A Woman’s Right To Her Real Estate
I want to talk about the Malawian “Hyena” issue. Actually, I want to SCREAM!!!
I was shocked beyond words to read that a man in 2016 takes pride in having the ‘job’ to deflower young girls as part of a rite of passage into womanhood. This man isn’t developing a cure for the world’s dreaded diseases or solving a mathematical equation, but he is spreading diseases to young women… and he’s even paid to do it! This human ‘hyena’ is deflowering girls for a living. I wonder if he sends his own daughters to another hyena or he’d rather do the ‘job’ himself.
May I ask what it is about a woman’s body or permit me to use the word “Vagina” that almost every man on earth thinks he’s got the right to regulate? Under the guise of customs and traditions sold to some mentally enslaved women who themselves suffer a version of the ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ considering they may have been ‘cleansed’ by a ‘hyena’ in their own time as well. He went on to say that the girls liked the cleansing and thanked him after the act…….
From the average man on the streets who thinks he can violate a girl or a woman whenever he feels the urge; to our lawmakers who get to decide when girls and women marry, who they marry, what they wear, what to eat, when to menstruate or reach menopause and generally everything that goes on in our bodies; everybody wants to regulate women.
I once led a group of young women to the Nigerian National Assembly on a learning visit. From the security gate, every Akin, Yakubu and Emeka had comments, criticisms and look of disapproval over the physical appearance of these vibrant and intelligent young women. Comments which ranged from the length of their jeans, their hairdo, to the colour of their blouses and sleeves. None of them had the mental capabilities of these women and yet they felt that as men, they had the right to judge how they were dressed. I was irate and quickly dismissed their comments as unwarranted since to the best of my knowledge the National Assembly had no dress code.
Take the brouhaha around the Gender and Equal Opportunities (GEO) Bill for example. Let’s break it down, women just want to be treated as human beings as they are and have the right to decide what’s best for them. However, our men said no, we get to decide for you. Our legislators need to know that our bodies are not their constituency, stop legislating on women’s bodies. Focus on the economy, education, health and general infrastructure. If we spend as much time on development like we do on regulating how women should live their lives, Nigeria would be a much more advanced state.
Finally, dear world, please stop putting all your energy into deciding what goes on in a woman’s body – it is probably the only piece of real estate given to us by God that we’ve got the Certificate of Occupancy to. When we decide to give you a Right of Occupancy through marriage or any form of consent, please respect that and don’t insist on the ‘C of O!’
Olufunke Baruwa is the CEO, Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund