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.