Say No to Violence

ADEDEJI Amanatullah

At first, I wasn't prompted to join this campaign. I was discouraged. Why? Many campaigns were launched in the past without achieving the predetermined objectives. There have been more than a thousand hashtags on social media without yielding any desired result. Many movements have been spearheaded by social activists, but which ended ineffectively. To the few that were brought to face the consequences by the law, they weren't convicted. So, I thought of these. I thought. I pondered.
However, shortly before joining the campaign, I remembered the proverb I once overheard from my paternal grandfather: " When lice is in your cloth, your fingers will never be dried of blood". In order to make sure the lice die, one puts them between two fingers and press hard to ensure they die and they always leave bloodstains on the fingernails. To ensure one do not have blood on one's fingernails, one has to ensure that the lice are not harboured anywhere within the vicinity. Hence, to ensure the menace become a thing of the past, the struggle must not stop; it must continue!

In seventh-century Arabia, before Islamic culture became established, female infanticide was widely practised. With the arrival of Islamic rule, the practice was made illegal. This was also the practice in some other Asian countries like China, India and Pakistan. For the Arabians, one of their greatest values was war and they believed it was only a male child that had the strength and prowess to be a hero. So, females were regarded as irrelevant in the society. At this point, something is going on in my mind: aren't these men given birth to by the women? If the gender is no more in the society, who would give birth to more men? Perhaps we aren't thinking the same way. Perhaps.

Let's come to our indigenous continent-Africa. In some African cultures, women were deemed "property" within the societies. At the death of the husband, the wives were shared among the brothers of the deceased. They went through various traditional practices that are against humanity. Alas!

In those cultures, the study found that economic utility indicated that boys were valued more than girls due to the fact that boys could work on the farms and bring in money to the family. It has been argued that the low status in which women are viewed in those patriarchal societies created a bias against females. All these had become illegal since the advent of Islam. Islam stopped all illegal acts against women and gives them the honour in which they are due.

I just recounted the early stages of violence against the feminine gender to ascertain the fact that this menace has been in existence since time immemorial. Now, we have the modern-day violence which has, since then, been spreading like the fire ravaging the bush during the harmattan. A number of them are less-heinous while many are deadly. This is not the time to list them( the time and space are limited) but to work towards its reduction or even total eradication.

As an ardent lover of Yoruba culture and heritage, I will refer to another Yoruba adage: 'When the young falls, they look forward, but when the elders fall they look backwards' This is done in order to know what led to the fall and prevent subsequent occurrences. I have a different approach to this campaign and I shall direct my words to the family/home and not to the current perpetrators. I'm an African man and one thing is paramount to us here: we have culture and belief. The major faiths are Christianity and Islam, and none of them preaches in support of the violence. The culprits were trained in some particular neighbourhoods before going to commit the evil deeds in the society. If we can 'catch them young' and impact the teaching of our culture and belief in them, they would grow up with the understanding of respect for women. The next generation of youths would experience less or no violence against any gender.

This generation also is still within our reach, the power of the media to change the status quo cannot be overemphasized. Once upon a time, not quite long, I read a WhatsApp status of one of my friends and it changed some of my perspectives on some issues,immediately. The words pierced into my heart and left an indelible imprint. Hence, this too can go a long way in providing panaceas to this menace. So long as we aren't mute on this; inasmuch as our campaigns are directed to the right channels, soon, this will become history!

I am Amanatullah Lanre Adedeji. I'm one of the leading advocates against the Mistreatment of Women.

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