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We live in a world where people easily find a way to say something, regardless of the catastrophic consequences of their words or actions. In many cases, the flood of negativity overwhelms those involved as they struggle and gasp for air to breathe.

Nigeria is a male-dominated society. That is not news to anyone who either lives, or knows anything about this country. This past week, a group of women marched for women’s rights. It was the Yaba Market March, which bore the hashtag of “Market March Yaba.” They took this walk to stand up against market groping, rape, and the many more innumerable injustices suffered by women not just in this country, but all around the world. At the same time, they were approached by a large number of men who called them names. Names that I shall not repeat in this article because such names are vile, demeaning, and appalling. They threw water at them, accompanied with boos and yelled that they must be touched, whether they liked it or not. “We must touch!” is what they screamed at them. One of the biggest crimes a human being can commit against another human being is to unwillingly commandeer another human being’s body. Our bodies, I believe are perhaps our most personal belonging and taking that body without the consent of the owner of that body, is as evil as anything imaginable.

I looked on Twitter and paid attention to a lot of tweets on the event and on the issue as a whole. Patsy Mokungah, whose twitter name is @kenosi_, shared a very detailed thread, which I highly recommend reading. I looked into another lady, who was at the march, whose real name I do not know. @amaka_sandra1 gave the twittersphere many videos, photos and anecdotes on the situation that she and other women present found themselves in. At one instance, some men used religious arguments to promote the pro-groping stance, which is not surprising, as people have used “submissiveness,” to justify many evil agendas. In the past, in other places in the world, people have also used the Bible to justify slavery. The same thing happened on twitter, as it created conversations, or more so it created arguments. Many of the women at the march were also touched there, against their wishes, which happens to be the exact thing that they were brave enough to publicly stand up against. That is honestly gut-wrenching. If they did not have some form of a police escort with them on the march, I am unsure of what would have taken place. The reason behind that however, is one that I cannot explain because rape is something which I believe is inexplainable. What someone is wearing, simply does not matter. The time of day in which one decides to leave the house also does not matter. The only stop to rape, is for people to stop raping.

I was not present at the march, but in the videos and photos that I saw, I did not notice any men marching with them. Now, I do not know what the solution is to a problem that has plagued humanity for the longest time. I am unsure of where we go from here, as a society that is a long way away from where we should be in the fight for women’s rights. What I do know however, is that men certainly have to be a part of that fight, because I believe that every marginalised group needs members of the oppressing group to be involved. Not necessarily because we must feel a connection to the cause because of our mothers, sisters or other close female figures, but because of the ability to put ourselves in the shoes of others. Rape by no means is something exclusively endured by women, but it is definitely a plague suffered by women most of the time.


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