Advocacy workshop with Dr T.
Articles,  Blog

Advocacy workshop with Dr T.


The framework you are using, is a human rights framework. And It’s a framework that is also constitutional because our constitution was written with a human rights perspective. So everything we discuss today is based on the constitutional rights of people. And our constitution is very simple. It doesn’t say permanent resident, it doesn’t say permit holders.It says all those who live in it. Don’t forget that. When we speak about sexual and reproductive health and rights, they are also human rights. Often people say “SRHR is women’s rights” but for those people who don’t think women are people,they still won’t uphold our rights, because they think they are doing us a favour. So we need to get to a point where we realise that SRHR are human rights. You know those calls where it’s like this weekend, we are gonna be dressing. Because there is just something in the air. And people stab each other , there’s gunshot wounds or some car accident comes. Have you guys ever refused to give those people care? And said “no my religion doesn’t allow me to give care to men who are stabbing each each other at a soccer match.” “Why are you stabbing each other over soccer/?” Have you ever refused treatment to someone, you’re like “ah ah you were drinking and driving, you even smell of alcohol. So we are not gonna sort you out. We are busy with other patients. My morals and my culture is clear there.” Do you do that? So why is it so easy for people to discriminate with those who have uteruses, with those who need sexual and reproductive health and rights? We need to look at the politics of health. And not as health providers fall into the trap of perpetuating injustices, and hiding cowardly so behind culture, religion, morals. When we are not doing it with other sets of patients. So when a young women comes in for contraception It’s not anyone’s place to open the bible and start reading about abstinence and all those things. If they want a priest, they could’ve gone to church, but they didn’t. They came to the clinic or to the hospital. What is expected from us is professional and medical ethics. that’s what we need to understand. If someone comes in, for whatever reason, and says, “you know what, I don’t want to be pregnant anymore.” Is it our place to then quote Genesis chapter 5 or whatever? It’s not our place. There is no other medical procedure in this country or the world, that is an actual act. It’s a law. So if you deviate from that act, you are breaking the law. Why I truly believe that when we have CSE, we should not separate boys and girls is because of this question. If boys, from a young age understand that sperm had DNA in it, genetic material. If I ejaculate, near a vaginal opening, near a uterus, chances of my sperm leading to a fetus are very high. If I don’t want a fetus, and I’m not ready for a child, I must NOT deposit my genetic material near anything that will lead to a fetus and a baby at the end. Once your genetic material is in my body is in my body, I own it. And I own every decision that has to do with what’s in my body. Like if I buy Jack Daniels I own it, it’s in my blood, it’s mine now. Jack Daniels can’t say “but it’s our brand.” It’s mine now. And we miss these things at a foundation level because we don’t have these discussions. But also because they don’t suite the societal construct of patriarchy where men feel that they have entitlement over what happens to women. Those seeds get planted even by omission. So by omitting the fact that you have you own body, I have my own body, and what happens here is mine, and what happens there is yours. That omission makes it easy for you to feel entitled. later on. It’s an omission, people don’t tell us these things. What they also don’t tell you is that having a uterus is not fun Every third week we are either PMSing or ovulating. It’s not cute. Not even once. I’m sure if some of us had a choice, I would remove the uterus. Let’s make any other plan of having children and getting pregnant. If men want to have a say on fetuses and children, men must provide the technology to do it. Because as it is, the only people who can make decisions about fertility, giving birth and children is those with uteruses. That’s just the way it was designed. We also don’t like period pains and almost dying every month, but that’s what we do. We wish we could meet our creator and be like “Haibo what happened?” Your day will also come where you meet your creator and ask him “We wanted rights over having children, why didn’t you give us uteruses?” That’s a battle that men must fight with their maker. Really and truly. And it’s the same way with contraception. How women are the ones burdened with contraception. As if men just have these wonderful ejaculations. It’s just god given and it’s wonderful. Umshini uyasebenza angithi, umshini ka baba. The same way that even if you want a child, unless you are adopting, you can’t force your wife and say “I want a heir with my surname.” So it works both ways. I saw a funny thing that my brother sent yesterday, saying that if women can’t opt out of pregnancy, men also shouldn’t be able to opt out of being parents, and things that have to do with pregnancy and children. so the burden, unfortunately still lays on women. We know for a fact that even contraceptives are out of stock in hospitals and clinics. If you go as a young women, 16 or 17 after school, in school uniform god forbid it’s above the knee, and you ask for contraceptives, you guys have witnessed what happens. When we are talking about access, we mean access not just in policy or law, or the fact that I have an ability to walk into a clinic. We mean access literally. Can you get to a clinic and be treated with dignity, with fairness and clean and timeous care? There is no point for me going to a clinic and you tell me that’s it’s stock out. I must come back next month. That’s not service. That’s not rights. Timeous service, timeous care is crucial to SRHR. And When I was giving you the introduction earlier on, I spoke about what you still call “family planning” I prefer contraception. Why you are taking contraception could be family planning. Is contraception or are those hormones taken only for contraception? So if you are a transgender patient, and you see it written “family planning,” are you inclined to walk into that facility and think “Yeah, they’ll help me”? If it’s written contraception clinic, still you are not really likely to walk in. But if we say “hormonal therapy” will menopausal women feel like they can in there? Because when you are menopausal you are not planning a family, you are not contraceptioning anything, but you need estrogen. Do you see how language can just from the get go say to some people; “this is for you, and this is not for you”? It’s not okay that people are dying preventable deaths in our care.

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