We write on behalf of millions of mothers. For the past several weeks, we have watched and listened with sadness about gender-based violence.
The horrendous rape and murder of 22-year-old Uwaila Vera Omuzuwa in Benin, extrajudicial killing of 16-year-old Tina Ezekwe by two Police officers in Lagos, the 12-year-old girl raped in Jigawa, 18-year-old Jennifer gang-raped in Kaduna by 5 men and recent rape of a 6-year-old girl in North West South Africa.
We wish we could say we’re shocked to learn that this is such a pervasive problem in our country; unfortunately, we’re not surprised because it’s a reality we know far too well.
Countless women across Nigeria and Africa at large suffer in silence because of societal shaming, victim blaming, religious secrecy, police negligence, cultural hush-hush, legal injustice, and personal blame/shame. As women, we share the common experience of being preyed upon by individuals we trust who threaten our very existence.
Who will believe me if I speak up? Becomes the reality of victims. To the rape survivors, we understand the hurt, the confusion and betrayal, you might feel while carrying the fear and shame resulting from this violence. It sits on our back like oppressive weight.
To Uwavera, Tina, Jennifer and others, it’s not your fault and yes, Nigeria failed you. The only people at fault are the individuals who choose to abuse their power to harass, threaten and harm women like they have harmed you.
In these moments of despair and harrowing act that was committed against you, please know that Moms Africa is standing with you all in solidarity. We at Working Moms Africa call upon the Nigerian Police to investigate this horrific murder and ensure the perpetrators face the full wrath of law.
#JusticeforUWA #JusticeforTINA #JusticeforJENNIFER #SayNoToRape
Mrs. Mary Ikoku
Publisher, Moms Africa Magazine
Thursday June 16, 2020