I had most of the same students at the beginning of my second year teaching Life Skills (they were just in a grade higher). For the first day of class, I asked the students to stand up, say their names, and share something they liked to do. Most of the kids stood up and said things like said "cooking" and "cleaning." Keep in mind, their English was really limited so they mainly stated the hobbies that they knew the words for.
The boy begged me to stay. I told him no, I grabbed his backpack, and threw it outside. For the first time the kids saw I did in fact have a backbone and they were no longer laughing. The boy outside continued to knock on the door and ask to let back in, but I didn't allow it. I mean, how could I? Not only is rape wrong in every way, but it's also a huge factor in the way HIV/AIDs spreads in Africa and around the world. I wanted to be sure that these kids knew that, and that they didn't think it was funny.
At the end of the class, the boy came and apologized to me. He knew what he said was wrong, and he never acted that way again. In fact, he was always helpful for the remainder of the year. Gender roles are very defined in rural areas like Lesotho, and girls and women are neglected and abused often. I just wanted to make sure the girls in my class grew up knowing that rape was not normal, and that they always have a say in who they have sex with.
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Jenny Khalema is a certified personal trainer and fitness blogger out of Seattle. She loves helping people realize their fitness dreams.
Jenny loves spending her time long distance running and encouraging others.