Hello! I am Ogunsesan Nafisah. I'm one of the leading advocates for the Campaign against Maltreatment of Women.
Let me start with a story from my childhood. I had an aunt. She got married. Unfortunately, an incident turned her marriage sour. Her husband beat her to pulp almost every time. The women in the family told her to bear it. In their words: ' we are women, we have to preserve our marriages at all cost, we must bear all the pain. This is our destiny; our cross, we have to bear it'.
What cross, what destiny were they talking about? Because I was so young, I couldn't correct their ignorance. But in my mind, I knew they were wrong. Why should women have to endure pain to preserve their marriages? Why can't they just stand up and fight against what is called domestic violence?
Now to the second story, my best friends. Sola and I were in primary five then. One fateful day, on our way home, we were rudely stopped by some gang of boys. They bullied us. They called us names. They tried to harass us, I think they did harass us. So, we got angry. Sola slapped one of the boys while for me, at the top of my voice, I shouted at them and called them names. I guess their masculinity was embarrassed. So, they promised to get back at us. Sola and I didn't fret.
At home, I told my uncle about the incident. He said I should have begged them and run as far as I could. Days later, Sola was raped at just age 10. For the boys, it was their revenge. For some and I, it was sexual violence. No one did anything about it. They shut Sola up. They blamed us for standing against them, for voicing out and for defending our femininity. I was dejected. I felt stabbed. That was the travail of being a female.
Now to the year 2020, rape has become unremitting. For time immemorial, A has always been different from B. A black woman is way inferior to a white woman. Religions always have their hostilities. Culture, tradition, in fact just name anything that comes to mind. They all come with discrimination. So, gender also suffers the same. Perhaps, the world has forgotten that all humans are one. Let us forget our sex!
The problem with gender is that it defines how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Most parents rarely ask their sons about their girlfriend or virginity. But their daughters’ boyfriends or virginity? God forbid. In workplaces, they worry that a female boss may be so rude and challenging. But for a male boss, he is expressing his masculinity. Some religions describe men as the protectors of their wives. It is quite degrading that some cultures believe women are owned by their husband once they get married and their lives are regulated by them. Also, in politics, a man is better a president than a woman. All I am saying for the above is that a woman comes to mind after a man has been thought about.
Violence appears in different forms and circumstances. This serious problem, which degrades women's integrity, is denoted by terms like domestic violence, gender violence and violence against women. Gender violence affects women not only physically but psychologically and sexually. Different forms of violence against women include domestic violence, violence at work and also manifested through physical, psychological and social aggressions.
Today, we live in a vastly different world. The person more qualified to lead should not be a physically stronger person. It must be the more intelligent, the more knowledgeable, the more creative, more innovative. And there are no hormones for those attributes. A man is as likely as a woman to be intelligent, innovative, creative. So, we must stop discriminating women by definition, actions and relations.
While today may be for women, tomorrow might be violence against men. So, the world must submit to this peace treaty and recognise that violence should be replaced with concordance. Under no circumstances should any gender have to face violence. Remember God created two: male and female, while earth gave them love as a gift. So, let's embrace the love and live lovingly.