Caster Semenya – a little girl lost

As a parent, we teach our children acceptance. We teach them to accept themselves, their faults and their strengths. We teach them that different is simple that – its different. Not bad or wrong – just different.

We teach them to love themselves. To love their bodies. To embrace their overly curly hair that has a life of its own, or that their totally skew pinky fingers are unique and special or their freckles make them who they are. We build them up, every day.

I have no doubt Caster’s mother did this. I have no doubt she taught her daughter to love herself, to believe in herself. I am sure when she came home from being teased, as all children are at some point, she told her to not listen to them and hold her head up high.

But imagine, for one second that the WORLD is telling you you are ugly. Every time you switch on the news – any news, there you are with a comment about how you aren’t a women. Every time you drive past a newspaper vendor there you are – reminded that the world can not accept you. Every time you google your name – more reminders you are too different.

Imagine that?

I remember being 18. I was overweight, insecure and angry with the world (and the world didn’t even know me). My friends, even the thin ones were going through the same insecurities, the same anger and confusion. It comes with being 18 and standing on the edge of childhood, deciding when to jump into the frightening world of adulthood. It is one of the hardest times of our lives.

Now imagine feeling that AND having the world watching you – for all the wrong reasons?

Everytime I see this women on the news my heart aches for her. As a women, I can only imagine the depth of the scars that something like this will leave on her. Everything about who she is is being questioned. The very core of what makes us women is being questioned and analysed.

It is, for me, a disgusting show of human behaviour. It is one thing being accused of being a drug addict, it is another being accused of being you and the world saying that it is wrong. Drug addiction is a choice – Semenya had no choice as to how she was born.

What makes this all worse for me is that her times were never even that amazing. They weren’t the best in the world. They were just better than her times and the women she beat. Had she come 3rd or last – would the world have cared? Would they have attacked her like this?

What lesson does this teach our children? That we will accept you if you look a certain way? That you can achieve if you look like we want you too look? That its ok to be different as long as you don’t achieve great things? That it is ok to ridicule and insult and publicly hurt another human being?

Whatever one of those it is – none of them are lessons I want my children to learn.

Castor has received huge support. People arrived at the airport to support her. Articles, like this, have been written in support of her. Which is really awesome. But it doesn’t and never will take away the sheer defeat she must feel in her quiet moments. It will never make her feel accepted.

We have wounded a young women deeply.

Just need to add: I am well aware of the gene issues involved here and I accept them (to a point) but it in, no way make the way this women was treated acceptable.

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Laura Kim

Laura Kim

Laura is a wife, business owner and homeschooling mom. Her oldest, Cameron, is 18, about to finish school, Kiara is 16, Jack is 9 and Emma is 6. She works from home while also homeschooling her 3 younger children. She writes for mpaq Education, a curriculum provider for home, tutor and school education.

6 Responses

  1. You words are really soothing. You are a true mother who encourages good thing. Proud of you. Keep on sharing the wisdom with us. Caster must be proud to know that we share her pain as she has been prejudiced.

    Once again thank you for the support .

  2. Phaladi – thank you for your kind words!

    It is not easy. I have these internal battles daily too! But I do beleive that the biggest lessons we can teach our children are to accept who they are. To love themselves and be secure in who they are.

    Doesnt make the teasing that may happen hurt less but it stops them defining themselves by that critism!

  3. Laura, you are an amazing human being, I can say you almost see things from Caster’s mum’s eyes. I was very confused about the whole Caster saga, my son is 7yrs and has my features and body posture (small waist ,huge hips, african bum etc). My fear is if this doesn’t change he will also be ridiculed for the rest of his life. I have been trying to make sense of all of this until I read your article. Now I am just going to accept things the way they are, although scary.

  4. Thank you Laura, I have been trying to say these things for ages.. you really know how to word things!


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