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
2015 September saw the emergence of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. Many women groups and organizations are thrilled because the goals when achieved are supposed to help in gender equality and women empowerment. Some of us wonder why there is so much hype for these gender issues, after all, women are better off now than they were in the days of our fore fathers. What more could they be agitating for?
What more do women want? They have voting rights, they have access to education (sometimes), and their choices concerning basic things in life have improved tremendously to the point that there are female presidents and prime ministers nowadays. Do they want to become men altogether?
Take a look at these few scenarios with me.
Madam Chinwe is a twenty-five year old mother of one who is pregnant with her second child. She is about six months gone when the midwife in her village discovered that she tested HIV positive. The midwife referred her and the husband to the government hospital in town for a confirmatory test but the husband for reasons best known to him, cancelled the idea. Now, Madam Chinwe is supposed to deliver in a month or two, yet she is not sure if she would be endangering the life of her unborn child and that of the health workers, and even herself. She has no means of income, an illiterate petty farmer, thus, she cannot afford to disobey her husband and seek medical help on her own. I believe that a little education and empowerment would have made all the difference.
I met Mrs Okwuchukwu about two weeks ago in a maternity home where she was shedding tears because she lost her baby boy at birth. The health personnel informed me that she came to the maternity few days before her due date with high fever and other symptoms. After the necessary tests, she was diagnosed with hepatitis and was promptly admitted at the hospital. After the preliminary treatment, she felt a bit relieved and requested for discharge which was denied due to her condition. However, she and the husband persisted and the medics had to insist that they sign that it was their choice before they could leave the maternity. The next day, she came back, still very ill and in labour. Unfortunately, the baby died at birth. Do you know why that young woman took that stupid risk? MONEY! It was later that her mother was narrating to the nurse that they had no money for hospital admission. Do you think that Okwuckukwu would have taken that risk if she was enlightened enough to know the implications of a pregnant woman neglecting her health? Would she have been that daring if she could support herself and her family?
A young woman in her late thirties visited a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in the outskirts of Abuja seeking assistance. She was recently widowed, uneducated and jobless with nine little children. How was she supposed to cater for this large number of children? She took some of them to orphanage homes and left the tender ones with her. How did she even end up giving birth to nine children in this 2015? She was not well tutored in family planning and the little she learnt, her late husband refused to oblige and beats her up whenever she refused to give him show. Upon her husband’s death, his family took everything and left her poorer than before.
These are just a few basic instances, like a tip of the iceberg, the key reasons for the agitation for women empowerment and gender equality. Every woman that wishes to, should have the power to choose what she wants to do and when she wants to. Her body, her talent, her time, resources are hers to use just as those of the man are his.
All that women desire is to have the power to make decisions, the power to choose and to act, are they really asking too much?
They say men are from Mars and women from Venus. Yet, there is this need, basic to all of us – the need to love and be loved. Falling in love and feeling romantic about someone is one of the best feelings any of us can ever experience, male or female.
We all strive to achieve loving and lasting relationships, especially the ladies, at least I do. But often times, we do the opposite, which I’m also guilty of, and end up wondering what happened, we start blaming the witches and wizard from the village and all that. We fail to start the blame game with ourselves.
In response to the drama put up by the ladies, the guys came up with their own complaints – that the women do very little or nothing to enhance the relationship except complaints and criticism.
I don’t think the men are right, rather, I think the ladies are doing the right things the wrong way, albeit, unwittingly.
Let’s take for instance, this experience. My friend BB is every woman’s dream, caring, generous, confident, dependable, courageous, good looking, brilliant, you name it, he’s got it. His Achilles’ heel however, is that he does not and cannot tell the lady he loves that he loves her! He will show her in every possible way that leaves very little room for doubts as to his feelings towards her, but say it or write it? No way, he just can’t. He is not cut out for any emotional drama, in fact, like I always tell him, I think it scares him silly. He’d rather show her or DO any other thing than start discussing love, feelings and emotions. However, his babe, just like many other women, wanted, no needed him to say those ‘I love you’ words, at least, once in a while if saying it always will kill him. But my guy just cannot say or write them even though the feelings are there. Things came to a head when the lady in question started whining and complaining that he doesn’t love her. Hear the last straw:
“Sweetheart, I know you do everything to make me happy, you show me that you care in so many ways, in fact, you are my one in a million. But I NEED to know, do you actually love me because you never say it?” and my friend BB was like,
“What? Do you even need to ask that? After everything you can ask me that?” his girlfriend replied,
“I asked because, sometimes, it seems you care so much about me out of pity and duty not out of love. I’m the only one that uses those words in this relationship. But never mind, it is ok”
But my girl did not know that it was not ok, that in fact, the relationship died that moment. After then, the guy stopped caring so much. The communication between them became like that of two casual friends speaking to each other through a fence, a big barrier.
That became the way of that relationship. If they get back together, it will be by the grace of God because my friend hardly forgives, especially when the sinner is a loved one. That is also the way of many relationships.
LADIES, often times, your man loves you, even more than he admits to himself. Men are naturally not as loquacious as women. They see constant communication as obligation. So learn to read him and interpret his emotions without him having to say or explain everything as you would as a lady.
If his actions often match his words, then why not trust him?
We need to build our self esteem and confidence as ladies. Know and appreciate your self-worth so you won’t need to cling to the guy as if he were a life support machine. Get a life. Be good and generous to yourself first. It is only when one loves oneself to the brim that the love can overflow the other person. That is why the good book said we should love our neighbors as ourselves!
They say we bring nothing to the relationship, but we do, maybe we actually bring excess therefore, our expectations are way up. That is when we begin to manipulate them to love us, to commit. But what we should rather concentrate on is being our good selves always, share your emotions and frustrations with him in a compelling and attractive way. Don’t hurl them at him, do not be a drama queen.
Allow him to pamper you and make you happy, you deserve it, then do not fail to reciprocate and show gratitude. Some of us are like parasites, we only open our hands to receive while giving nothing in return. As a woman, you have a lot to offer a man, if he makes himself available to accept. But before he can open his mind to accept, the lady must prove to be trustworthy and have something tangible to offer.
Of course, there are some that are not worth fighting for, it is better to flee from such. Male and female, each of us has our duties to each other and to ourselves and these should never be neglected if what we really desire is a great, lasting relationship. There is however, nothing like a perfect man or woman. It is by complementing our imperfections that we build true loving but imperfect relationship.