Putting an end to sexual violence against women
Last year was a pivotal moment for the Me Too movement. Brave women emerged sharing their stories of sexual harassment. This campaign took not only Hollywood but the entire United States by storm, with women accusing men in positions of power, for the heinous crimes committed against them.
Men became scared—people started asking questions like; if my female co-worker doesn't wear a bra to work, can I tell her that it is disturbing without being labeled as a perpetrator? Or how many times do I have to ask for consent before I get intimate with a woman who isn't my spouse or girlfriend?
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It was as if men started walking on eggshells—some even went as far as getting a consent form, for females to sign before sex, and people of high status began making women sign NDA's (non disclosure agreements) just so no one rats them out. Almost every day I woke up to someone new stepping down from their role, issuing an apology, or denying allegations against themselves. Nobody wanted to make headlines at the time.
People redefined what sexual harassment was, while some took it to their advantage, to throw some men under the bus. I applaud what the me too movement started because it gave women a voice to be able to speak for themselves, especially in work environments where some people seemed untouchable. But the fight against sexual crimes is far from over.
People would continue to suffer from this epidemic, which can be found across every organization around the entire world if specific industries like the porn industry are still standing tall. Pornography makes humans look at their fellow humans as objects. There is no real human emotion played out in these movies that are being produced on the regular. So those who are addicted to them begin to act out what they see in the film—monkey sees, monkey do. If we want to continue the fight against sexual crimes, we have to start at the root.
Although I haven’t experienced any violent sex crimes (Thank God!), I have had my little stint at unwanted sexual advances. It all started when I was little, probably around five years old, when I was visiting my aunt and her family. She had this young neighbor who was about 17 years at the time, who always came around the house. He loved to play with me, and I also enjoyed playing with him as well. It wasn’t until after I had gotten a little older (about 12 years old), that I came to the realization that this young man was trying to kiss me all those times when he was playing rough with me.
He struggled with me, and I remember always blocking off my face, so he wouldn't get to my lips and just laughed hysterically because at the time, I didn't know what was happening. After my realization, I saw him at a cousin's wedding, with my mom trying to remind me of who he was. I just played it cool and went my way after saying hello to him.
My older cousin’s friend came around to my parent’s house, while I was in my pre-teen years. He put his hands underneath my top and was caressing my back. It felt uncomfortable, and I knew it wasn’t right. He did that when my cousin was not present with us. I just avoided him after that incident and couldn’t tell my mom or cousin what happened. The last of it I experienced was in high school. There was this lousy kid that no one really liked. He came in from another school, so his values didn't line up with what we were being taught at the time.
One day he backed me up into a corner and began to touch me inappropriately. He wanted to make out with me, but I refused. I pleaded for him to let me go, and he threatened to beat me up until someone came to my rescue. I remember going home that day and crying my eyes out. I also wrote in my diary—the worse day of my life (gosh! I was so dramatic, haha). Again I couldn't bring myself to tell my parents, let alone the school authorities. I was scared for my life because he had threatened to beat me up. So I kept mute.
Countries like Nigeria are made up of communities, where parents are not comfortable having the birds and the bees’ conversation with their children. So if a child is sexually molested or abused, the child feels shame, and can't share it with anyone. They lock up this secret within themselves and carry on with this pain, that is slowly eating them up on the inside.
I thank God that I never experienced the same harassment that some of these women have experienced. I am also proud of all of them who have spoken up, to expose this assault, so people can heal and also flee from certain situations that are no longer conducive for them.
If you are being sexually harassed at your school, workplaces, and church, etc., speak up! Don't carry this burden alone. There are a lot of organizations out there that can help you. Together we can put an end to this age-old war against women, and we also need the right men to stand and fight with us. Let our workplaces become an environment that we can thrive in, let our schools become a safe place we can learn in, and let our churches become a place we can worship and trust that our spiritual leaders wouldn't take advantage of us.
Countless organizations are designed to fight against sex crimes. Organizations like A21, founded by Christine Caine— help free young women from sex trafficking around the world. You can learn more about them by visiting their website on A21.org. You can also learn more about the me too movement by visiting their site on metoomvmt.org, if you need help or just want to arm yourself with vital information.
If you are a woman and have experienced unwanted sexual advances or harassment, you are encouraged to share on how you overcame that situation with us. We will like to feature your stories, so you can help other women. Be sure to include signs that young women can look out for, so they don't fall victims. You also stand a chance to win a cash prize, when you send in your stories.
Interested persons should send their stories and inquiries with subject line; Let's Talk Nation Giveaway (800 words or less), to firstname.lastname@example.org (Giveaway runs from Sept.17th to Sept. 28th).
Ps—we will keep responses anonymous, and if you win, it will be communicated directly to you.