KARA SPEAKS OUT



The entertainment industry is worshipped for all its glamour and irresistible perks that it comes with but there's a lot more that happens behind those closed curtains and doors that the public are not always privy to.
A lot of women artists are falling prey to sexual predators desguised as producers, promoters and managers. These same individuals are taking advantage of the situation by asking for sexual favours in return and at times end up abusing the artists just to gratify their own sexual urges.
One female artist has decided that enough is enough and that it is time to not only name and shame these individuals but also bring them to book!

Having experienced abuse first hand, local rapper, KARA, was at pains trying to describe how hard it was for her to come out and all the emotional turmoil she had to go through.
"I understand the industry is domimated by males but why can't they accomodate us and not see us as sexual 'appertizers'...? I felt vulnerable and weak each time that it happened and of course I hated myself for having to act polite during those moments ...I exhausted all my pyschological defenses so that I could see myself as not weak and vulnerable anymore.
" I had to sum up the courage and confront the people who just ended up saying 'sorry'. At one time this other guy told me it was weed that had infuenced his actions when I confronted him", said KARA aka 'Jechakoso' as she is affectionately known to her followers.

As one of the fastest rising female rappers on the local scene, KARA said she had to make full_use of her new found fame and status to not only highlight but find ways of addresing this issue.
"What motivated me was that I now have the chance to be heard even though the platform is small, I believe in taking small steps to achieve greatness. I was growing tired of seeing other females being exploited without knowing it or how when they reported it it, it was brushed off (for example, Tiara Baluti was ignored).
"I can lose them rappers as 'friends' but I'd rather keep no friend than keep a fake friend, what if he tries it again on another female and this time he wins because I did not speak out? it becomes a cycle", she said.

The hiphop artist said that her hope was that by coming out and speaking against this scourge, she could inspire other women out there who might be suffering in silence to do the same and at the same time bring in the relevant legal and women bodies in the fight.
"At the end of the day I just want people in the hiphop and enetertainment circles to understand that of course we are females but other than that we have the same talent as males so why exploit our sexuality? Most Female rappers have been through that either they did it, some did not and some just saw this hiphop career as a waste since each time they wanted to record, do a video or be promoted, a sexual favour was asked of them.
"Many are failing to find the voice to say it out but I think since I have gotten the ball rolling, we can and should expect change and more disclosure from the girls. I think hiphop has lost too many talented female artists due to sexual harrasment. Noone is suppossed to sell us dreams that we ourselves can work hard for. Women Organisations must support females in the entertainment industry. The Zimbabwe Women's Lawyers Association can tackle the problem through legal channels and this acts somewhat as a protective barrier for us females to be empowered, have a voice to speak out against these people.
"What needs to be done is to create or found committees/organisations which empower women in the entertainment industry. Legal action is supposed to be taken against these sexual predators", said KARA.

The Harare-based hiphop star believes that it starts with the women artists themselves and she spoke at length about how they could go about limiting the risk of falling prey to sexual exploitation.
"I need other females in the entertainment industry to know that it is not right to be asked of any sexual favour so that you can have or gain something in return. I want females to understand that nothing is for free, everything has a price to be paid for. We need to value ourselves as entertainers in order for us to be respected by our male counterparts and avoid being exploited. We can like free production all we want but the truth is, this increases our risk of being sexually exploited. Lets save money to buy beats, lets save money to record, lets save money to promote ourselves so that at the end of the day these sexual predators don't have a chance with us", said the rapper.

She also shared how she herself having fallen victim to such traumatic experiences initially felt vulnerable and ashamed but eventually gathered up the strength to speak out, something she encourages other women to do.
"I did not report it at that time because I was ashamed of myself, ashamed that I had trusted people, ashamed to tell others that this had happenned to me. I was afraid to be labelled because of these constant scenes. I only saw the importance of confronting the perpetrators but I never saw the change that could happen if I reported it publicly, until now. Back then, I felt I did not have the courage to face the world and tell them my story but today I want my fellow women to know that they no longer have to be scared to speak out or feel ashamed. Let's unite and fight against sexual exploitation", said KARA.


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