where a young woman who was HIV positive was sterilized without her consent and this is because doctors thought she was not supposed to reproduce since she is positive.


As a woman, I need to embrace my beauty and dress up like a revolutionary fashionista with my fabulous dress and shoes which I have the uncanny ability to find at a reasonable price without any one interfering to guide me on how I dress up or not. I don’t need to compare myself to any one out their because we all have different lives to live. The only punishment I can give to those talking rubbish about me, making decisions for me is “self-love” by singing in the shower, taking myself out, buying new face beauties for myself and working on my body by doing exercises to remain fit.


I know am not just a body, I am a soul, a spirit, a light to the world I am living a precious life full of a purpose to fulfill and therefore I need your support but not judgement. What I need is information which will help me make good decisions for myself i.e. getting the right information on sexual reproductive health rights.


Therefore, I call upon everyone to help me join in the campaign of my body is not a democracy with Uganda network of young people living with HIV & AIDS (UNYPA), Uganda network on law ethics and HIV&AIDS (UGANET), the International Community of Women Living with HIV Eastern Africa (ICW EA). It’s time to demand for our bodily autonomy and integrity rights.


 

Thank you for your generous support for ICW's Young Women's Media Team

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