EDITORS NOTE: Every 11th of October, we celebrate the Girl-child– A day set out by the United Nations to celebrate yearly, the lives of every girl-child worldwide, known today as the International day of the girl child (IDGC). It’s a day when the life of the girl child is reflected upon and an opportunity to expose the challenges faced by the girl-child such as gender inequality, discrimination, physical and mental abuse, girl-child marriage, and a wide range of others. The 2014 theme of the girl-child celebration is “empowering adolescent girls: ending the cycle of violence” aimed at promoting the rights and putting a stop to violence against girls and women. Yesterday reminded us about the importance and true meaning of the existence of every girl-child through an upsurge of worldwide collective positive voices by well-meaning individuals shooting towards the girl-child injustice and what the fate of today’s girl-child is. Share the thoughts of Arikor Collins Ogo– an avid Nigerian and ardent supporter of the rights of every girl.
“Violence against women has become a “global public health problem of epidemic proportions,” according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). “Some 35% of all women will experience either intimate partner or non-partner violence,” says WHO.
Reports from news dailies and other media all around the world are enormously tainted with the gradual, yet constant rising tide of the sad plight of the girl child. Infliction of torments and all manner of cruelties sadly await many girls in Nigeria-and Africa particularly. Why? The girl child and the matured women is no more regarded as a property of the man. If I am not mistaken, any man that considers any object as his property would see that property as sacred and inviolable, but the reverse happens to be the case when it comes to women, whom for the case of argument, we should regard as property of the males. Because of the causal and resultant effects of abuse on the girl child and the matured woman, I would subsequently use the girl child and her matured woman counterpart interchangeably.
I recently played the devil’s advocate in an argument with a very good friend, Enumah Kosisochukwu, a co-writer/blogger. Kosy (for short), was trying to draw my attention to the fact that the world is fast changing and evolving with regard to female issues. It was her own view that gone are the days when men overlord it over their wives and daughters, but she sadly drew my attention to the gleam fact that Africa is still yet to have take up its gauntlet and join in the war against women oppression. I also had an argument with a good friend pertaining to feminist issues. My very good friend, Harrison, had posited that the so-called ‘feminism’ movement is strongly over-hyped and overflogged. According to him, it is quite clear that current feminist-mania is a calculated publicity stunt spearheaded by insecure and paranoid members of society, who more or less are seeking attention where there is none.
This piece would therefore be taken to be a response to my earlier argument with those two individuals. I quite agree with Kosy that the world is changing as regards with female issues, and I also share her fear and concern for Africa. With greatest respect, however, I don’t think the current clamor for female recognition is a calculated move set to seek any attention, other than the simple fact that women should be granted their pride of place in societal standing. In an earlier piece titled ‘THE MONSTER CALLED RAPE’, I diligently espoused the many hardships women are facing in society, which calls for a wake-up awakening to the worrisome issues facing women, and society in general. To come to terms with reality, it is quite uncontroverted that women-in our society, particularly- are reduced to mere objects that naturally are to be acquired without due recourse to their peculiarity and feelings. They are meant to undergo unprecedented hardships just to fulfill the selfish yearnings of men. Rape, objectification of women, spouse battery, female genital mutilation, subjugation of women, women trafficking and a host of other evils bedeviling society are the tools by which men achieve their ungodly desires against women. These issues are on the increase! Only a deluded individual would deny that, no doubt.
For the umpteenth time, no private citizen has any right, in whatever guise, to prejudice another person in that other person’s civil enjoyments/entitlements. No man has any manner of jurisdiction whatsoever to inflict pain and injustice on the woman. A holistic view of our society currently would reveal the extremely disturbing fact of women being downgraded and dehumanized by the men.
By the nature of institutions in society, women have been designed to be at the tail end of the natural order. They are expected to play subservient roles in society. Of which this makes them easily exploited, subdued and desecrated. Women are bestowed the status of valueless objects. Domestic violence against women is steadily on the increase. Women are sometimes even seen as not needed in society, but, it is quite clear that society requires no more of women, than humans require basic necessities for survival. Amongst the many evil structures, the patriarchal leaning of society is a great factor that contributes to women oppression.
The Nigerian entertainment industry is certainly not helping matters at all in regards fighting the scourge of women oppression and domination. The entertainment industry which ought to be at the forefront of canvassing for female issues is more becoming the main conduit through which women are seen and converged the status lesser than that of animals! I had earlier asserted in a prior article, ‘THE MONSTER CALLED RAPE’, that being a woman is truly a very beautiful experience, I still maintain that stance strongly, and I might even add that it is the loveliest experience on earth. Take a very keen observation and examination of current societal issues and sifting through gruesome news items that occur everyday, you would appreciate the fact that women are overwhelmingly marginalized and maltreated. We seem to have forgotten that our posterity can only be guaranteed by the very important role of our women. If girls were to be no longer in existence, then I wonder what would become of the world.
The idea of trying pick holes in the feminist agitation put forward by male chauvinists that the feminist movement is a hoax, is certainly an erroneous reasoning on the part of whosoever believes such. That women are seeking their dignity and self-worth isn’t a bad idea at all. The world was not created to erect and solidify the bloated pomp and compulsive will of the man! All humans on earth form part of a single interdependent system which exists for the mutual benefit of all. The primacy of women sustaining the world is, no doubt, a matter of ordinary understanding. And when, such vital role of women is put in jeopardy, the fate of the world would certainly be a bleak one. It seems very strange to me, that a man would turn to victimizing the very woman that brought him into this world, yet, that is what plainly happens.
On account of World Day of the Girl Child, observed globally on 11th October, 2014, I want to use this medium to specially profess my admiration and great respect for the female folks. They have thus far embraced what society continues to throw at them with unflinching purity, benignity of manners and meekness of spirit. Even ongoing feminist agitations are done with such esteemed toleration and decent temperament. Only handful men spontaneously show compassion and affection to ongoing women degradation. The pittance offered by the men is much less than the loss incurred by the women and yet it is made out as a generous concession which ought not be the case.
Finally, the dialectics surrounding the economic and socio-cultural plight of women in the world reinforces the paramountcy of women as special creatures. It has dawned on the world that women ought to be protected and respected.
To this end, a whole lot still needs to be done by law and policy formulators in every corner of the world to facilitate women emancipation all round through the instrumentality of the law. When injustice is not far from us, even as in no way to affect our interests, with our human nature however, we are still displeased because we consider injustice as prejudicial to human society and pernicious to any body that approaches the person guilty of injustice. We partake of peoples’ uneasiness by sympathy, and good conscience. There can be no way we walk against the dictates of our conscience that we would ever bring us to justice. Though we may grow rich in business ventures we don’t delight in doing, or we may be cured by drugs we have little faith in, we however, cannot find peace through actions that prick our conscience”.
WRITTEN BY: Arikor Collins Ogo
(In dedication to the Missing Chibok girls)