Why this 'lunch' invitation from a Turkish man meant more - Kenyan Polet Ouma narrates [Part 1]

Pulse Contributors

Pulse Contributors: Polet Njeri Ouma

On this date last year, there was a full lockdown which makes this almost feel like a déjà vu.

One person tested positive for the Indian Covid-19 variant in Istanbul, Turkey, which sent us into another lockdown unprepared. Judging from the previous year’s events, this shouldn't have come as a surprise.

I am, however, still human and humans don't like inconveniences and this is an inconvenience to my non-existent social life.

There is a loophole though, we can go grocery shopping which technically means I could find a way to print some notes so I hit up a friend (let’s call him Mehmet) who has a printer at home and in the process, reluctantly agree to lunch.

"Let's have tea"

I have known Mehmet for about a year. I attended a boxing class he hosted. After a few classes, he offered to give me one on one classes.

I later came to find out Mehmet stayed a few minutes from my house. I think living in Turkey for almost a decade has brought out a socially awkward side of me.

Back home, coffee means coffee and dinner means dinner. I can hang out with a friend over coffee and boundaries are never crossed.

On this side of the world however, ‘çaı içelim’ a direct translation of ‘let's have tea’ means, I’m interested in you. It took me a couple of years to understand this, so a black girl getting one on one classes from a boxing coach can also be misconstrued as interest…unfortunately from both parties.

Mehmet has never made advances, just invites, so this one time that I said yes to lunch at his house during a lockdown, made my mind wander into all kinds of places.

Pre-date ritual

I don’t know about you but as a woman, if I ever make it back home safe after a meet up with a man, I breathe a sigh of relief (quite literally).

My mum used to tell me never to go out for a date unless I have enough money for my food and a taxi ride back home, but in the world we live in, it has nothing to do with dates, staying out late, going to a man’s house or even how you dress and everything to do with how sick our society has become.

To this day, if I’m ever going to be hanging out with a man, I shoot a text to my best-friend with enough details of his full names, his phone number, the car number plate, the address I will be at and to be honest, I would ask for an ID number if I could, just in case I come back home in a body bag and some news house somewhere decides to pin and blame my death on me.

Iniobong Umoren's tragic job interview

Here’s to another fallen soldier who, in search of a better life for herself left home to go for a job interview and never got back home. Iniobong Umoren was raped and brutally murdered because she was assertive enough to apply for a job. A JOB!

They say they rape and murder us because we spend their money, we lead them on, we dress inappropriately, we go to their homes which they term as suggestive so how do you explain a woman getting raped and murdered at a job interview?

Is there any place a woman can go without constantly looking behind her just to make sure no one is following her? When are we ever going to feel safe in a room full of men? Do you know how psychologically damaging living in all this fear is?

Here is to her dreams, her goals and her aspirations. It is clear as day, we have sick people walking among us.

The foregoing is Part 1 of an Opinion Article submitted by Polet Njeri Ouma to Pulse Live Kenya for publication. It does not necessarily represent the position of Pulse as the publisher.

Polet is a medical intern at Hacettepe School of Medicine, Ankara - Turkey. She is a frequent blogger and YouTuber, passionate about women & empowerment, Human Rights, Sexual Gender Based Violence and Gender equality. She has recently completed certified courses on Feminism and Social Justice, International Women’s Health and Human Rights and a course on African Development. She also volunteer’s with BBRC (Bridging Bridges for Refugee Children in Ankara).

The Editor's desk welcomes opinion pieces from our fans as part of our Contributors Initiative. At Pulse, we believe that every voice deserves to be heard.

Should you wish to submit an Opinion Article to Pulse, do so via contributors@pulse.co.ke.

If you or a person you know has been the victim of sexual or gender-based violence we encourage that you report the matter at your nearest police station. For further assistance in seeking legal redress contact any of the below organizations:-

  1. Gender Violence Recover Centre, Nairobi Women’s Hospital
  2. Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)
  3. The CRADLE – The Children Foundation
  4. African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN)
  5. Advantage Africa
  6. Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW)

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