A 12 year old girl who has been enduring sexual abuse from her father since she was seven years old. A Fulani woman raped to death at a farm in Esie after she and another woman were caught allegedly stealing cashew nuts. These are the kinds of stories we see in the news on a DAILY basis, and keep in mind that these stories making the papers are only a small percentage of the rape cases that occur frequently in Nigeria.
Girls are not safe here. And by here I mean everywhere. They are not safe on the streets, they are not safe in their homes, they are not safe anywhere, because the perpetrators are everywhere. It is a frightening and distressing reality. I cannot imagine the horror Ubong Akpan’s daughter endured at the hands of her father at the tender age of 7. I cannot imagine the strength and bravery it took for her to finally go to the police after five years of being sexually abused by her own father, the man whose duty it was to protect her.
My heart breaks for Aishat Sanni, who fought and lost, because of the simple fact that her attacker was stronger. I can imagine her, fighting tooth and nail to free herself, biting and scratching till she drew blood, struggling till her neck beads broke and scattered all over the scene of the crime. Her body, broken and defeated, shoved into some bush like a carcass. And all this because of some cashew nuts and a man’s twisted desire to force himself on another human being.
These are just two isolated cases, but they speak to something deeply rotten and wrong in this nation, something that begs to be addressed and not downplayed with baseless justifications and willful silence. Nigerian women are woefully unprotected and the lack of basic respect for our bodies is deplorable. The anger I feel at the way women are treated in this country is enough to drive a person mad. I am sure I speak for every Nigerian woman when I say that I am beyond tired. We are tired of being subjected to constant disrespect and violation. We are tired of demanding for change and being paid dust. We are tired, tired, tired.