A woman brings forth new life, she is strong mentally and physically, she nurtures the future. Educating her would mean educating nations. Sadly this woman is often unappreciated and undervalued; in her father’s home, she is considered a visitor awaiting her sojourn to her husband’s home where is sometimes considered no more than a commodity to be controlled and misused.
There are numerous cases where girls are forced into bondage under the pretext of matrimony, denied access to education and independence. It is appalling to think that women who are very essential to the development of the world are relegated to the background on numerous occasions, including in our nation Nigeria. Several important questions arise from the plight of women in today’s society.
One question would be why a woman has to cower in fear because of all the aggressions and micro-aggressions aimed at her? Women should not have to live in fear. Fear of a spouse’s brutality, fear of sexual assault from strangers in the street, fear of losing their source of income because they refuse to give in to an employer’s illicit demands.
Why does a man think it is necessary to ‘teach’ his wife a lesson by beating her? What happened to talk things through like mature adults? In a relationship, married or not, men and women should be regarded as equals. Even if one of them is a leader, there should still be equality. If the heads of some nations can follow the rule of law, then there is no excuse for the same to not be the norm in every relationship.
Why are women still blamed for the violence perpetrated on them by rapists and sexual predators? The statistics concerning the number of women who have faced some form of sexual abuse or the other is a cause for concern. Is it possible that all these women receive gratification from being insulted, leered at, and violated? Definitely not! People are quick to remind rape victims of what they possibly did wrong, or what actions they performed that brought on the violations.
Where are the voices condemning the perpetrators of various injustices and violent actions done against women? Why are the voices shaming and blaming these victims louder than those supporting them? Who will stand in the corner for the twelve-year-old girl who is pulled out of school to be married to a man five times her age? Who will rescue the eighteen-year-old girls who are trafficked and sold as slaves in these modern times? Who will speak for the forty-five-year-old widow who is the victim of a barbaric tradition that requires her to undergo torture after a loss?
There are so many women facing harsh realities, too many of such aforementioned scenarios to be enumerated. Through all of this, one thing remains clear. We have to stand together as women. We need to stop the judgemental looks, the indifference, amongst other things, and unite as women to pull each other up. Promote independence by preaching the importance of educating our daughters, and even go steps further to help women acquire skills.
Our country needs safe houses where abused women can be sheltered from their abusers, where young girls can flee unwanted matrimonial engagements and be allowed to continue their schooling. Stronger penalties need to be attached to the CRIME of assaulting women, no matter if it is verbal abuse, physical abuse or otherwise.
It should not be forgotten that women are as important as men in all areas of life. A true woman is one who is smart, independent, and able to nurture her dreams to reality. I am bold, I am beautiful, I am strong and I will never give up on my dreams.