In July, the BBC in the southeast African country Malawi was looking for a man who used to have sex with the girls in the name of Ritual and was paid for it.
The man is called as ‘hyena’. The man was later arrested. Following this report, a Malawi woman named Natasha Anne Tonthola contacted the BBC and told her own story about the Rituals.
She later tried to protect women and girls who were unwillingly engaged in the ceremony.
Here is her story (Hyena Victim)
I am the eldest of my five siblings and I grew up in a village in Malawi which is located at some distance from the capital Lilongwe. I was 13 years old when I become a victim of the ceremony.
The village of my father was near Mulanje in the south. After my first menstrual period, I was sent to complete the ritual. Girls have no other option and It happens with all the girls in the village.
We were told that we would be informed about the experience of femininity and honestly speaking, I was excited about this. Just like me, other girls were also enthused.
The last day an older woman came to us and told us that now we have reached the last stage of the process.
She said now the hyena is coming to us. Then she said, “do not need to panic. I’m not talking about an animal. Hyena is a human being.”
But we really did not know what the hell is the name of a hyena and he was going to do.
You are not told that Hyena is coming to sex with you. All of us had put a cloth on our bodies and we were told to keep it off. We were told that now is the time for you to show that How you should behave in front of a man.
Then our eyes were bandaged with some cloth. Then comes a hyena and tells you to lie down. You open your legs and let him do what he wants. We have no right to know who this man is. Only the elders know about him.
We were all young girls. So we were very tensed. I was yearning with pain when the man had sexual contact with me. i was relieved when he finished.
Afterward, an elderly lady came up to me and said, “Congratulations, you have completed the ritual and now you have become a woman.”
Many girls think it is a common procedure because they are prepared in this way.
Some of the girls also get pregnant due to unsafe sex with the hyena.
When we returned home, we have been restricted to play and speak with the girls with whom they had not conducted this ritual.
The worst period of my life began after the ceremony. My father who was a policeman passed away.
Here, according to tradition is the custom that the deceased brother should marry the widow, but my mother refused to acknowledge it.
We then moved to South Africa. There I got the work of cooking at home and in the salon but to despite working day and night neither had been able to muster the cost of school fees nor my family.
Then I met a man from Malawi, who wanted to marry me. He was willing to pay my school fees too. I was sixteen and I did not want to marry at the young age.
But I wanted to complete my studies in any case. I was worried about my mother and my brothers and sisters. Because of the hard work my mother’s condition was getting worse.
So I said yes to the wedding and we all returned to Malawi. We get married and my husband started to pay for my school and my family. he was 15 years older than me.
He was educated and was a successful businessman, but he was beating me all the time.
His hitting marks yet exist on my body. I was pregnant at the age of seventeen.
Nevertheless, my husband hits me all the time. As long as we’re together he is in contact with other women too. I was shattered.
I was badly trapped and fed up with my life. My husband knew that I am young and can go so far.
Once again, my uncle helped me. I enrolled in a fashion designing course for South Africa.
After all, I once again returned to Malawi and began designing for influential people in society.
Then I started working on the awareness on social issues such as the early marriage of girls, custom, and rituals, such as hyenas, unwanted pregnancy, and AIDS by creating an institution.
Whatever had happened in my life, I knew that it happens with the other girls too.
My organization is doing every effort to educate people but it is a difficult task. Especially to deal with rituals like hyenas.
But despite all these we are having good expectations are from the coming time.
Via : BBC