THE BLESSER. 

When I search #blessed  on Instagram, , there are 2 categories of women who pop up.  One is of women feeling #blessed by having God in their lives and the other is a group of many thousands of women who feel #blessed by a #blesser.
A Blesser is a popular name for “sugar daddy”, the name  having been made popular on social media. He is typically an older man, a man who may be married with his own children , and provides gifts and money to younger women in exchange for sex.  This is where the contentiousness begins : it’s an intergeneratial relationship and that makes us feel squeamish.  And it is this  very  age disparate sex that is causing havoc in young teen girls in South  Africa.
 Perhaps there is no difference between these two categories of women in how they feel blessed: one feels blessed by an Almighty Deity and .the other feels blessed by a man who  places himself on a pedestal , and   receives a god-like status as a man of wealth . A man who can finance a traditional family as well as one – or many- young women who make him feel as if he is God like. .
Before you begin the blame/shame judgment game, pause to consider the realities of growing up as a  woman in South Africa .
Perhaps you are  a woman who is “Blessed” .A woman who longs for an education and just cannot afford the fees. Finding an older man who blesses you with an education in exchange for sex may feel completely acceptable as a long term investment.
 Young women arriving at University , away from home, are vulnerable. It is shown that students who are financially insecure suffer the most both academically, physically and even emotionally. Having a Blesser is an escape route for them .
In 2017 a study  was done  at the University of Venda, South Africa, that sought to gain a better perspective on the involvement of female students in the blesser-blessee relationships.
Their findings indicate that Blessers play a vital role in the lives of female students. Those who are involved with blessers seem to be enjoying the benefits and the comfortable life of having someone who buys them food, clothes and shelter.
The findings that emerged from these interviews are  that most students are getting involved with “blessers” mainly for resources or material gain.The majority of the young females indicated that they wouldn’t be in a relationship with a person who doesn’t support them financially. Some indicated that if they would be in a relationship with a person who does not provide for them, they would find an alternative man ( blesser) who will support them financially,
Colloquially it is referred to  as having a “MInsiter of Love” and  having a “Minister of Finances”.
Blessers play a crucial role in the lives of young female university students as they contribute more to their financial needs such as paying for their tuition fees, accommodation and food.  In turn the Blessed  take advantage of the Blesser to get their basic needs met, upscale their living standing and their status among their peers. They want money ,  clothes, gifts and in return offer sexual relationships. Perhaps it is criminal juvenile prostitution, as it is named in many countries.   
 Maybe you are a woman who longs for fine dinging, a credit card, brand name shoes and an apartment at the sea. In exchange you have duty sex .  Id call you pretty blessed too.  Except Id call you a “wife”. After all is money not a factor in every relationship? Surely Blesser/Blessee relationships are just more honest? Is it not a modern way of dating?
Blesser-finder is a website on social network whereby blessers state a description  on how they want their blessees to look . It markets itself through slogans such as #UPGRADEYOURWORTH and #YOURPUSSYISNOTCHARITY, in an attempt to present itself as a source of female empowerment through their genitals.
. I raise this for you to be aware of any judgment that may pop up as you think about these young women who choose to be blessed in this way … is it really a choice ? Is it exploitation ? Is it coercive? Unlawful even ?
 Let us return to the “Blesser” and the “blessed”. And I ask you to consider that perhaps the Blesser is  being exploited.. Perhaps this is a relationship of consensual mutual exploitation . He wants to feel God-like and she wants to feel gifted with material possessions and a future. Money and sex are used by both to achieve these feel good feelings.
Great stuff I say. Im all for women making consensual  choices especially for advancing their education . By the way, I work with wives who discover that their husbands are Blessers and believe me , that is not  a pretty sight. These women are devastated by the duplicity of their husbands and struggle to understand the motivations of their older husbands. The empathy for the younger woman is often present as is the fear of being infected with HIV/AIDS/STI’s.
There is a deep down side to all of these  blessings. In fact it is creating havoc in South Africa. Imagine who needs  most to be blessed. It’s a young woman , even a girl-child, who is financially in dire straits, who needs basic necessities to survive. Her Blesser is a much older man who has had past  sexual partners, most likely is  married, and may have a number of Blessee’s .  Due to multiple partners , probably not consistently and correctly using condoms, he is at high risk of being HIV positive. He  may not know his status, may not be using ARV’s , PEP or PREP. Her chances of becoming  infected are very high. The possibility of an unwanted pregnancy is there. abortion access may be limited for her. Dropping out of school is  natural consequence . Are you counting her blessings?? Not many, right ?!
In 2016 the then  South African Health ministerDr Aaron Motsoaledi  announced a three-year campaign including measures to protect young girls from these imbalanced relationships. Motsoaledi told the BBC that girls between 15 and 24 from poorer backgrounds are at most risk of being targeted and exploited by blessers, especially those who have lost a parent to the national HIV/AIDS epidemic.
 If you are in a marriage or a relationship of equality, a hook up or an infidelity situation , how easy is it for you to insist on using a condom? Right !  Not easy . Consider the challenge you have if you’re young, he’s older. He offers you  money food and gifts  and you know you are there to please him sexually. That’s it. You’re there as a sexual Goddess. No way will you comfortably insist on a condom . And he insists on no condom.  Havoc !
Solutions lie in protecting younger  women through developing  and implementing  appropriate and relevant HIV prevention interventions for this vulnerable population. Make sure they have access to PREP,  so they can really be in control  of their lives by not getting infected as they make the conscious decision to find a Minister of Finance to survive or give them a start in life via education .

Until there is more socio economic parity in this country, less AIDS infected deaths of parents who leave young children to fend for themselves, less pressure for young women to want material goods and status in exchange for sex , less need for masculine toxicity and for men to feel God like , best we make life more livable for young women by providing free education, free PREP & PEP , and  access to free abortions.
For more information on BLESSERS contact me .

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