Things That Matter

Nigerian Women Are Protesting Rape And Sexual Violence

It’s not just in the United States that Black people and women of color face injustice.

In Nigeria, protestors have erupted into the streets of their country as women fight to combat rape and sexual violence. In Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, a human rights coalition group marched to the state parliament calling them to declare a state of emergency on rape and sexual violence. As part of the march, activists wore black outfits and carried signs that called to “End Rape.”

The march came as a result of brutal femicides in the past few weeks.

Uwaila Vera Omozuwa was a 22-year-old student who was attacked and raped in a church and later killed. Less than a week later, on June 1, Barakat Bello, a university student was raped and killed during a robbery in her home in the city of Ibadan.

The students’ deaths have inspired citizens to demand calls for government action against the gender-based violence that takes place at high rates across the country.

“These unfortunate events are not standalone, rather they are a culmination of unhealthy cultural practices,” the Women Against Rape in Nigeria (WARN) group said in a petition submitted to lawmakers earlier this week.

WARN is currently campaigning for all states in Nigeria to have a sex offenders list. Currently, not all states do so or make them public. The organization is still pushing for other measures to make the public aware of the perpetrators of sexual violence.

Nigeria is proof that silence amasses violence.

According to UNICEF, one in four girls living in Nigeria has experienced some type of sexual violence. Femicide and rape cases are grossly under-reported in the country and have allowed perpetrators to go unpunished and to recommit their crimes. It’s time for a change. Not just in our country but across the globe.

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