March 8th as usual is the International Women’s Day when we celebrate the past and present women who have fought and sacrificed in big and small ways to make our families, societies and the world a better place.
This year, the theme of the celebration is #BeBoldforChange. To the men who stand with us and against us and to every woman, could you be bold for change? We ask that you be bold for change in attitude towards women’s plight, be bold for change in actions, from negative or lackadaisical to positive and active.
I just want to share a little story about an incident that occurred recently in my local area which made me proud of women all over again. (As told by one of the village women)
A guy impregnated a girl and declared his intentions to marry the said girl. The guy’s family refused even after the girl delivered a set of ‘male’ twins. The family alleged, wrongly too, that the girl was an osu. Osu is a caste system prevalent in the eastern part of Nigeria. They also were not comfortable with the place of origin of the girl. So for these two reasons, they refused the marriage but their son was bent on marrying the mother of his babies.
The guy’s mother, to prove her point, chased mother and babies out of her house where they were staying. The youth of the village packed them back in and warned the mother not to try that again.
Then the sister of the guy one early morning brought policemen to thier father’s house, jumped fence, and gave the police access to the house. The police promptly arrested the guy and took him off to their station in another town. All hell let lose at this.
The village women, through their female towncrier went round the community shouting to everybody’s hearing that every woman, old, young, cripple, so far as you are a woman, you must come out to this warring family’s house. Before you know it, the place was swarming with angry and agitated women of various ages and shapes.
These brave women of Umuoji in Anambra srate gave the guy’s family an ultimatum that the guy must be released that same day or they will face the wrath of the women. The women went ahead to go round their community chanting songs of anger against the mother and the rest of the family. By evening of that same day, they accomplished their aim and the guy was released and returned to his father’s house.
I will not bore you with petty details, only want to throw light on the power of a united women. They fined the guy’s mother and sister, excommunicated them till further notice and anybody found communicating with then will be fined too. The entire community stood still for these women. It might seem like a small feat but it speaks volumes. The town as a whole took notice of the case because of their activisim. The case is now in court because the sister alleged that the guy beat up their mother even though the mother said her son did not lay a finger on her. The women promised to continue their agitation till the matter is settled amicably.
How I wish that women will be bold enough to change and begin to stand together more. I wish that women will be their sisters’ keepers, that we will stand by each other through thick and thin instead of hating on each other and pulling each other down.
If the women in the neighbourhood of that victim of domestic violence can stand together with their sister and fight back, if the female judges and law enforcement agents could see themselves in the victims of rape and domestic violence and fight justly on their behalf, if my fellow female passenger could lend a voice when the guy beside me in the bus is sexually harrassing me, if only the female excisor would lay down her blades and knives and stand against female genital mutilation, if the late husband’s sisters could protect rather than join the men to intimidate their late brother’s wife and children, if only…
We can do it. This fight is ours first before the men, they will support us when we get serious about it. Time to act is now, not later, not tomorrow. United we stand, divided we fall.
Kudos to all the women who over the years have fought for their own rights and that of other women.
Society thinks she has to endure, even unto death.
I did not want to start this year whinning about Violence Against Women (VAW) but I’m so annoyed right now.
Between yesterday and today, I’ve read two stories from wives who were almost battered to death by their husbands respectively. My heart bleeds. My heart bleeds that a human being would want to hurt another who is obviously not as strong as he is and for what reason?
Both women have been enduring these violence for many years, both have kids with these so called husbands. Which is probably why they stayed on, hoping that they would change, but instead they get worse. Worse to the point that one locked his wife up in a room for two days after beating her to stupor, so that she cannot get outside help. He confiscated her phone too. I’m so spitting mad, Kai!
Now, when both issues came up for discussion, women, WOMEN for goodness sakes, were encouraging these ladies to pray and endure! Duhh. One suggested we hear from both sides before we can judge. What is there to judge abeg? Who is even talking of judging right now? What could a man who intentionally set out to murder his wife tell us? He did not stop at hitting her with matchetes and sticks but had to isolate her to await her death. What could possibly justify that behaviour?
These women have been married for like ten years each, four and three kids respectively. The battering did not start last week or last month. It has been going on for as long as they were in that marriage. Why stay? For the sake of your kids? For fear that society will see you as a failure or a wayward woman? Or because you have no family to run to? One of these ladies said that the first time she ran to her father’s house with her kids, that her dad sent her back on the grounds that he has received bride price and drank wine on her head. Therefore he cannot harbour them. What is that?
Maybe I’m feeling this way because I am single. Maybe I have no right to advice anyone on this issue, but I’m gonna say my mind anyway.
- PLEASE ladies, this is your life, it has no duplicate and you have the power, in fact, you are mandated by God to protect it. I do not think God will shake your hands if you die at the hands of a husband. Protect your life!
- Seek outside help from reputable Non Governmental Organisations, from the judiciary and from the law enforcement agencies if you are a victim, before it is too late .
- It is best to get yourself empowered no matter how little so that if push gets to shove, you can pick up your life and sojourn on your own.
- There is no worthwhile reason to stay on in an abusive relationship because if you die, people will find some other topic to gossip about. They will pity you at death and what use is that? Besides, if you die or become vegetable, what do you think will happen to your children?
- As for those on lookers that believe the victims should stay on in the marriage just because it is supposed to be for better for worse contract, I salute una! While you encourage her to endure and pray, be a little more realistic. That man is not going to change. He will make promises, he will beg and plead, he is still same inside.
Sisters please take control of your lives and your children. If we do not take care of ourselves, who will? NOBODY!
STAND UP AGAINST
For more on one of the cases, visit
November 25th to December 10th should remind us not just to say NO to violence against women and girls but to also protect them whenever and however we can.
Often times we erroneously believe that violence against women is limited to physical abuse like battering and rape. But when a woman/girl is abused to the point of causing her trauma,psychologically, emotionally or financially, it is an act of violence against her. The effect of the abuse qualifies it as one.
“ He told me that if I hung up, he’d do it. He would commit suicide. He told me that if I called the cops he would kill every single one of them and I knew that he had the potential and the means to do it
Sierra D. Waters, Debbie.
Typical example. It may sound simple but I guarantee you that it has far reaching effects on her.
I was at the salon this evening when a little child was almost run over by a bike if not for the vigilance of the driver. But what surprised me was that the ladies in the salon did not say one unkind word against the mother. She was walking in front, heavily pregnant with a huge bag of corn on her head and other market wares in both hands, leaving the child on his own behind her. Now here is the conversation that ensued,
Hairdresser:But why can’t the hubby take care of the boy since he cannot help otherwise?
Customer 1: When he is busy drinking local gin at the bar all day?
Customer 2:Chai! Women and marriage.
Hairdresser: He will stay there all day not contributing to the family upkeep and if she complains, she gets the beating of her life.
Customer 2: So if he stays there all day, how does he get the money to pay for his drinks?
Hairdresser: Probably taking/stealing from the wife.
And I was wondering why the hell she takes all that shit from him.
“ An abuser isn’t abusive 24/7. They usually demonstrate positive character traits most of the time. That’s what makes the abuse so confusing when it happens, and what makes leaving so much more difficult.
As the world marks this 16 days of Activism on violence against women and girls, may we all, male and female, victims, survivors, and spectators be that change we want to see. Speak up, educate, protect, finance the cause.
In what way would you help to STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN/GIRLS?
What would you do differently today to help STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN?
Teachers taking over from ‘uncles’ in the child molestation bill board chart?
There is this incident that happened in a private school in Lagos state recently which my friend who teaches in the school narrated to me.
A ten year old pupil of the school who recently relocated from the UK to Lagos with her parents reported to her parents that one of her teachers was molesting her sexually. The parents promptly took it up with the school authorities.
When the accused teacher got wind of it, he claimed innocence, and took offense that his name was being tarnished and quit coming to school even before the matter could be discussed by all the parties involved.
The school authority for reasons known only to them, sacked another teacher who was purportedly innocent but recalled the accused.
The little girl who was molested became agitated and her class teacher on seeing the girl’s distress called her aside and asked her what was disturbing her. She told the teacher that her molester was still around the school while the other teacher who had always been nice to her had stopped coming to school.
The teacher called the head teacher of the school and together they recorded the girl’s confession of what transpired which they made available to the school head.
The accused teacher was thus relieved of his duties with an apology and that was the end of it.
Recently there was a media report of same incident, another school, another teacher, different set of students, same state, same reaction from the school authority.
In both cases, the accused teachers were not apprehended, they were left to continue preying on little girls. Both schools, albeit many others, prefer exposing more kids to these molesters in order to protect their name. I bet you that the accused teachers in both cases have found employment in other schools and what are they likely to continue doing?
I know competition is stiff thus the need to keep everything hush lest these schools lose their students and pupils due to scandal. Yet if it had happened to the proprietor’s daughter, will he take same action? Would he not have handed the teacher over to the appropriate authorities for befitting punishment?
It pains me because many more girls will be forced to endure same fate which could have been avoided. If the matter was further investigated, I bet you some other girls from those schools would have come out to testify to having been molested by same teachers.
One thing I take away from these incidents is that parents have a great role to play in protecting their little ones. The ten year old girl who relocated newly from the UK was obviously better equipped to handle molestation than some of her peers who grew up in Nigeria. She was not the first nor will she be the last, but she had enough guts to tell her parents even though the teacher must have warned her otherwise. What did her parents do that the other parents were not doing?
I think communication is the first key. The girl was free enough to tell her parents what she was passing through. Can my children freely come up to me and share their pains with me? Am I physically and emotionally available to them always?
Secondly, knowledge is power. If you are not informed, then you become deformed physically or mentally. I believe her parents empowered her with the right information to fight such situations. Some parents still would not talk about sex and molestation to their kids when we know that the wrong information abound everywhere, even under our very noses.
Also, this brave girl was raised to have her own voice. Obviously, she was not raised to believe that she is a voiceless second hand citizen who should shut up and swallow whatever is shoved down her guts. She was raised to stand up for her right from a tender age. Imagine if she had remained silent like the others.
We cannot always be around to protect our children from all the dangers of this world, but we can empower them early enough to be able to fight for themselves.
Happy weekend y’all!