With the recent drama that has been happening on social media, an immense number of anti-assault movements have begun and I hope this is not just for social media and it’s here to stay.
When I say stay, I don’t mean as a social media movement or a few people coming out to say their stories, but that it helps define the real-life culture of Nigerians. It has touched every point of the abuse radar, from physical violence between men; to sexual abuse, assault and harassment, and back to domestic abuse.
The way social media has rallied around the people they believe are right (usually the victims) against the offending party has been exceptional to watch. It has not only opened my eyes to the fact that the way Nigerians think about certain issues is starting to evolve.
From the altercation between Peruzzi and Pamilerin to the Busola Dakolo and COZA’s pastor – Biodun Fatoyinbo‘s rape case (that is still ongoing), to the physical abuse delivered by Senator Elisha Abbo (that began to really gather steam yesterday), it has been a whirlwind of emotions and reactions.
To say that I am not sceptical that all these agitations will end on social media will be to admit that I am naive, and I will not be doing that anytime soon.
But I am moved to say that this possibility of developing a culture out of these recent occurrences is also not too far-fetched. If you doubt this, just think about how the movement has moved off social media to actual physical locations.
With the exception of the issue between Pamilerin and Peruzzi that got squashed on social media between the two guys, great movements have come out of the issues. It is important to applaud how quick people have rallied around and come out to protest these injustices.
We can only hope now that these anti-assault movements and protests transcend beyond just the walls of social media. We have to hope that somehow there is a renewal of minds through this happening. We have to work towards changing the mindsets that allow so much violence in our society.
To do this, we must speak in EVERY assault case that comes up, not just the ones that affect popular people and can help us gather clout. We must as a society say no to EVERY rape case, EVERY case of molestation, sexual harassment, abuse and assault. We have to gather with one voice as a nation to condemn physical abuse and domestic abuse.
It starts with us, with me, and definitely, with you. It starts with the maid you know is being harassed, with the little girl that got sexually assaulted around you and has no one to fight for her. It starts with reforming our laws about issues like this.
It is time to move on, to do better, to BE better as a nation. Let us make it possible that we are not just social media activist but that we are actually creating the change that we want to see around us.
It is important that we gather around and come up with ways we can be better. We will be listening and checking your ideas about how to keep the anti-assault movements going in the comments section below.
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