Mauritius – Priscilla

Date: September 6, 2018
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“Les filles, ne vous laissez pas faire. Apprenez à se respecter sois-même tout d’abord. 

My name is Priscilla. I work at the District council of Savanne. I represented myself as a social worker and I firmly believe in human rights and equal opportunities for women.

I used to witness my father abuse my mother at a very tender age, and I got used to that vicious pattern; and like most Mauritian women, I didn’t perceive it as a problem but rather as part of the culture. However, I did not expect that I would live the very same experience that I had been avoiding my whole life, “Foder pass ladan mem pou compran.”  

I suffered domestic violence during my past marriage.  I saw myself as a failure. My marriage had failed, and I was, at a times, homeless.  I was then diagnosed with clinical depression. I described my failure as liberating and allowing me to focus on myself and on social work.

I see myself as a very positive person. My positive nature helps me surround myself with positive people, that is, my friends, colleagues, and most importantly my husband. I would like to extend my gratitude to the church members who entrusted me with the responsibility of always believing in oneself.

The one main challenge is men, “sexism” or “patriarchy” when considering who’s really in charge today, and who has the power to prevent women from climbing up the social ladder. Since most of the candidates of the district council are men, women remain extremely likely to be prejudiced against; they tend to experience higher levels of discrimination when in comes to stand as a potential candidate like Priscilla faced. Most of the men are not even ready to listen to you. “Mais mo fer zot tander”, says Priscilla.

She continues to say, “I’ve grown to the point where I no longer silence myself. I’m okay with making others feel uncomfortable—if they make me feel uncomfortable, I want it to be known. I no longer let sexist remarks slide by and it feels empowering.”  

This is done through various talk sessions when women are encouraged to voice out their perspectives and to share their stories with other women.