Posts Tagged ‘Violence against women’

Happy International Women’s Day everyone!

Here’s to all the women doing great things (or not), who are successful (or not), who are shining lights for this generation (or not), and on and on, and on. I’m all for celebrating women but how about we celebrate them everyday? How about we show them this love everyday? Is this the day where we stop all bad behavior, pick it up on the 9th? Sigh.

I wish I felt like towing the line the world is taking with addressing just the women but I’m not in that mood. Also because as far as I know we don’t have an International Men’s Day; or do we?

Also, importantly women don’t exist on a planet by themselves, neither are we resident in countries separate from the men. So, no.

My mind is on all the young women (and men) I see hawking whatever it is they carry instead of being in school. My mind is on the young lady (not a day over 14) who I’ve seen on a number of occasions standing beside a car whenever I get home past 10pm. Twice I’ve slowed down close to them, both times the girl starts to walk away. From my rearview mirror though I see she goes back to the 2010 Toyota Camry soon as I leave them. From the way she’s dressed I can hazard she’s a street kid. I’m not sure what I should do (more like ‘if’ to be honest).

I think about the young man I saw in traffic by the Hilton on Saturday the 7th of March with feet so swollen and bright red it looked like a painting. He was covering his face, either from shame or from the scorching sun. I needed to give him some money and I nearly scratched my car to do that because he could barely stand and so I had to literally squeeze up to him on the kerb. But he didn’t need the N500 I gave him; he needs a doctor and medical attention urgently.

I think about the Chibok Girls, who have been gone from home for close to a year (kidnapped on the 14th of April 2014). I wonder how many of them have given birth now (goes without saying that a lot of them were raped; two who escaped late last year were pregnant), and how many of them are no more. I try to imagine the scariest thing I know just to attempt to put myself in their place, but I know that my scariest doesn’t come close. I think about their parents, about their friends at school, I think about the people who love them, who are praying every day for their return.

I think about women who are getting beat daily by people who once professed to love them to the moon and back, and how they can’t leave because they want to be married or their families insist they can’t deal with the shame. I wonder how a man can hit a woman with the same hands he will use to make love to her. I wonder.

These and many more were heavy on my mind this day. Do I salute women who are doing great things in their communities and in the work place? Of course! Do I have the greatest respect for women who take on difficult roles because they want better lives for their children/communities? Do I stand with women whoa are facing untold hardship? Big yes, and I could go on with the questions (and the corresponding yesses).

But, there’s a lot going on that’s wrong with our world, and I found myself spending quite a bit of time thinking about that.

And now, I will stop thinking, and go on to do the things I have lined up for today.

Happy International Women’s Day everyone. Be good to someone today.


I’m a little upset tonight, and I’ll tell you why in just a minute. First off, apologies I’ve been inconsistent. I know I owe chronicles from my Hamburg and Abuja trips, and I will get to them in good time. This piece however couldn’t wait.

It is inspired by a post I saw on Joy Bewaji’s page on Facebook this evening, and because I want this piece to have the right context, I’ve got a screenshot for you.

Screenshot 2014-03-10 22.24.47

My comment was along the lines of I’d make sure I gave the person a permanent injury, and even if my breast was hanging out of my top or if I put it on my forehead (because it is my body part), it doesn’t give anyone the right to touch it.

Then I saw a comment from a guy who said “You see — I have two daughters, one much younger and I tell them always to dress up and cover up — so that they don’t have crazies stirring at them in an unwelcome manner”.

And that got me really ticked off. For some reason it just really annoyed me. My comment (in response to that man) is italicised below.…/this-has-got-to…/ 

Did the 4-year-old in my blog from 2010 dress ‘indecently’? How does a 4-year-old entice a 45-year-old man?

I am not a parent John* (I see you’re throwing that around a little bit now) but I have this thing that my folks (who are parents) taught me, and that is self-respect. They taught me boundaries and God bless them, I have a brother who they taught him the exact things too.

Some men are animals. Not all, but a good number of men are animals. Animals because they lack self-respect, and self-control. Tis’ the absence of those two that make animals in the forest eat one another, do numbers one and two ‘anywhere belle face’, and all the things that generally separate man from beast.

In my first comment I said even if her breast was hanging out, heck even if it was on her forehead, he had absolutely NO right to touch it. That is what separates man from beast. It’s spring now, and the teens here are preempting summer and wearing the tiniest bits in their wardrobe. Are you saying because they are dressed that way they are ‘not being cautious’? Are you saying they are asking to be molested?

When I have children (and therefore become a parent), I will teach my children to dress decently only because it is the decent thing to do, not as a shield against molestation. 

It is these excuses we give for depravity that tire me. Absolutely grate.

Following on from that, here’s an experience that’s barely two weeks old.

I was in Nigeria in the last week of February, and among a number of meetings was one with a Senator. Venue? National Assembly. Now I’d never been there (accompanied or on my own), so I was already a little apprehensive. And it was HOT.

Got there dressed in a knee-length, small-sleeved, black corporate-type dress, and brown heels. I got to the gate and was told I couldn’t go in because they had a policy against sleeveless dresses so we wouldn’t “entice the Assemblymen”.

I swear I pinched myself to be sure I was neither being pranked, nor starring in my own horror movie. I got them to let me in (involved calling the Senator’s office and protesting), but at the door of the complex, I was again told by military men at the door there was a policy against ‘seductive dressing’, including sleeveless dresses. Remember my dress had a small sleeve? All of my attempts at explaining the difference between ‘small sleeves’ and ‘sleeveless’ were akin to trying to catch the wind.

After all said and argued, ladies and gentlemen, I had to go home to change.

Got home, changed into black trousers and a blue long-sleeved top, same heels and the taxi drove me back there (think about how much I had incurred with this Israelite journey). Went in, met the children of God who are the ‘special assistants’ to the Senator, and when my business was done, I started the long walk under the sun outside to where my taxi was waiting.

Next thing a car passes me, reverses a bit, and stops. The right back window goes down and a man tells me “fine girl, leave the sun, come into my car”. I looked at him, gave him the dirtiest look I had, and continued walking. Brethren, the car followed me till I rounded the corner, catcalling, begging me to enter the car and tell him why I was frowning, etc. He didn’t stop till I turned the corner, then the car drove off. It had NASS plates. I know the guy (I went online and searched all their faces till I found him).

Wasn’t it for an animal like this I incurred bills on my taxi, and suffered more exposure to the sun than necessary? Isn’t it for these ones I was sent home because a sleeveless dress (never mind that it wasn’t sleeveless) would entice them? Who on earth are we kidding?

Ladies and gentlemen, you are either an animal or a human being. This excuse we give about women inviting molestation or rape on themselves because of the way they are dressed is sickening.

What did this girl on the way back from her grandfather’s funeral do to invite rape, by 6 men who threw her in a ditch and left her for dead afterwards?

It is also hypocritical because, like I said to the creature of God who asked what a young lady was wearing when she was molested by thugs posing as officials of the Abuja Environmental Protection Bureau, the easiest way to show that your argument is a lie is to let your sister or mom be the victim, be the person raped or molested.

Let’s have this argument if your first question is about what they wore to ‘invite it’. Otherwise can we please train our children up in the way they should go already?

P:S – I did a blog (can’t find it) once where I said I’d set on fire anyone who ever touched my kids inappropriately.

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I haven’t blogged in days because I thought I’d take a break from the writing after the very successful #31days31writers project. Plan was to come back tomorrow.

I saw something on Twitter this morning though, and just thought of put things in perspective. It’s about the Basket Mouth ‘rape’ post, his thoughts (or what I think his thoughts are), and the bit that made me write, his very distasteful apology.

A bit of history – Basket Mouth, real name Bright Okpocha is a comedian, a very successful one at that. He’s also got a very large following on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To contextualize ‘large following’, his posts on FB get as much as 6000 likes. Automatic opinion leader.

He put this up on Facebook last night:

I didn’t see it, cos I don’t follow him on Facebook. That post got approximately 5200 likes. A lot of people took him up on it this morning (especially on Twitter), and his only ‘response’ to the issue was to retweet this.


Of course that made stuff worse, and people really began to call him out. And if you’re familiar with Nigerian Twitter, when it is ‘your day’, it is your day.

Basket Mouth, in his ‘wisdom’, and probably under advisement from peers that the conversation on the issue was getting out of hand, decided to tweet an apology. Of course I captured it.

Here he is referring to the #ChildNotBride controversy from the middle of last year.

That’s it for history, at least up to the time of publishing this.

Personally, I think the joke was in bad taste. Very bad taste, and on a lot of levels. Start from racial profiling, and the silly stereotype that says ‘white girls are easy lays’. Aren’t we the ones who scream the loudest when Africa is lumped into one country?

Then there’s the African part of the equation that justifies rape because the man has done a, b, c, and d and still cannot get the girl into bed. Disgraceful.

And there’s the apology, which I think was a bigger insult on our sensibilities than the offending post.


To be honest, going beyond BasketMouth’s indiscretion (considering his influence online and offline), I’m more concerned with the over 5000 who thought it was funny. The ones who rebuked people who disagreed with rape being reduced as fodder for jokes, and were bold enough to say so.

Nigerian women already have a lot of issues they have to contend with everyday; I cannot count how many times I have written on violence (sexual or not) against women and young girls, and so to waste an opportunity to inspire, to abuse the loud voice/platform to effect change just grates.

The fact that his mind thought that up in the first place is worrying, remember the scripture that says, “as a man thinketh in his heart, so he is”? Everything we see in our world today starts in the mind.

For those who say it was just a joke, have you ever been raped? You, or a family member? Do you think it would still be a joke if you had been?

For those who say jokes about rape should be allowed because jokes about the disabled et al are allowed, who have you been listening to? You need to change your sources of entertainment!

Rape is wrong. Jokes about rape are distasteful, and wrong. Nothing anyone says will counter those two.

UPDATE – 6.37pm, I’m on the way from a glorious time at church, and I see on Twitter that he’s apologized, ‘properly’ this time. Ignore the grammatical errors please.


P:S – Dear BasketMouth, this joke was not misunderstood. There is nothing even remotely funny about rape.

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I was having dinner, and catching up with gossip on Linda Ikeji’s blog. And then I saw a story about two women who, accused of stealing pepper, had been stripped naked, beaten, and had the pepper poured into one of them. Not into her mouth, into her vagina. I watched it, simply because I didn’t believe the story was true. I didn’t believe that that level of sadism was possible.

It was true. Every word of it. Understated more like.

What the narrative didn’t say was that the lady who was worse off was pushed from her kneeling position to lie flat on her back, and one of the men placed his foot on her head to hold her down while the pepper was poured into her.

The narrative didn’t say she was begging for mercy, that she was whipped and prodded with a stick like an animal, and that the men rubbed this pepper on her and the other lady.

The narrative also didn’t say there were other men who apparently were so fascinated by this incident that they whipped out their phones and started taking pictures/filming.

Finally, the narrative didn’t mention that once you hear the woman scream (as the pepper goes into her), that is all you’ll hear for the rest of the evening.

The video is 8.25minutes of torture, left me in tears by the time I got to the end of it. I willed myself to watch it to the end because I wanted to build the anger to be able to do this.

Even if the ladies were guilty, there is no excuse under heaven to treat women like that. No one (regardless of their crime) deserves to be stripped, beaten, and then tortured like that.

I don’t want to forget the video, and I don’t want to forget the women.

And so I make this appeal: let’s find them. It is possible to find them and the animals who did this to them.

The narrative mentions ‘Iyana Ejigbo’; my Yoruba is poor and so beyond ‘sanu mi’ (have mercy on me) and ‘ata’ (pepper), I didn’t understand the rest of the video. But I’ve enlisted someone who will help translate in the morning. I have also found where Iyana Ejigbo is. @bisiogunwale said “Iyana literally means ‘road to’; Ejigbo is the actual suburb, located between Isolo and Ikotun”. I have also found someone who has asked her friend (who lives in the area) to have a look around, talk to people, see if someone knows/saw/heard something.

This is how you can help:

I hear Ejigbo is a small  but densely populated area, and so one person might not be able to cover a lot of ground. Who else can volunteer to visit the area, ask around? Preferably in a group with people/someone who speaks yoruba proficiently. Get in touch.

Are there any charities/groups/societies in Lagos who cater to abused women? Who will be willing to work with me/us to counsel and rehabilitate these women, get them to reveal the identities of their assailants and then take this up with the Police and the courts? If you’ve got contact details to share, please get in touch.

That’s all.

Every site I’ve seen carrying this story says “Lagos Police please find these men”; I say let’s find the women and let them ‘lead’ us to the men. It is not enough to tweet/post to Facebook condemning the act, let’s match those with action.

Remember Aluu 4? The men who, in a mob could take the lives of those four men started out like this. Violence begets violence. Let us find them and stop them.

Thank you.


Apparently this happened about a week ago but I came across this story today, and I had to share.

















Why did I sign the petition? No where in the world is cutting grass a punishment for gang rape. The men should be charged and punished for rape and attempted murder because they left her to die. They are animals and should be locked away for life. Or castrated and given bits of their penises to eat till they die.

You can sign the petition here, and please say a prayer for the young girl whose innocence has been snatched by these animals.


So I had a bit of a rant on Twitter on the 2nd of October. Nine days later and the matter hasn’t left my mind, so I knew I had to write about it. And what better day than today, the International Day of the Girl?

Why the vexation? I saw a retweet by a friend where a lady (@dorymanze) said Sad right? It gets worse. One of the people who saw her tweet, a certain @darmmie3264i, said this in response to it. 

To start with, I personally think the Abuja Environmental Protection Agency (AEPB) should be scrapped, and fast. There are too many stories of how its officials have molested innocent people (especially females) in the name of ‘carrying out their duties’. The prostitutes they were mandated to get off the streets are worse off because not only is there no rehabilitation, they are manhandled, beaten, and fondled (the least of what a good number of them endure). Like most other government agencies, I think (no I know) that AEPB should be scrapped, especially since there’s a Ministry of Environment! This duplicity of office/function in Nigeria gives me major grief!

*breathe FGS, breathe* Ok, so if it was @dammie3264i’s sister, wife (partner or girlfriend), or even his mother who got molested by anyone, would he ask what they were wearing? My thinking is he would round up a bunch of his friends in a fit of rage and go defend their honor. And he would rant and rave, and start a Twitter campaign to get one million signatures to seek ‘justice’ for his own. It’s someone else now though, so it’s OK to run his mouth and ask her what she was wearing. He particularly said, “check yourself”. I can’t even deal!

Ladies and gentlemen, this IS the problem with Nigeria and I’ll tell you why. My dad in many of his sermons admonishes people to be ‘hoe’ rather than ‘shovel’ Christians. He says, “ when you hear a commandment from God, for instance, ‘thou shall not kill’, and you immediately think to yourself that the commandment is not for you but for criminals on the street, you err, and you’re a ‘shovel’ Christian. The better reaction to hearing that commandment would be to internalize the words and search yourself, see if by your words or actions you have caused death (literally or not), and then make amends, and work towards it not happening again. In other words, be a ‘hoe’ Christian”.

How does that apply to us? It’s not till things hit close to home that we see them as life or death issues. When people are getting bombed in Adamawa or Gombe and we’re in the comfort of our homes in Lagos or Abuja, it seems so ‘far away’, and all we do is pray for the repose of the souls of the dead on Twitter.

Our politicians, the people entrusted with ratifying our laws flout them with impunity, and because we are not related to them we call for their heads on a platter. Inside we’re praying to get elected or appointed to their position so we too can feed fat, and of course when it’s our parents or relations robbing the nation blind, our tongues are buried. We fall silent. We have different rules for different people. This ‘Animal Farm‘ scenario is the bane of our society, and we are all guilty.

Back to the AEPB. Is there a dress code that like a red cloth to a bull, justifies molestation? Even if this lady was dressed in fabric that had ‘molest me’ on every square inch, is that reason enough? OK, let’s even say she was dressed ‘indecently’ (and I think the AEPB, before they are scrapped should publish an ‘acceptable or not’ dress code for Abuja residents), do you handcuff her hands or her breasts? What were they touching those for?

I intentionally did not interview @dorymanze for this chronicle because I saw she’s told her story severally and I wanted to spare her the horror of reliving the horrible incident. I’m proud of her for speaking up because it is not the easiest thing to do, especially in our society. I hope (pray) she’s able to put this incident behind her, and move on with her life.

I won’t even bother with hoping she gets justice, that would be the height of naiveté.

Yesterday, a friend put up this story on a BB group I belong to, and it sparked a discussion that spanned more than three hours. What were we discussing? Violence against women, causative factors, what to do if you’re a victim, etc.

It was a very ‘real’ conversation, and several times I had to blink back tears hearing some things ladies have gone through in their relationships, marriages, etc. The most horrible stories from unions that ordinarily should be symbolic of heaven on earth, and sadly sometimes appear to be so on the outside, even in the presence of extraordinary abuse. Only the woman knows how much extra foundation she has to layer on every day to hide her black eye, the millions of ‘falls’ she has to explain away, and the sheer horror thoughts of her spouse bring.

Before the conversation, last year I read of the young banker who was killed by her husband, and I remember how shocked I was. How does ‘for better, for worse……till death do us part’ end with a husband brutally murdering his wife? Someone he chased, toasted, cajoled, and convinced he was ‘the one’ she could enjoy the rest of her life with? How does that even happen?

I’ll say it again to the men, there is NO reason under heaven to hit a woman, NO reason at all. I’m sorry but I don’t care what the woman did, it is just not acceptable. Every time I hear (especially from the ladies themselves) that some women ask for it, I cringe. So we should go about beating people we can because they ‘ask for it’? In one part of my mind I think that the same men who batter their wives either always got beat up by their mates when they were younger (definitely not an excuse) and will still get beat up if they ever got in a brawl with someone of the same sex. So why use your woman as a punching bag? According to my daddy, if you really need to flex your muscles, drive to a Motor Park, and take your pick! I’m sure you’ll be satisfied with the fight you’ll get for months.

I grew up with that mentality o; as in it was so engraved in my mind that I have ended relationships because the son of God raised his voice at me one too many times. ‘Why’, you might ask. Are you saying you can’t argue/disagree with your special someone? Of course you can; you’re not conjoined twins so you will definitely disagree every now and then. That’s alright; it’s even dubbed as healthy by relationship experts. I am however, a firm believer in the ‘na dance dey follow clap’ proverb. Meaning that if he yells at you today, yells tomorrow, and yells the day after it’s only a matter of time before he raises his hand. And in my head, that person hasn’t been born yet; matter of fact his parents haven’t even met.

Most disgusting are the men who will beat their wives, get turned on by it (has to rank #1 in the ‘sickest-things-ever’ list in my opinion), and then proceed to rape the women. Why? You think you own her? Where are you from? You want to remind her you paid her bride price? How evil can you get? I think there’s a special place in hell reserved for these people, bite me but I think even the devil will shudder a bit when he meets them.

To the ladies; from the discussion yesterday I learnt (and reaffirmed something I’ve always believed in), we are the only ones who can save ourselves from battery, and I’ll explain. There are two levels to it, the first being his behaviour towards you now. Is he already yelling, threatening to ‘teach you a lesson’? Even in jest? Don’t take it lightly o! In this day and time, some jokes are just too expensive to ‘take home and try’, especially since unlike clothes, we’re not big on returning these ones if you don’t like them. It is said that women have the strongest instincts ever, please trust yours.

On to the second level; please, do not feel ashamed if you find you’re with a monster; human beings are poor judges of character because it’s only humans we experiment with. Just know that a man (or woman) will only drown if she remains in the river they fell into. Please o, Fela’s ‘suffering and smiling’ doesn’t apply here; if he hits you once, he WILL hit you again. And again, till you unconsciously create a time-table for it in your head. Know this: if you do nothing; if he kills you today, he can give his life to Christ tomorrow; and because God is merciful and forgiving ‘his sins will not be remembered’ and ‘old things will pass away’. And you’ll remain dead.

Happy International Women’s Day everyone.

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