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Dumebi Ezar Ehigiator: Saving The Girl Child

The marriage of Anaya Owhonda to Jubril Rufai is marred by her aversion to sex. During their honeymoon, Jubril discovers married life with Anaya is far from what he envisioned. However, they are determined to act out a happy marriage.

Anaya goes on a trip with Jubril to Lake Alau in Maiduguri, and falls in love with his late father’s house. She insists on making it their home and somehow manages to convince Jubril that the house would be a healing touch to their farce of a marriage. Jubril gives in and Anaya begins her move to Maiduguri with her maid, Eni, by her side.

Anaya is visibly happy and busy. She tries to be a good wife to Jubril but still finds intercourse with him a frightening experience. Jubril tries to convince Anaya to see a doctor but she revolts against the decision. She encourages Jubril to pick a mistress.

Mustapha, Jubril’s brother, falls in love with Kukoyi, who just can’t get enough. Kuku has a dysfunction only known to her family, and with relief, her parents approve of her union with Mustapha and send her on her way.

In Sheda, thirteen-years-old Hauwa is betrothed to Abdul, a man more than twice her age. In a fit of adventure, she runs off with her best friend. Things take an awful turn when she wakes up in a dilapidated house, her friend missing. She finds her way home only to discover that the body of her friend was found battered, sexually abused and very dead. This particular incident changes Hauwa’s life. Where before life with her father had been smouldering, now it was impossible. A few months later, she is finally handed to Abdul as his wife.

In Chibok, Laraba and her family are experiencing the reign of terror by the Jihadists. The town of Chibok is caught up in horror. Gun and machete wielding men are carrying out genocide. Hauwa and some of her schoolmates are abducted to Sambisa. She manages to escape after a gruesome experience and finds her way to safety.

Kuku looks to lovers, and eventually her husband, to provide the love that has been missing from her father. Her body is bartered for affection and attention from men who are attracted to her.

 

 

Oh, that’s the synopsis for my book titled ‘Wrecked’. A novel depicting the issues faced by the African Girl (Nigeria, in particular) .

Every day, somewhere in the world, a girl child struggles to live. In a world that still prefers the value of a male over a female, the girl child is already a miracle if she exists long enough to be born. Unfortunately for a girl child, the miracle of being born is weighted with the burden of being the nucleus of hate. Milestones for the girl child include but are not limited to physical, sexual, reproductive, spiritual, economic and politically structured violence to overcome.

Symptoms of the aforementioned violence infiltrate a girl’s life from the start. Physical and sexual violence can happen within and outside the home. Examples of reproductive violence include breast ironing and genital cutting. Later, the catalyst for the violence she will suffer is the maturity of her womb. Socially a woman, a girl can experience new waves of violence that include isolation during her menses cycle because of the perception that she is unclean and defiled.

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When she can technically bear children, the girl child is in more danger of an early marriage, maternal mortality or an obstetric fistula condition if she survives a painful birth. The girl child can also experience spiritual, economic and political violence in her life via a number of avenues, including the pressure of guarding herself so she can get married and her family can receive a good bride price and the politics of restricting female social mobility. To sum it up, a girl child is exposed to a continuous, vicious cycle of violence.

UN Women notes that 1 in 3 women in her lifetime will have suffered violence. This statistic relies on reported incidents. In the field, we know that what is reported is usually a portion of what is really happening. Many factors can complicate reporting. Some obstacles women and girls must face to reporting the violence they suffer are self-blame, stigma, religious conviction, financial restraint, mixed emotions, obligation to family, abusers and/or the community.

It is a fair ascertain that the majority of blame for the violence women and girls face are at the hands of men. Or is it? Certainly, men have a large role to play in the violence that happens in women’s lives. Male preference in virtually all sectors of society that allow upward mobility and wellness continue to exacerbate barriers to female empowerment and solidify male privilege world-wide. Yet, the gatekeepers of male entitlement are also women.

Internalized misogyny is not only passed from father to son, but from mother to daughter and mother to son. Whichever came first — the male hatred for women or the female hatred of women — is as irrelevant as the chicken or the egg debate. What matters is that the seething effects of misogyny requires for women to take as much responsibility as men for the transference of violence in our and our daughters’ lives.

So, how do we save the girl child? I think the key lies within the quest for true peace that happens when we realize as women that we hold power in the arduous struggle to live harmonious lives with all genders. It means to say no to early marriage. It means to demand rights against child labor, as well as refusing to allow our girls’ genitalia to be cut. Saving the girl child means to resist sending our girls into trafficking or domestic housework in exchange for currency that ultimately does not uplift us out of poverty. It means sending our girls to school and it means telling our girls that they are beautiful just as they are.

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For some, saving the girl child means funding the movement to end the violence in all its forms and legislating for the protection of succeeding generations. Saving the girl child also means giving other girls and women a chance to get out of poverty by providing livable wages, increased skills and exposure to avenues some other women have been fortunate enough to enjoy. Perhaps most important, saving the girl child means raising boy children that are indoctrinated with the positive value of girls and the importance of having a humane reverence and will for living in respectful harmony with her.

Saving the girl child does not mean that the onus is completely on women, but it does mean that women and girls have a vital role in it. Resistance is never easy and we must have men and boys that do the same alongside us. Let us not forget also that offences against women and girls cannot go unchecked. Whereas consequences to violation cannot be a sole remedy for the long-term, it is a part of a collective recipe for success. Saving the girl child will take time, just as it took time for the collective violence she suffers to reach staggering proportions. Do not wait for a personal tragic incident to get you to spring into action; start saving the girl child now!

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I am a co-founder and coordinator of a girls mentoring program in Nigeria called Just Us Girls (All Girls Bright and Beautiful) under AprilSpring, a branch of Soheza and Eden. JUGs aims to equip girls with a sense of responsibility for other girls’ development. Our programmes give girls the tools to make positive life choices and have a sense of their own personal power. Our Mentors help girls live healthier and more productive lives, promote community responsibility, promote alternatives to early sexual activity, empower girls and help them know how to enforce that power to make essential decisions in their lives. This International Day of The Girl-Child, on October 11th 2016, we will be celebrating Girls…their brightness, their boldness, their beauty. Yep, it’s going to be an empowering party.

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It will be a time for us to celebrate all daughters, and our equal human value, and oppose the sexism that leads so many women to abort their beautiful baby daughters, just because of their gender. You, too, can join the celebration daughters, of universal human dignity, and the great privilege it is to be a parent of a daughter – just as it is to a son.

 

 

Now, back to the synopsis I started with; My Book ‘Wrecked’ will be launched during the summit. Each participant will have an autographed copy for Free. No cost at all. It’s a party after all. Remember though, JUGS IS STRICTLY FOR GIRLS. NO BOYS ALLOWED!

For more information, visit https://dumebie.com/j-u-g-s/

To reach us, follow on:

Facebook: @jugsummit

Twiiter: @JUGirlsummit

Or send a mail to jugsummit@yahoo.com

 

 

Best Wishes

Dumebi Ezar Ehigiator

www.dumebie.com

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Dumebi
    August 26, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Frances, Publicity Director of mine, THANK YOU! This means a lot to me. God bless you.

    • Reply
      Frances Okoro
      August 26, 2016 at 6:12 pm

      Thank you too Ezar!
      For your passion to raise our young girls for God..equipping them with what they need to live a better life than what society thrusts on them… I didn’t have this when I was growing up, certain lots of seeds will be sown come October 11th 2016!
      Its started already!

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