Saturday, September 24, 2011

Enough is enough. Time to cut at the roots of violence against women. End patriarchy and male domination in Nigeria!

Violence, outrage, silence, repeat!

I am tired. I am tired of the seemingly endless cycle of violence, outrage, and then silence. It happened when the Skye banker was brutally murdered, and now it is threatening to happen again in the ABSU rape case. I've found myself questioning the authenticity of the outrage that follows after violence against women in Nigeria because of the hastiness with which people move on without addressing or a willingness to address the underlying causes. It has only been a week since Linda Ikeji broke the story of the rape case and there is already outrage fatigue. Everyone is moving on. Sure some people are still involved in the search for the rapist and some anti-rape walks are in the works, but that is not enough. If we do not address the underlying problem, which is patriarchy and male domination, then we will continue to have this cycle of violence against women. A cycle that no amount of education on rape culture (Ginger wrote a fabulous post on it), anti-rape or anti-violence walks can fix. In my opinion, the solution to Nigeria's problem is a feminism movement.

 Just this morning, Linda Ikeji has already put up a story about a dumped ex-boyfriend who poured acid on his girlfriend. Based on these horrific stories, I don't think it is far-fetched to say that Nigeria has an epidemic of YOUNG men who have no atom of respect for young women. I like to focus on young women (0 - 38 years old) because we are the most vulnerable in Nigerian society. These young men have learned from their brothers, uncles, pastors, and parents, that women are of little value, so now they treat us like objects. Men of all ages see us as nothing more than objects to satisfy their sexual fantasies, objects to take out their frustration on, and objects designed to serve them, while most older women blame and see us as deserving of whatever mistreatments that men direct at us. Changing this pervasive culture will be difficult  because it is deeply entrenched in tradition and justified with religion that even the mere mention of feminism is seen as contradictory to Bible principles.

I find it quite disturbing when I hear fellow women rejecting feminism. I've found that most of the time, these women don't even know what it really means and they have a skewed notion of feminism as being "anti-Bible," which most of the time is the definition given to them by our patriarchal media and male pastors who wish to maintain the status quo that benefits them. Therefore, I think the only way we can create a successful feminism movement in Nigeria will be to explain to everyone what feminism really is.

My favorite definition of feminism is by bell hooks. She says feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and sexist oppression. I think most Nigerian women don't like being discriminated against because of their sex. They don't like being sexually harassed. They like the idea of equal pay for equal work and gender equality. They want to see men held accountable for their irresponsible behaviors against women. If we can somehow start a discussions around these ideas, we would be make an impact in a way that no anti-rape or anti-violence walk can.

OKay, make I stop now. I will have to make a part 2 to this post.  Sorry for the tone in the post. I just had to write it because I'm tired of reading the half-baked solutions I see everywhere and there is an urgency of now. We are constantly being bombarded with these violence stories and I can only imagine that it will only be a matter of time before people become desensitized to the gravity of the stories and stop taking any action or showing any outrage. We all have our thresholds  :).

Aight, have a great weekend everyone.


  1. Well said mam, things have to change. I honestly think it's a political problem, the fact that there isn't any enforcement of the rule of law makes people think they can get away with crap. Having a structured system will not eliminate violence but it sure will reduce it.

  2. Prism, thank you for the mention.
    I was just having this conversation with a male colleague. First i was accused of being a 'feminist' like it was a dirty disease. lolss. I told him to take a walk in a woman's shoes. I'm itching to be part of or start up a group that has seminars/focused group discussions in schools and town halls abut feminine issues. We need to make people start talking and challenging status quo. 9jafoodie, there are laws but who is upholding them?

  3. Very well written. Something really should be done... but in Nigeria... it will be like moving a mountain *Still possible but it will take a great deal of time...


  4. Anytime i remember the ABSU rape, my blood boils. Literaally.
    It's sad that many people (myself inclusive) aren't doing much about it. Apparently, when the VC was informed, he didnt want to take the issue any further..smh
    I feel like most women dnt want to be identified as feminists because of some of the negative stereotpes about feminists. Women are still at the bottom of the hierachy in so many societies even outside Nigeria, it's just so sad! we need to step up to the plate and let our voices be heard! this rubbish has to stop!

  5. Thanks ladies for stopping by.

    @Ginger, I feel the same way. We really need to get the word out there that women are to be respected.

    @Kitkat, that negative stereotype and connotation of feminism was created by the men. It will be challenging to get people to think about it in new ways.

  6. Gender caste system has eating so deep into our system that some Nigerian women do not know even realize it exists.It has evaded our minds and consciousnesses that any woman who attempts to speak up is immediately seen as angry, bitter and rebellious(esp by her fellow women).

    I have made up my mind that, although i cannot change the consciousness of every Nigerian, i will change mine and perhaps that will go a long way in changing those around me.If i am a feminist, it is most likely that my future sons will learn how to respect women and treat them as equals. We cannot just resign ourselves to "it is a man's world". If we cannot change our thinking then there will be no action and the status quo will remain.

    These oppressive social constructs have to be broken and it starts in the minds of each one of us.


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