>It is another 25th of November. It is another international day for the elimination of violence against women. It is another reminder of the role you can play to put an end to gender based violence.
Leave no one behind: End violence against women and girls . That is the theme for this year’s celebration and it advocates for the total elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls irrespective of their location or colour.
Gender violence and discrimination occur in developed nations as well as developing nations. The only difference would probably be in the magnitude and penalty.
An experience I had recently taught me that Violence against Women (VAW) does not necessarily mean physical violence. It cuts across emotional and psychological violence.
I dated and loved someone I thought was the best guy there was. Turned out he was not just a chronic womaniser, but he had very little respect for most of these women. I was blind to that part of him because he gave me 100% respect and what I thought was love. But when the chips were down, he made me realise he held little respect for the other women by the way he picked, used and tossed them aside. They were only there to satisfy his sexual desires. Their opinions, rights and feelings di not amount to anything. After all, they are ‘mere women’. As far as I am concerned, he exposed me as well as those other ladies to emotional and psychological violence and it was uncalled for.
I believe every woman, irrespective of job, color or location, has experienced one form of violence or the other. I recently listened to the Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Adichie speaking on feminism and I realised that even the celebrities are not left out of this inequality mindset. Personally, I am getting used to having waiters and waitresses greet and fuss over the man beside me while acting like I am not even there.
Image courtesy of http://www.chimamanda.com
But when the famous Chimamanda explained how it also happens to her, I could only laugh at our society.
Funny enough, some men believe VAW is a thing of the past while many more others believe the female victims asked for it. They ask, what was she doing in a room alone with a guy? She asked to be raped. Like seriously?
But for me, it is more painful when women themselves think through their anus by joining the men to ask such questions. Or when they spearhead the maltreatment of widows or fail to teach their sons to respect and care for their sisters. Who would blame a guy whose mother taught from childhood, that he is more important than his sister? That he can rough-handle the neighbour’s daughter if she refuses to dance to his tunes?
And what about those women that fold their hands and watch their husbands and sons and brothers, rape their daughters and nieces and cousins? They sacrifice the happiness and future of these young girls on the alter of ‘family name’. They stand and watch mutely lest they bring the family name to shame. Is that one even a family?
There are more female excisors than males, women who still believe that a woman must be genitally mutilated to please a man and keep the ladies loyal and pure – for the man. Excuse me!
No one deserves to be treated like an animal. No girl, no woman deserves to be violated, for any reason at all. There is absolutely no justification for violenece against women. I mean, how can you justify punching a woman senseless by saying she talks too much or rudely? Who punches you when you misbehave? Is she justified to rape the guy because he visited her?
Today, all of us, male and female, young and old, white or black, we are being called upon to make a difference, to help end violence against women and girls.
Will you stand up to be counted?
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2015
“When we unleash the power of women, we can secure the future for all”. – Ban Ki-moon in his International Women’s Day message 2015.
When I look around at all the poverty and suffering in our society especially with the women, I imagine a situation where all these suffering women are empowered. It would be a better wordl. That is what this year’s theme is all about. Those who said that if you train a female, you train the nation are not far from the truth because such empowerment has rippling effect.
This year, I want to enjoin all of us to use this medium to appreciate any woman who has made or is making an impact in your life or in your environment in whatever capacity, no matter how insignificant it may seem.
I know quite a number of them. Top on my list is my dearest mum, my heroine, my pillar, a wonderfully inspiring and strong woman of virtue. I hail thee dearest mum, you rock my world, any day, any time.
CHIMAMANDA ADICHIE. She is an amazing, award winning writer. I have a real soft spot for her and what she stands for.
I was even more intrigued when I read that she grew up in the house previously owned by another world acclaimed writer of repute, late Professor Chinua Achebe. Could that be part of the inspiration I wonder. Here is what she said about Achebe in an interview with Dana Tunca, “… Chinua Achebe will always be important to me because his work influenced not so much my style as my writing philosophy: reading him emboldened me, gave me permission to write about the things I know well.
Some of her works include Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, Americanah and The Thing around your Neck. Chimamanda is an inspiration to many youngsters because we can identify with her and her Nigerian background. She is doing Nigeria proud home and away as attested to by the many awards she has won already and she is only 38! BRAVO SISTER!
FUNMI IYANDA is a journalist that influenced me profoundly in my university years. I fell in love with her passion and excellence for her course. I remember sometimes she used to bring tears to my eyes with her programme, New Dawn with Funmi on NTA in those days.
Funmi is a fearless broadcaster per excellence, columnist, a philanthropist, a human rights activist, remembering she was involved in UN’s five day climb up Mount Kilimanjero to raise global awareness on its campaign to end Violence against Women and Girls in 2012. Funmi can be found everywhere there is good to be done, especially for the vulnerable in the society. She provides succor for the less privileged youth and women.
She has won numerous awards including Young Global Leader Award of the World Economic Forum, among others.
Her words concerning violence against women, “Men who beat their women should be excommunicated from churches.
FLORA NWAPA! I just love her. She was the first Nigerian female novelist, a publisher, an educationist and administrator. During the Nigerian Civil War, she was a force to be reckoned with in fighting for peace and reuniting refugee children with their families. She was a powerful man that strolled where some men fear to tread so much so that she was crowned Ogbuefi by her people, a title given only to the bravest of men, never women. Her literary proficiency however was what brought her to international limelight. If you attended secondary school in Nigeria and have not read some of her books like Efuru, One is Enough, and Never Again, then you are yet to arrive.
Her words; “When I do write about women in Nigeria, in Africa, I try to paint a positive picture about women because there are many women who are very, very independent and very, very industrious”. She saw herself as a ‘Womanist’ rather than a feminist.
Although she is late, her legacy lives on; she sure left her footsteps in the sands of time.
I also admire the likes of young Marilyn Anona of Omaliving Show and PoshMarilyn blog.
She was among the people that inspired me to take this leap into the blogosphere. She is a writer, a motivator, an achiever, a fighter. Ride on Ada Anambra.
Other women like Omotola Jolade Ekeinde the renowned actress, Linda Ikeji the famous blogger, Oluchi Orlando the model, Adesuwa Onynokwe the veteran journalist and a host of others, I appreciate for letting us light our fires from theirs.
I doff my cap to them, they are achievers, they have inspired and mentored many of us. They have shined like diamonds in a world dominated by men and that is no mean feat.
God bless women.
God bless the Nigerian woman
God bless the mothers of the land
You have the opportunity to give a shout out to the women you appreciate, women who have influenced you. You can honour them here with me.
Oopps! Am I not forgetting someone? Of course, the list is incomplete without Ebele Nweje of Alluring n Young. Hhahahaahaa. DUH!
‘DIVIDED BY WAR, UNITED BY LOVE’
We woke up again, to another cheery news, ‘The Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board Bans Chimamanda’s Half of a Yellow Sun’
Just another news to cheer us up from our slumber. But the question is, are we awake from this long slumber or do we need longer time to sleep?
I was elated to read that our own Chimamanda’s novel, Half of a Yellow Sun had metamorphosed into an internationally acclaimed film. Within weeks of its premiere, it has already become a hit on the international scene, if not in the home country of the Writer. Ironical, isn’t it? Only for my elation to be rudely turned into bewilderment over another news that the film has been banned in Nigeria. ‘Whatever for?’ I screamed, ‘our government thinks it will stir up more violence’, can you beat that?
I’m sure the insurgents didn’t need any novel, film or history to incite them to attack innocent civilians and make Nigeria a living hell for its people. The thinking that our past needs to be eroded to make our present and future peaceful is a mere wishful thinking, like living in denial and repression. An Igbo adage says that if you don’t know where the rain started to beat you, you definitely will not know where it stops. How do we move forward when we run away from our past? Without a past, is there a future?
Look how the Rwandans tackled their past decisively with their attitudinal changes, with movies like Sometimes In April and others. These books and movies helped pull Rwandans together, not tear them apart.
Biyi Bandele, the Director of Half of a Yellow Sun, was right in maintaining that “One of the reasons Nigeria is more divided today – 40 years after the end of the war – than it was before the war started, is because we have refused to talk about the elephant in the room.”
Should we pledge to be faithful, loyal and peaceful all over again for them to allow us watch our own movie about our own history?
Censors board/Nigerian government, the last time I checked, we still operate a democratic government,or has that changed without our notice too? Many people already read the book, so this is medicine after death.
Besides, banning the film will only make it more popular here and elsewhere, especially with the world already a global village.
I’m sure, some people already have access to the movie right here in Nigeria, so why deny Nigeria this boost to its economy because we are scared of our dreadful past?