Jacinta Wambui; When I Sit Next To Men, My Legs, and Body Become Weak

Jacinta Wambui, a 24-year-old woman hailing from Kenya, has a unique perspective on life, particularly when it comes to her feelings and thoughts about the male gender. Her perspective stands in stark contrast to that of many women her age.

Jacinta has bravely stepped forward to address a condition that has cast a shadow of immense anxiety over her daily interactions with men. She acknowledges that when these encounters occur, and they are inevitable, she is overcome by an unusual fear.

She attributes this psychological condition to her early years, stating that it’s been a battle she’s fought since childhood. Jacinta describes her experience, saying, “Sometimes I wonder how I can carry a sign that says, ‘I don’t want to talk to anyone,’ because everywhere I go, many people ask me why I am so quiet. And, of course, the situation I am going through is extremely difficult.”

The world of fear Jacinta navigates is referred to professionally as ‘androphobia,’ defined by mental health experts as a fear of people or anything related. Additionally, Jacinta grapples with the challenge of socializing with people like others do.

Initiating conversations or participating in any form of dialogue is incredibly difficult for her. “There’s a difference between being shy and having a condition like mine, where I get extreme anxiety when I’m around people. I’ve avoided places with crowds as much as possible.

When I’m unable to avoid being among people, my body starts trembling, and my heart races unusually fast. It’s as if I break into a sweat when I can’t escape,” Jacinta says.

This condition has profoundly affected her life, preventing her from pursuing romantic relationships or even forming friendships with men or those of her age group. She struggles with everyday activities, like eating in public, and feeling constant anxiety when people watch her.

Jacinta explains, “My life has been marked by loneliness. Even now, I can’t even date or be considered as part of my age group because of the fear that surrounds me. For example, it’s very difficult for me to eat when people are watching.

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Every time, I feel nervous even going into a restaurant and eating while people are watching me. If I have to go to a restaurant, I’ll look for a place where I can face the wall.”

But why does she fear all men? Jacinta Wambui responds, “The fear I have towards men has affected me so much that, at my current age of 24, I have never been in a relationship, never been courted, and I’ve started wondering how I’ll survive alone.”

She confesses that it’s not that she’s unattractive to men; it’s just that when they approach her, she avoids them hastily. “I can count up to 15 to 20 men who pursued me for relationships, but when they get close to me, I avoid them quickly. Some of them might think I’m shy, but it’s a severe fear of all men.”

Jacinta Wambui feels as though her mind perceives men as threats, causing her to instinctively shy away from them. Even men within her family, like cousins and uncles, are not exempt from her avoidance behavior. She’s never had a male friend in her entire life, even those she works with.

Her childhood experiences haunt her, especially an incident involving sexual assault that went unaddressed.

“This whole situation stems from abuse. I see men as threats as if my mind has been conditioned to view all men as potential harm-doers. Even when I interact with them, I feel distant and detached. I can’t have normal conversations with them for long; I’ll be there physically, but my mind is elsewhere,” Jacinta explains.

Jacinta didn’t initially grasp the impact of the sexual abuse she endured as a child on her future life. But she began to question why she was so afraid of men, believing that one should not naturally fear another gender.

However, Jacinta Wambui never received the psychological and emotional support she needed during those traumatic times. As a result, she now believes that her silence about the abuse has had severe psychological consequences in her life.

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She had a breakthrough moment when, after years of struggle, she realized that she needed help. A relative connected her with a psychologist, and Jacinta began to work through her fears and anxieties. However, seeking professional help was not an easy decision, given the stigma surrounding mental health in Africa. But it marked a turning point in her life.

Jacinta started to make progress, and by looking back at her journey, from being a timid high school girl to where she is today, she recognizes the tremendous strides she has made in overcoming her fears, anxieties, and phobias. She’s still on her journey to healing, but she’s no longer defined solely by her past struggles.

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