Monday 22 June 2020

Fighting Sexual Violence is Our Collective Responsibility

Before asking, he warned me by saying I have something to ask and I hope it won't offend you. I told him to go ahead. Then he asked me if he could take me in his arms (direct translation). I immediately said no and moved on to talking about something else. We were watching a programme on TV and the question came out of nowhere. This conversation all happened in French and French can seem unnecessarily intimate sometimes. We lived together, he was one of my flat mates. I reckoned he just wanted a hug but the way he asked, it came off as a bit creepy to me. Sometimes, you click with people and feel comfortable enough to hug each other, it never crossed my mind to hug this colleague.

One day, like every other time, I took a walk with another colleague, which was a normal thing. This one was my buddy, we got along very well. He was one of the ones I was comfortable with and would hug every now and then in greeting. He was quite excited on this day and was chatting away. When we got to the spot we wanted to reach, the view was beautiful. I stood admiring it then I felt someone hugging me from behind. It could only have been him as the other people around were not close enough. I was slightly confused as I stood there. Someone hugging me from behind suggests a few things to me. Unsure of what may have followed, I broke the contact by suggesting that we take a selfie. It worked. Afterwards, he posed for me to take photos of him, and in that moment, I said a silent prayer to God...'please let there be nothing more, let it be that his excitement got him carried away'. As we walked back, we talked as usual but before we could go far, he apologised. He said he was sorry if his action made me uncomfortable. I was relieved and said it was ok especially as I didn't want to walk back with in awkward silence. Then I chided myself for not saying 'if it happens again, that's when we would have a problem'. But I think he was smart enough to know that. 

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Digging deep into my faith

Growing up, attending Sunday school and bible study groups in the neighbourhood, I was sure that God cared about us, little children, and we would have these fun bible studies and play games. We also watched Christian videos with children singing at the Colby clubhouse, Kids praise and others. These made Chrsitianity so much fun. We learnt and recited bible verses and even had a dance group.

In secondary school, God was righteous and was to be revered and worshipped. But he was also cool, we had what I could call praise parties, then intense worship. Sometimes some of my school mates went overboard with the righteousness thing but I preferred the cool part so I stuck with it.

As I got older, God was portrayed as holy, in whose presence there was meant to be no sin. God would not shy away from judging whoever was found wanting. For me that judgment was done through his agents in church as examplified by people who worked in church. It was also the time when I saw that one or two girls who were slightly older had gotten pregnant. There was so much talking amongst mothers that it felt like the girls had committed the most unpardonable sin. God was somehow mirrored in that way to me at that stage of my life.

Monday 1 June 2020

Enough is enough!

There has been nothing but madness going on around the world!

I woke up yesterday to twitter buzzing with news of a young woman who went to church to study in Benin, Edo state of Nigeria. Uwa, a 22-year-old woman, was raped, her head smashed with a fire extinguisher and she was left in a pool of her blood to die…IN CHURCH! #JusticeforUwa

As I scrolled on to see more details, I read about Jennifer, an 18-year-old girl, who was gang raped by 5 men in Kaduna state. I got outraged when I googled to see if anything had been done, only to see that the family was willing to accept a settlement. That would never repair the damage that was done to her and I am glad that people are demanding that justice be served to the boys. #JusticeforJennifer

There was one more hashtag…#JusticeforTina. From what I read, Tina was 'accidentally' shot by a trigger-happy policeman who was trying to enforce the curfew in Lagos. He seemed to have been asking for a bribe to let the bus go but the driver refused and was shot, an altercation ensued, and he shot randomly into the crowd. The bullet hit Tina, a 16-year-old girl. Why do policemen need to shoot at all to pass their point? And this is not a one off incident!