Relatable

This has been such a stressful week at work. Usually when a Data Quality system is being developed a client will hire both myself and a developer to design and build the system and reports.

My current contract obligation was primarily to document the metadata for a new data lake analysis environment being built and the data quality system was a ‘nice to have’ not a requirement. But to document the metadata I had to do data analysis and our methodology is to define the data rules as an output of that data analysis, so I have documented over 600 data rules. As the client did not have the budget to also employ a developer from my contract house I was provided a junior developer that works for the client to do the build.

I didn’t mind that he was unskilled in development, or that he was a junior as I’ve mentored new developers before. The key is attitude. A good developer loves a challenge. They also adhere to deadlines or they escalate issues in a timely manner. However this developer has such a large ego he cannot admit he has problems until he is way over his deadline and he seems to be unable to concentrate long enough to keep his head down and make progress. He is seldom at his desk, especially in the afternoons. As a result we have only managed to build and test less that 100 rules in the almost 8 months I have been on site. I roll off the project at the end of the month and want to achieve as much as possible. The client moved the dev to sit next to me so I could keep an eye on him. This week when I was doing my status report I asked him about progress. I asked what he had achieved in the days I was unable to work due to my PC being out of commission (an issue which was due to him unplugging it and corrupting my hard drive). I was also off sick on Thursday and Friday so basically I expected vast progress in that week. He said he spent three days on performance enhancement and so I asked for run time statistics on a run prior to optimization and a run after this optimization in order to gauge the success of his efforts. He knew I was seeing through his BS and he had obviously not achieved anything so he went into defense mode and screamed loudly at me ‘you are not my manager’ and swore at me and stomped off in a huff. It is like dealing with a temperamental toddler. It was so offensive to me for a man to verbally abuse me and to try and intimidate me so I reported his behavior to the client. As a survivor of domestic abuse if a man raises his voice to me it badly triggers my anxiety.

The dev decided not to communicate with me after his tantrum on Tuesday morning. He put on headphones and ignored me when I spoke to him. Even if I tapped his desk to get his attention he ignored me. When he is confused (which is often) he makes a noise like Scooby Doo, a sort of high pitched ‘huuunnnhh’? He knows I am noise sensitive so he drummed loudly on his keyboard while smirking. He refused to respond to my emails or answer my questions. How can I manage a project with no communication?

The client (his line manager) returned to the office on Friday (appropriate that it was the 13th) and we three had a meeting to discuss the issues. The dev lied and denied any personal attacks and at one point even whined to the client ‘tell her to stop looking at me’!

I’ve never worked with such a petty childish person.

Basically he was told that I am managing the project and he has to man up and communicate with me and he needs to make progress.

This project has been so stressful in regards to the lack of accountability for his attitude about work and failing to meet targets. I’m used to tight project timelines and accountability if you do not meet your deadlines. I’m relieved I finish at the end of the month even though I really like the client and the environment but I am happy to leave this developer behind.

11 more days……..and yes I am counting.

Last week I read about Nora, the young girl with special needs who went missing from her Malaysian hotel in the middle of the night and was found over a week later naked in the jungle, dead from starvation and stress.

A lot of people could not believe that no foul play was involved as she was found naked, or that she could not find her way back to the resort where her family were staying as she was discovered relatively close. However I could completely relate to this young girls fears.

Back in the early 90’s I spent a few months in Brunei with my boyfriend who was working there. Brunei borders Malaysia and while there I participated in ‘Hashing‘ which is similar to orienteering. The group all start out together as you enter the jungle but the more fit runners end up distancing themselves quite a bit from the unfit (aka me). I was running for a long time on my own and eventually got completely lost. If you have never been in a jungle it may be impossible to comprehend just how dense the vegetation is. The light is always dim due to the trees and vines which completely obscure any light getting through. It was incredibly hot and humid and after a while I stripped down to my underwear as I was dripping with sweat and my clothes were as sodden as they would be if I had swam in them and were chafing me. The sounds of animals surrounded me, I could hear so many unidentifiable terrifying noises and hear things crashing invisibly through the brush around me.

Eventually I ran into another girl who was also lost. She had given up and was just sitting crying by a stream. She and I hugged each other, held hands and walked together until the rescue group eventually found us. By then it was completely dark and we could see nothing.

When I finally emerged from the jungle, dripping with sweat, filthy and crying I punched my boyfriend in the face.

So I could completely empathize with Nora. I felt such sadness thinking about how frightened she would have been. I feel such pain for her parents.

The issues I posted about in my last blog are still ongoing in South Africa. We continue to read about the death, rape and abuse of women and girls by men and the patriarchy shown by men who defend these attacks with their ‘not all men’ bullshit or the ‘women should not dress like whores’ blaming the victim defense.

A taxi driver was captured by private security guards after he allegedly raped a female passenger for 10 hours in his van. The traumatised woman said the suspect beat her up before raping her and she thought he was going to kill her too.

Today I read about a 3 year old girl who was raped by her friend ‘s father. The child’s mother went to the police 5 times over 4 days and none of the police would believe her or take her information down or open a case. Eventually the child’s older sister posted about it on Facebook and when the story went viral the police finally responded. However when they came to the mother’s home they brought the accused with them. The accused was charged but has been released on bail. As the victim said the man also rapes his own child this man should be locked up, not released.

A 57-year-old man was arrested in the Western Cape for allegedly raping a 1-year-old baby in Mitchells Plain in August.

The horror goes on and on.

On the 21st of this month there is another March planned to protest femicide.

People keep asking what is to be gained from protesting as if we should sit and wring our hands and await a white horse and a knight.

Fuck that.

Here is a summary of The Total Shutdown’s demands to government contained in the memorandum handed to the president at the Union Buildings on August 1: 

“1. A commitment never to appoint any individual who has been implicated or minimises the causes and consequences of GBVAW to Cabinet or to lead a state institution and a commitment to announce the dates of a national gender summit.

2. A review of past national action plans to end GBVAW with a view to understanding why they failed and that the Ministry of Women in the Presidency be tasked with managing the review. 

3. The development of criteria and screening for appointing individuals who are tasked with leading efforts to end and respond to GBVAW. 

4. The development of a National Action Plan on gender-based violence whose terms of reference will be determined by the review process envisaged under demand number two. 

5. The resuscitation of the Joint Monitoring Committee on the Quality of Life and Status of Women, and that a prerequisite for committee membership is a proven track record on working on GBVAW and gender diversity issues.

6. The establishment of accountability and oversight mechanisms to ensure that an adopted National Action Plan is implemented. 

7. Focusing on the prevention of re-victimization and re-traumatisation through the establishment of a well resourced national hotline that will enable survivors to request and receive information on support services. 

8. The provision of prevention services and information on GBVAW with a view to raising awareness on the different forms of GBVAW, preventing violence and changing attitudes.

9. Training to provide legislators with information on the key features of drafting legislation to develop laws aimed at combating GBVAW and promoting gender diversity and equality. 

10. Consistent sentencing and enforcement of existing laws, in particular, the minimum sentencing legislation in sexual and domestic violence cases and that the judiciary stops using harmful and negative gender stereotypes.

11. The prioritisation of the provision of legal aid to victims of GBVAW including those who want to hold the state accountable for its failure to protect them from violence and those who have been subjected to lawsuits for publicly naming perpetrators.

12. Sensitisation and adequate training regarding diverse gender identities and LGBTQIA_ minorities for members of the judiciary and their resource providers. 

13. The provision of psycho-social support, or funding for such support, to victims and survivors of GBVAW including a publication of a referral list of the places where the service will be provided. 

14. A commitment to beginning a process to develop a comprehensive law on addressing GBVAW. This includes engaging the South African Law Reform Commission to begin a consultation process. 

15. Recognition that intersecting forms of oppression heightens women’s vulnerability to GBVAW and that these factors are taken into account during the investigation, prosecution and sentencing. 

16. That the existing Thuthuzela Care Centres’ resources be developed and vacant posts filled and that the centres be established as places of safety and care for all gender identities who are survivors of GBV.

17. The introduction of an automated national registry for protection orders. 

18. Provision of gender inclusive shelters and interim housing to enable womxn to escape abusive relationships and a list of those shelters to be confidentially shared with relevant service providers. 

19. Registration of GBVAW cases in hospitals and the provision of information on support services available to survivors of GBVAW, as well as ensuring that an effective referral mechanism is put in place. 

20. Publication of a monthly list of police stations and police officers who have been reported to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate for failing to provide services to survivors of GBVAW.

21. Adoption of a policy to make prosecutor-led investigations of GBVAW cases compulsory in order to provide guidance and assist in the gathering of evidence in order to ensure that cases are taken to court.

22. Publication of a national training schedule on GBVAW and gender diversity for all relevant government departments including home affairs,  social development, justice, safety and security and health.

23. A sustained media campaign for 365 days by all departments led by Government Communication and Information System providing information including awareness.

24. Government should ensure that laws, policies, practices and systems are sensitive to gender diversity to protect the bodily and physical as well as the psychological and emotional integrity of transgender and GNC people from GBV. 

* Each of the 24 demands was assigned a deadline, some of which have already passed without being met.”

Norm and I started watching a Netflix series just released in SA which is called ‘Unbelievable‘ and coincidentally is about how the patriarchy can affect victims of rape. The main character is raped, reports it and subsequently withdraws the charges due to the mental stress caused by the ordeal.

Unbelievable is based on a true story and can be both heartbreaking and enraging at the same time. It can be hard to watch.

The police and all support personnel should be female. A victim of trauma should not have to lay bare her soul to a representative of the gender who caused that trauma. If you don’t have a vagina, you cannot comprehend the dehumanizing effect of rape.

I did have one good thing happen this week thanks to my darling hubby. He booked tickets for us to spend three weeks with my Mother over the Christmas holidays. We went to see Mom last year but as my Mom paid for the flights we kept the cost down as much as possible and took a longer flight with a long layover in Qatar. It was a 38 hour trip which was so exhausting. This trip we have a short flight to Johannesburg and then fly direct to Atlanta. We will take the shuttle to Chattanooga and Mom will collect us from there which is about a 30 minute drive to her house. We will have a few days to adjust before Christmas which we will spend with family. We have booked our dog and house sitter so the house and animals will be safe and well looked after.

I am so excited! I am trying to focus on that.

Panda has also continued to improve and he can now jump off the couch or bed, he can go down the front stairs and get both in and out of the doggy door so we no longer have to take him out to wee or poop.

He still has to master jumping up and going up the stairs. But he’s making brilliant progress.

Norm has been very busy with work but still looked after us even if he did not manage to cook every night.

He cooked fillet steaks, fondant sweet potatoes, creamed spinach and roast beetroot one night. It was so delicious. The steaks were charred outside and nice and pink inside.

He cooked Kassler chops (aka gammon steaks) and served them with chips, coleslaw and the remainder of the beetroot.

We had takeaways on the nights he was out doing workshops all day. We had Chinese from the Blue Lotus one night. I had crispy chili chicken with prawn dim sum.

I have had a lazy weekend as I’m still coughing and my sinuses are full of crud. I had a long lie in bed yesterday playing games and reading. Norm brought me a frothy latte in my fave mug.

Panda kept me company as Norm was in his office working.

He loves tummy rubs. I meant Panda, but Norm probably does too.

Norm popped down to Spar while I was showering. When I finally emerged downstairs about lunch time I made a yummy simple lunch of roast chicken, potato salad, coleslaw and a green salad from what he had picked up in his shop.

We have also been pretty lazy today but after the traumatic week I had and the busy one Norm has had we needed time to rejuvenate before we do it all again next week.

I hope you all enjoy the remainder of your weekend and that you have an easy week ahead.

Wish me luck next week.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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