Musings, Silence

The Suicide Epidemic (Contagion)

I love my husband very much (with the title above, I am most certain this isn’t the opening line you were expecting). But as I was saying, I love my husband very much and yet we don’t share an interest in the same type of reading materials most of the time. I tend to get away from being sucked into reading anything he’s picked up or even school assignments or papers he has to write because the material serves as a snooze button for me. But to be fair, its not that they are boring, its that I don’t have an interest in them. Although, I try my best to to help him out and also develop somewhat of an interest in the titles he is interested in and skim/read through a few of them. This was the case when I stumbled on something very interesting and quite serious that inspired this post.

I was helping my husband read through ‘The Tipping Point by Malcolm Caldwell’ (I love Malcolm Caldwell books by the way even though I haven’t read a lot) and I didn’t even know it was his book when I agreed to help (#goodwife). We split the book into chapters and I got chapters 7 & 8 which I grumbled at (because I felt I wouldn’t know what the book was about starting at the end) but I still went ahead and read them.

I have heard of suicides on international TV but nothing local here in Nigeria that I recall (not saying there aren’t any, just don’t recall any or on national news either). I have seen / heard on global/international news children , celebrities, the elderly, parents (adults) committing suicide and even though I felt sad and mourned the loss, I never understood it.

However, reading ‘The Tipping Point by Malcolm Caldwell’ opened up a new angle of suicides and the epidemic surrounding them especially in recent times. In the society I grew up in and religiously, they are frowned upon. I believe that even when a member of the community does commit suicide, it would probably be reported differently. Maybe an Illness, homicide, ”his or her village people attacked” or God is blamed for it. Rarely is mental illness  mentioned as opposed to the western culture I’ve observed online when its almost always a case of mental health when the cause /reason of death is suicide.

In this book, the suicide epidemic / contagion in the Island of Micronesia is brought up and used as a case study along with the death of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and the rate of traffic accidents in relation to a highly publicized suicide. The research of ”David P Phillips” was used to explain this phenomenon of escalated suicide and traffic accidents right after a highly publicized suicide on TV or the newspapers. Below are snippets of his research not the whole thing because it isn’t my intellectual property, I will only post snippets and you can read the whole thing online.

This paper shows that suicides increase immediately after a suicide story has been publicized in the newspapers in Britain and in the United States,1947-1948. The more publicity devoted to a suicide story, the larger the rise in suicides there after.The rise in suicides after a story is restricted mainly to the area in which the story was publicized.Alternative explanations of these findings are examined; the evidence indicates that the rise in suicides is due to the influence of suggestion on suicide, an influence not previously demonstrated on the national level of suicides. The substantive, theoretical, and methodological implications of these findings are examined.

There was a reference to Marilyn Monroe’s death and its effect on the national suicide rate and how it rose to about 12 percent temporarily after the announcement of her death.

On the Micronesian suicide epidemic, read this article

HONOLULU, March 5— In the islands of Micronesia, young men are killing themselves at one of the highest rates in the world, researchers say, and no one knows what to do about it.

Suicides among males between the ages of 15 and 30 are so prevalent that they have become an accepted method of problem-solving in the island societies where harmony is highly prized, according to the Rev. Francis Hezel and Dr. Don Rubinstein.

”For several years suicide has been the No. 1 cause of death for youths in Truk,” said Father Hezel, a Jesuit who has served for nearly 18 years as director of Xavier High School in the Truk Islands, where the suicide rates are highest.

Father Hezel was the first person to notice the trend, in 1977, and he wrote a magazine article on the problem. Since then, he and Dr. Rubinstein, a researcher at Honolulu’s federally financed East-West Center, have collected many facts on the problem. But they do not yet have solutions, said Father Hezel, who is doing research in Honolulu as part of a year’s leave of absence.

Twice as High as in U.S.

…………………………………………….. read more on http://www.nytimes.com/1983/03/06/us/micronesia-s-male-suicide-rate-defies-solution.html

Finally, the purpose of this post is to share what I have learned, draw your attention to a different way of looking at suicides, what might be causing them and what are your thoughts on this issue and our communities.

I wasn’t going to write on this issue before because there is so much i don’t yet know or understand, but after hearing about the community in Ohio, I thought now would be the time to have a conversation about it, it might help someone.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below

  • should suicides not be publicized anymore?
  • what are the best ways to announce suicides publicly i.e news and news papers?
  • can this epidemic/contagion be controlled or eradicated?
  • why do you think people do it?
  • why do teenagers especially with the example of males in Micronesia more prone to commit suicides?

And if you know someone going through something be sure to contact professional help.

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hurt, Inspired, love, Silence

Silence 2. Rukkaya.

A mix of fiction and reality. Welcome to the stories of the unheard.

previous posts

I remember it like it was yesterday. The day everything I knew ended. Who knew that just when I was learning to play house with friends I’d have to play it for real; with a stranger.

The house would be real, the babies real and so would the responsibilities.

Who knew real babies were so much more different from my stuffed dolls? That they’d require this much constant attention?

Why wasn’t I told I’d have to entertain my husband’s guest and also look after the kids and the house?

That day still feels surreal. I was called by my mother and calmly told I was going to be married and how thankful and happy I should be that he had chosen me and the honor he was placing on my family.

I was ecstatic. What did I know about marriage and all it entailed? All I knew was that a couple months ago my friend     Amina  got married and we were all jealous of the gifts and attention she got. It was beautiful and oh so colorful. I had never seen that much clothes in one place.

So of course I was happy I would have the same. The new clothes and my own room. It was getting pretty crowded in my father’s house with the yearly births that was like a silent competition between my mom and step-moms.

I was in a daze as everything about my new life was planned out without a question posed to me as to what I wanted or how I wanted it, after all they knew best.

But I quickly got yanked out of that dream the day I met the groom and plunged into a fantasy. It was a year later. The wedding day was approaching and I guess I was finally old enough. I was fourteen. He was twenty years older. He’s handsome this husband of mine. So don’t get me wrong and think I was complaining, far from it actually because unlike my friend whose husband was quite ancient, mine was handsome and just thirty-four. A man in his prime I thought. I couldn’t stop staring at him. He was my first real crush and he spoke English fluently which I always wanted to do, I had fantasies of him teaching me how to speak properly and read.

He promised my parents I’d go to school and my future home was going to be in the city.

Fast forward a couple months later. I’m all draped out and lying timidly on the bed. The celebration over and I am in a strange room shivering like a wet dog and trying to remember the advice my mom gave me.

Was it lie still and it will pass quickly or was it encourage him and it will hurt less. What was she babbling about? I am not ignorant, my father raises animals so I know how it works. But it doesn’t mean that what my mom said made any sense to me.

The door creaks open and is gently shut. But in the state I was in, everything sounded loud and thunderous.

I won’t bore you with the details of my initiation into womanhood. Suffice it to say I learned a lot of things in the hours that followed.

  1. I was the 3rd of my husband’s wives.
  2. I wasn’t cutout for coitus if that’s how much it hurt and I had never prayed so hard he’d fall deeper in love with his other wives so as to forget my room and the consequent visits.
  3. My mother lied or maybe he’s different. It didn’t pass quickly by lying still nor hurt less by encouraging him.
  4. I could cry for hour’s non-stop.
  5. It was possible to feel shame even in marriage.

Other lessons were learned but everything in small doses even my story right?

Fast forward several months later to the present and why I am telling you this. My friend Amina lost her life in child birth and that was a wakeup call for me and prompted me to have a serious discussion with my husband about my future and how I didn’t want to end up like her. She was just thirteen and her baby girl is back home with her grandparents probably doomed to the same fate as her mom.

I am a bit lucky that my husband kept his word about my education and has promised to wait before I start having kids of my own. His first wife died a couple months after our wedding and her and the baby didn’t make it. He and the second wife got into a row and are now divorced. So it’s just the two of us. We talk more than we did when we first got married. And I have come to love and respect him in my own way especially since he now listens to me.

We currently sleep in the same room and I don’t break into a cold sweat like I used to. But not everyone’s story is like mine.

Break the silence!

 

Musings, Silence

Silence (Intro)

The followings post(s) under this Menu are original works of Sunesiss( Atomic Words.) They are a mix of fiction and the reality of the people I see, meet and live with.

Welcome to the stories of the unheard.

By January of 2016 a platform will be provided for those who want to volunteer in one way or the other or donate anything to the plights of people who’s identities I can’t reveal only with permission, but will finally be heard through this medium .

Feel free to email me if you have any such stories, questions or inquiries.

hurt, Musings, Silence

SILENCE (1).

A mix of fiction and reality. Welcome to the stories of the unheard.

My name is Amina, I am a twelve year old girl. This is the story of my life, short as it may be. Most of you don’t know me, some of you think you know me, others just ignore knowing me. But the thing is, I am not just telling my story, it’s about all the female children like me. I am speaking out on behalf of the girls my age and older. What you don’t know is that I am not supposed to tell this story to you. My tradition, culture and people support the happenings in my place of dwelling. If they didn’t, it wouldn’t be an issue, unless it’s a secret and I am not supposed to tell (oops, in that case then ssshhhhh…..).

But you see, I don’t know any other world apart from the one I live in, and the things I see affect me and others too. The sad thing is that the trend continues and it has the same pattern. This pattern isn’t just at my place; it’s an intricate thread work that has been laced into the entire quilt of our existence. I am not saying that there aren’t exceptions to this trend, I am just saying that it’s too common, outdated and out of style and season.

I know I am not supposed to complain since it is the way things have been since before I was born, and though it did not start with me, I want it to end with me. I know my fate; it’s inevitable, I have accepted it and go through with all that is expected of me. Putting on a brave smile; as I am expected to be acceptant, submissive and even worse; happy about this.

I cry out not just for me, I cry out for the thousands, millions with no voice or too scared to speak, terrified of being heard, petrified of the repercussions of their voices being heard. So they keep silent, indeed silence is the best policy because women are seen and not heard.

Men first, then children, then cattle, possessions and then women. Just like a piece of cloth in the market place, we are available by the millions.

Plenty and disposable.

We are like properties owned first by our parents, then traded off to bring in better streams of income. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not talking of child trafficking, or physical slavery, I am talking about the common practices in our communities which is far worse because it sinks deep and it’s lines are woven finely into our minds and we have fallen deep into the quick sand of its control that our minds are now slaves to it.

We are secure when we say nothing about it and our health and peace of mind is the better for it. I would not go as far as to say that the male child has it better, but I think it.

After all a girl can only bring her family honor (and financial security) in only one way; Marriage.

I am a child, not a woman. Yet I have lost my childhood. That innocence that only a child can possess. Now I have become a woman and most put childish things away, after all, my own child will arrive in a few months, yet I wonder daily what I would teach him or her when I myself I’m just beginning to learn.

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