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A lesbian who was raped by her pastor to “heal” her of being gay has spoken out about her experience ahead of the government consultation on a conversion therapy ban.

Angela Paterson is now 49 years old and living openly as a lesbian, but told the i that she’ll “never forget” her horrific experiences of conversion therapy as a vulnerable teenager.

Paterson joined Lancing Tabernacle Church in West Sussex, which at the time was led by reverend Max Donald, when she was 14.

When she was 19, in 1990, she became homeless. Donald was aware that the teenager was vulnerable, with a history of sexual abuse, and asked her to move in with him and his wife.

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Paterson said knew she was a lesbian, and believed what her evangelical church taught her – that being gay meant going straight to hell. Donald initially sent her to a counsellor for conversion therapy, but when that was ineffective, he embarked on four years of abuse in his mission to “heal” her.

The abuse began gradually, Paterson explained: “I’d be in bed and he would come into my room with a cup of coffee, sit on the bed and on the odd occasion touch my hair and say, ‘We really want to look after you.’ Then we would be in the lounge and he would just grab my hand.

“I was confused but I also thought, ‘This is a pastor, someone I can trust.’ Then I was at the fridge one night and he grabbed me and kissed me on the lips. I was really taken aback but he was trying to reassure me, [saying], ‘It’s OK, I just care about you.'”

The pastor told her that he could “heal” her of being a lesbian, and the abuse soon turned into rape as a form of conversion therapy.

Donald would tell her that the rape was “OK by God”, and she added: “As far as I was concerned, he was closer to God than anybody else… I thought it might work. I was a broken person when I moved there. So I stayed.”

Finally, at the age of 23, Paterson confided in the wife of a youth leader, and while they originally took her away from the pastor to a residential evangelical house, they soon sent her back. Once she returned, she was forced to “confess” to having an “adulterous relationship” with the pastor in front of the entire congregation.

Donald later also confessed “adultery” and left the church, and he passed away 2010.

In the years since she escaped the abuse, Paterson has tried to speak to various religious organisations about her experience, but has been dismissed or ignored, which she said has had a “huge effect on my wellbeing” and deterred her from going to the police.

“It’s another way of systematically shutting people down,” she added. “It’s so messed up and so patriarchal.”

In a statement to the i, Lancing Tabernacle Church said it was “completely unaware” of Paterson’s allegations, but insisted they would treat such claims “very seriously indeed”.

Now, Paterson has decided to publicly speak out about her experience ahead of a government consultation on conversion therapy which will “ensure that the ban can address the practice while protecting the medical profession; defending freedom of speech; and upholding religious freedom”.

Paterson insisted that any form of conversion therapy, from rape to prayer, causes huge “damage”, and that any religious exemptions “would still leave it wide open to abuses happening”.

She desperately wants to use her experience as evidence for the consultation, insisting she would speak to MPs “in a heartbeat”, and urged the government: “Get some people in a room who have had experiences of this and deeply listen to them.”

Anyone who has been effected by rape or sexual abuse can contact the Rape Crisis hotline on 08088029999 in the UK, or the RAINN helpline on 800.656.4673 in the US.

Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors (MACSAS) can also be contacted on 08088010340. Yahoo News

By FLEVIAN MUTIE

The sound of siren is heard from afar, getting louder as it draws close by. The urgency to rush grows every second, but the drivers in the front sit in their vehicles, stiff as stones, and unshaken, as the siren continues to fill the air, spreading through the neighborhood.  Lights do not turn, and traffic doesn’t open, eventually the ambulance runs through the rough pavement, in a struggle to reach the hospital in the soonest possible. Some drivers also pull out of the road in an attempt to evade the snarl up, and the result is a traffic gridlock all the way, that ends up blocking everything, including the ambulance.

Will the patient survive? The patient may have been in a comma or badly injured, and may not make it to the hospital, simply due to negligence, where a driver somewhere did not give way, and ended up delaying the ambulance more than expected. It is said that a little courtesy goes a very long way.

Courtesy is a very viable ingredient in our everyday lives. Like common sense, courtesy is vital to our daily lives in our society. However, it seems rare. Lack of courtesy prevails where rudeness, incivility and impoliteness dominate. Courtesy simply means treating others how you would like them to do unto you, and mostly not expecting anything in return.

With the road traffic increasing day by day, ambulance drivers face a tough task everyday of ensuring that patients get to the designated hospitals, and in the right time. Motorists, not just in Kenya or Africa, but all over the world, are advised to pave way for any emergency vehicle, either an ambulance, fire brigades, among other emergency service providers, because whenever it is seen, and especially with a siren and flashing lights, it means that a life is at stake, therefore, please give way. But this happens with very few drivers as everyone is always on the rush, even when traffic is at a standstill.

Dr Tim Kiruhi, a University Vice Chancellor says that nothing is ever lost through courtesy. “This is the cheapest of all the pleasures and it costs nothing as well, but it conveys a lot and sends a very big gesture. Courtesy pleases both those who give and those who receive, and thus, just like mercy, consequently, one gets to connect to a bigger network of humanity at a deeper and personalized level as they expand their knowledge and insights of humanity.” He says.

Kiruhi adds that on the unfortunate, Kenya’s current road transport system is worrying because the prevailing road traffic anarchy causes crashes that directly affect both the income and the economy, as a very huge chunk of money is lost through these traffic snarl-ups. He adds that  despite brimming with huge growth potential, Kenya has registered slow progress mainly due to lack of courtesy, sharing of the little resources that we have, in terms of infrastructure, water and electricity, among others, so that we can all thrive and expand together. 

He further states that in some western countries, motorists must give way to emergency vehicles by moving to either sides of the road to pave way for the ambulance upon hearing the siren. As a researcher, I discovered that over 18,000 patients transported in ambulances die annually in East Africa, with Kenya having the majority. “If only other vehicles gave way, we would be counting survivors, and not patients who have succumbed to conditions, because their lives could be saved if ambulances could reach hospitals faster than they do.” He says.

The NTSA Director General, Francis Meja, recently passed a law where all drivers should pave way for emergency vehicles. “All offenders will have their licenses revoked and will remain suspended and may even face charges in court due to the same. Even when an emergency vehicle, especially an ambulance doesn’t have a casualty on board, there may be a patient somewhere they are going to carry, the bottom line is that the refusal of drivers to stop or give way to an emergency vehicle lowers the chances of survival of a patient, either through a fire or critical illness, and the life may be lost, simply because the ambulance couldn’t reach them in the right time, so by giving way, we are saving lives. They should not drive fast before the emergency vehicle or trail it, it is unlawful. ” Says Meja.

Fredrick Gitau, a Nairobi resident says he drives to work daily, and he is faced with the traffic menace every day upon hitting on the road.  “With the courtesy call dictating that we give way to one another, the issue at hand is the Nairobi’s infrastructure. Some roads are so narrow that you cannot even pull out of the road to give way to anyone. The most ambitious project right now would be expanding the roads especially to ease such congestion and also ensure that emergency vehicles get to their designated destinations in time.  

 “Courtesy is a silver lining that subdues the dark clouds of civilization, and it’s the best part of refinement in many ways. It is an art of heroic beauty in the vast gallery of man's cruelty and baseness. I would like to call on fellow drivers to exercise both caution and courtesy, and also call on the Kenya government to continue with the launch and the implementation of the BRT system that flopped and halted, and by so doing we will be talking of problems half-solved.” Gitau says.

 

Construction workers are seen around spectators' seat area in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at Ariake Urban Sports Park in Tokyo, Japan June 22, 2021. Photo REUTERS/Issei Kato

 

TOKYO, June 23 (Reuters) - Alcohol, high-fives and talking loudly will be banned for the reduced numbers of Olympic ticket holders allowed into venues as organisers concede a "sense of celebration" will be limited at a Games already postponed by a year due the coronavirus.

Organisers have pushed ahead with preparations for the Olympics, still called Tokyo 2020, despite strong concerns among the Japanese public that hosting competitors from around the world could result in further COVID-19 outbreaks.

Compounding those worries, a second member of Team Uganda, an athlete, has tested positive after being given a clean bill of health just days ago upon arrival in Japan.

Media reports that organisers were considering allowing alcohol consumption in Olympic venues when sales have been restricted in and around Toyko over concerns it would increase contact and mingling in bars provoked an outcry this week.

The hashtag "cancel the Olympic Games" garnered tens of thousands of tweets, adding to wave of protests online and on the streets over the past months.

A crowd of people gathered in front of the metropolitan government headquarters on Wednesday evening to protest against the Games, with participants chanting "cancel Olympics", "stop the torch", "save lives", and "protect livelihoods".

A month before the opening ceremony on July 23, Tokyo Olympics President Seiko Hashimoto reiterated that organisers wanted a safe and secure Games.

"If our citizens have concerns (over serving alcohol at the Olympics), I think we have to give up on that. That's why we have decided to ban the sale of alcohol," she told reporters.

Sponsor Asahi Breweries (2502.T) said it agreed with the decision, calling the move natural.

Ticket holders, to be selected in a new lottery after domestic spectators were capped at up to 10,000 per venue, will also be asked to go straight to venues and straight home, to refrain from talking en route and should not ask athletes for autographs.

"The major challenge at the Tokyo Games is to curb a flow of people and limit a sense of celebration," Hashimoto said. "We are striving to make the Tokyo Games safe and secure, so it won't be full of celebration."

When Toyko won the Games back in 2013, it was greeted with a roar of approval and an outpouring of emotion from a country hailing the decision as the final step of the country's recovery from a devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami that set off multiple reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

UGANDAN CASES

Eight years on, that joy has been dimmed by the pandemic.

Japanese medical experts have said banning spectators is the least risky option but also given recommendations on how best to host the Games if spectators are admitted. Spectators from overseas have already been barred.

Hashimoto has defended the decision to allow spectators.

"I understand that holding the event without spectators would lower the risk, but there is evidence that there have been no clusters at other events and tournaments," Hashimoto told reporters on Tuesday.

Organisers said on Wednesday they would decide on whether to allow spectators at night sessions, taking infections into account, by July 12 when virus curbs are due to be lifted in Tokyo and some other areas.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has still not ruled out holding the Games without spectators if Tokyo is put back under a state of emergency, from which it only emerged on June 21.

The positive test for the Ugandan athlete followed a positive test for a coach upon arrival in Japan on Saturday, and after the rest of the delegation were quarantined.

Their cases underscore the challenges ahead for organisers to make the Games safe, with daily testing of athletes, who will be confined to a "bubble" and kept away from the public.

The second positive test was announced by the team's host city Izumisano in western Japan, confirming the rest of Team Uganda and a local city official who accompanied them from the country were close contacts.

Many Japanese remain sceptical about the possibility of holding even a scaled-down Games safely during a pandemic, with 619 infections reported for Wednesday in Tokyo, up 118 cases versus a week ago.

"I believe that it will not be possible to prevent contagion within the Athletes' Village," Masahiro Kami, the head of think-tank Medical Governance Research Institute, told reporters.

The arduous preparations for the Olympics also appeared to have taken its toll on organisers.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike was hospitalised on Tuesday after the metropolitan government said she would take the rest of the week off due to fatigue. - Chang-ran Kim/Sakura Murakami/Tetsushi Kajimoto, Reuters

Reporting by Sakura Murakami Editing by Gareth Jones

The government has closed a Muslim secondary school in Sagana, Kirinyaga County, and sent over 100 students home in a fresh crackdown on unregistered institutions.

Deputy County Commissioner Moses Ivuto said the director of the institution, Tahfidh-ul-Quran Academy Secondary School, was also arrested in the operation.

Mr. Ivuto warned those operating without following directives from the Ministry of Education that the law would catch up to them.

“Most of these institutions do not meet the minimum standards required and we will investigate this school director further,” said the Deputy County commissioner.

Ndia sub-county Director of Education Kamemba Kamande said the school director will be arraigned in court and charged for operating an unregistered school, further for going against the government’s COVID-19 guidelines.

The school boss is presently being held at the Baricho Police Station in Ndia, Kirinyaga West. By Johnson Muriithi, Citizen

The service was down for at least an hour by 4pm Wednesday, leading many users to air their frustrations on social media.

Attempts to use the service by press time were still unsuccessful, triggering an automatic response from Safaricom that indicated the company was working to restore the service.

“M-Pesa is currently unavailable. We are working to restore services and deeply regret any inconvenience caused,” the automatic message stated.

Most of the concerns raised indicated that unavailability of the service had affected transactions that involved using their phones to pay. 

Aside from the message prompt to users attempting to use the service, Safaricom, which powers M-Pesa, is yet to issue an official communication on the disruption.

M-Pesa app

The downtime comes at a time when Safaricom has introduced a mini-app feature on its new M-Pesa app, which comes incorporated with mini applications of services such as deliveries, ticket booking, shopping, licences applications, insurance, government services, and utilities which customers frequently need.

This is among other features of convenience on the new app, which the giant telco is banking on to expand its customer base. 

Services currently available as mini-apps include Madaraka Express train ticketing, long-distance bus booking with BuuPass, event tickets on Mtickets, shopping gift vouchers on GiftPesa Vouchers, insurance services on eBima, and gas delivery from Pro-Gas.

To lure more people into using the mini-apps, the telco will award customers who book train tickets on Madaraka Express with 10 per cent of the value of their tickets back into their M-Pesa accounts. The platform allows customers to transact offline and does not require data bundles to complete transactions. By Peter Mburu & Albert Mwazighe, Daily Nation

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