Namibia’s First Lady Monica Geingos has gone viral in a video clip of her standing up against internet and social media trolls.
In a video released to the First Lady’s social media on Monday, Geingos details how she has been berated by trolls throughout her career, who have called her “fat, ugly, stupid, and too ambitious” among numerous other degrading and misogynistic comments.
"I've decided that enough is enough... I will not be silenced anymore," she said in the video.
The First Lady took the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, “Choose to challenge”, to heart, and used the video not only to challenge gender stereotypes and cyberbullying, but also to challenge citizens to stand up for women who are experiencing similar forms of abuse.
“Change does not come without challenge,” Geingos said, “I am challenging gendered insults this Women’s Day.”
A series of abusive social media posts that had been directed at the First Lady are shown throughout the video, as Geingos used them to highlight the harmful implications of gender targeted insults. She also noted that staying silent in the face of these insults did nothing but hurt her and her family, and said that she has recently instituted a defamation lawsuit because of cyberbullying.
“I will not be silenced anymore, especially not on Beyoncé’s internet,” the First Lady said. “If I allow myself to be silenced, bullied, and insulted, I may be signalling that this kind of conduct is okay, that it’s normal.”
She took a moment to address other women who are experiencing the same thing and reminded them that they are not alone, and then went on to explain that gendered insults only perpetuate violence against women.
“Disrespecting women is an important enabler of gender-based violence as it reduces women to objects,” she said.
Geingos’ video comes just five months after protests erupted across the country calling for the protection of women. For years Namibia has been dealing with gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide and in October last year, the country’s women took to the streets of Windhoek to demonstrate against violence against women.
Namibia made international headlines for what became the #ShutItAllDown protests against GBV that brought the country to a standstill.
“Power does not concede without a demand, and neither does patriarchy,” Geingos said in her video, referring to the need to challenge gender bias.
“Next time you see a woman going through crude forms of abuse, remember this: it’s not what they think about that individual woman, it’s what they think about women and their place in society. Challenge it. By standing up for one woman, you stand up for all women,” she ends.