Adebisi Adetunji (C)
This piece is written in honour of a man who has done so much to bring healing and hope to women who suffered sexual violence in war. Dr Denis Mukwege was jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize with Nadia Murad. As I said in a previous post, The Possibility of ending Sexual Violence – Nadia Murad
I could never hope to capture their pain, agony, struggles and tireless efforts at mending others and speaking up to get the international community and everyone in the world to end this war crime – Sexual violence/rape as a tool for war.
But I’d like to simply share their work and story briefly in the bid to say, “I salute your courage; thank you for giving yourself so others can live in a safer world”.
Why do humans engage in war? The very ancient reason centres around conquest of territories; power tussle; supremacy and control. At the heart of it all is man’s insatiable thirst for power and control of resources. A Yoruba saying states, “Ibere Ogun laa ri, ko seni mo ipari e”, meaning that one can only know how a war begins but no one knows how it will all end. This saying is usually quoted as a warning to control a conflict before it gets out of hand.
No one really wins a war because both sides suffer loss ranging from losing men, women and children; structural and economic destruction of their cities. Everyone will need to rebuild again often for many years and they may never fully recover from the effects and impact of the war. More worrisome are the emotional and psychological scars left on both the fighting men and civilian victims.
The Democratic Republic of Congo experienced great conflicts between soldiers and rebels which left the country terribly ravaged. The war lasted for decades and is referred to as the “The great African World War with the highest number of casualties since World War II. Sexual Violence was a weapon of War in eastern Congo for more than 20 years.
Those who suffered more are women and children who are beaten, raped and brutally treated by angry soldiers who use this physical assault as a weapon of war. Records show that in many war situations of various countries or communities sexual violence is increasingly been used as a weapon to inflict pain in war. After the war is over these women and girls are left battered emotionally and physically and even stigmatized by society. According to the findings of UN representative for Sexual Violence in conflict, Margot Wallstrom(2010) – as a result of the war DRC was labelled the “Rape Capital”
One man saw this need and decided to commit to providing support for these battered women. He is Dr Denis Mukwege who recently was jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner alongside Nadia Murad.
A Glimpse of Dr Denis Mukwege’s life and work
Denis Mukwege is a medical doctor, who has made it his life’s mission to mend women who are victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo war. Dr Denis was inspired to become a doctor when he accompanied his father who was a pastor to visit various sick people in communities. He then went on to study medicine and specialized in gynaecology and obstetrics with the desire to provide services for women who experience birth complications. Another serious need arose as war ravaged his dear country; many women, girls and children faced a wave of brutality as they were raped by soldiers and rebel warlords. It was during this high conflict period that he founded the Panzi hospital. It is located in Bukavu the eastern part of Congo and was officially opened in 1999 by Dr Denis Mukwege. Panzi hospital is known for support for sexual violence survivors. He and his staff have carried out a gynaecological repair for over 40, 000 thousand women who were sexual violence victims in the Congolese conflicts and war.
His life was once threatened as he faced assassination attempt because of his advocacy work in creating awareness about stopping this war crime – sexual violence and bringing to book perpetrators. Dr Denis had to flee his country for a while before returning but while he was away staff continued treating survivors. At the Panzi hospital, each rape survivor is accompanied by a social assistant who works to create a tailor-made healing pathway which includes repair, psychological, legal and economic intervention programs.
I once again salute Dr Denis Mukwege for his courageous and sacrificial efforts in bringing healing to these women and for his continued effort in the fight for women’s rights. He sure deserves this award. I end with his response to the award on Twitter:
This Nobel Prize is a recognition of the suffering of women victims of rape and sexual violence; the need for a just reparation in their favour and the hope to draw a red line against the use of rape in armed conflict.
Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – firstname.lastname@example.org
At the TeensHubs seminar for adolescents which held recently in Ibadan, while waiting for my turn to speak to participants about the harmful effects and need to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM ), I listened to this heartbreaking yet happy ending story of a young lady who had volunteered for the event. Oluwafunmbi Adeoti was born in Kwara state.
While growing up she wanted to be loved and therefore sort for acceptance wherever she could find it. Unfortunately she fell into the wrong hands and got pregnant at age 16 after been raped. Not wanting her parents to find out Funmbi ran away from home and soon met her former physics teacher who was then lecturing at a University.
Desperately looking for answers and a way out of her predicament she shared her dilemma with this physics teacher. Instead of helping, he added salt to her injury by encouraging her to opt for abortion. Things took a worse turn as this man lied to her that abortion was a very painful procedure and in order to minimize her pain he had to sleep with her. Poor Funmbi, was taken advantage of by another adult who should have protected her. Eventually she did have the abortion but kept the pain to herself for eight years.
Somewhere down the road while still hurting Funmbi met people who drew her out and the first time she spoke about what she had gone through, she wept profusely. However it was the beginning of her healing journey.
Funmbi had to learn that it was not her fault that these rape incidences happened and had to learn forgiveness. It was tough but at some point Funmbi came to a decision; that “the remaining part of her life was going to become the best”. Now she boldly speaks about her experience and has this to say to other survivors –
“Whatever you have gone through, you can heal”.
There are many rape survivors out there like Funmbi, who need to get a chance to heal. Reach out to someone today, you never can tell what that innocent looking face might be going through.
If you are a survivor please reach out; do not continue to suffer on in silence battling the monsters of the trauma of your experience.
Break the Culture of Silence; Speak Up!
And parents please pay attention to your children. Initiate conversations about their sexuality and reproductive health early on in life. Befriend them and educate them about situations and people who could take advantage of them.
29% of Male were raped before age 10.
Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Principal Producer (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – email@example.com
Books carry within them treasures that you dig for through reading
Readers are leaders
Books provide insight and knowledge required to make life easier
Readers are equipped with solutions to the world’s problems.
Books tell our stories… A window to how someone else pulled through a challenge and succeed.
Books bring light to our world
Today I met this lovely lady and author. Her name is Barrister Abiade Olawanle Abiola. She is passionate about Women’s Human rights; children’s rights and sexual and Gender-based Violence and alternative dispute resolutions.
Abiade was involved in a turbulent marriage that lasted a few years. As I chatted with her, she shared how she had to endure emotional, psychological, financial abuse. Often her ex-husband was in one money mess or the other and she had to keep going to the police station to bail him. This was very embarrassing and on top of that he also sexually abused.
One very interesting thing about the relationship with her ex-husband was that he never got physical/beat her. Instead, all that she had gone through made her become aggressive and she would get physical with him as she became more frustrated with all the bottled up emotion.
Abiade said she had to struggle to sponsor herself through school as her father decided that he wouldn’t get her beyond secondary school. Abiade looked forward to finding true love a happy marriage, unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way.
When she couldn’t take the abuse any longer, Abiade walked out of that marriage. Today she can tell her story and is busy helping to intervene in ending Abuse in all its form. Abiade has finally been able to publish her story and her book is titled, “Abuse is Never Justified – Realities of Change”.
Abiade is the founder of “Human of Substance Empowerment Initiative”. She believes that she will not be the person she now is, were it not for her marriage experience.
I just got a copy of her book and I am looking forward to reading and drinking in all the details. Abiade intends to put back all money proceeds from the book back into her youth empowerment project. For her, it is all about changing lives for good.
Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Romoke felt the blows crashing into her body in quick succession. She is not sure whether to cry out as a wave of pain hits her on all sides and she is not even sure which part of her body again. A few moments later the beating stops and Romoke crawls on her knees dragging herself on the floor, the pain won’t allow her to stand and on so she dragged herself to rest her back on the wall. Her children stood before her crying and saying “mummy sorry”. Romoke knew she had to get up maybe not for herself but for her children. She finally mustered all the strength she had left to rise and clean up herself. Blood was trickling down her face, there was a cut on her head. Romoke walked dizzily to the bathroom to wash; to wash off the pain.
Moments later she was out of the shower wearing a long sleeve to cover the bruises on her arm. Her swollen head and face stared at her in the mirror; the pain won’t go away; the memories of the blows descending on her body came rushing back. Romoke shuddered and wondered how long she would have to put up with this. She had reported Tunde to the police, he was arrested and released and the beating didn’t stop. She shared her dilemma with her siblings but no one wanted her to take the option of leaving. Yes, the meant good in their own way, they want her marriage to survive. Romoke is not sure what to do anymore but she wants the beating to stop; she wants to get out but how?
Again and again, we hear stories like this about another woman who is beaten to the point of bleeding by her spouse or lover. Some end up in real tragedy and never get out of such abusive relationship alive. I just heard another of such story of wife battery today and the woman is looking for a way of escape and help but the option of leaving him is not yet on the table. I am baffled at the fact that women still stay on in these abusive relationships and worst still family members placate her to endure and keep her marriage!
If you are been physically assaulted by your man, GET OUT OF THERE! Yes get out, find somewhere to stay. Do not keep getting beaten and hold onto hope that he will one day change. Get out and let him work on himself and change,that is if he ever changes.
Some women stay on in an abusive relationship because of so many reasons which include:
Once you know that the man you are dating can or has physically assaulted you in any way END THAT RELATIONSHIP!!!
Once the man you are married to is physically assaulting you have a PLAN B. Get a job, save some money in order to be able to take care of yourself when you may have to leave that relationship.
#International Women’s Day 2018 Loading- Theme: Improving the lives of Women everywhere, rural or Urban; the time is now
Adebisi Adetunji (C)
Some time ago a man was seen early in the morning when people were rushing to get to work carrying a little child who was kicking and crying. Everyone passed by as they went about their business but one man noticed and decided to challenge the man carrying the child. The man just dropped the child and ran. He had abducted that child as soon as her mum dropped her off at the school gate!
The world has become more complex as our once simpler and innocent way of life is a mixed bag of mistrust, horror, and chaos. We now want to satisfy our appetite at any cost. The syndrome of anything that makes me happy even when it hurts others. Selfishness and wickedness(forgive my strong language) is the picture that we see on our news screens every day. Sometimes even though I work with a media organization, I feel like shutting out the news headlines that evade the social media, TV, radio, and newspapers. This is because fellow human beings seem to craft and carry more terrible wicked schemes. Will this ever end?
Such news as that of the rape and murder of young Zainab Ansari In Pakistan is really disheartening. As I watched her picture on the placards of those protesting in her community, I couldn’t but feel an awful chill. One camera did catch her abductor on tape and the horror of it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. “You dare not trust your child even with a supposed trusted neighbor”, it didn’t use to be so! I thought to myself.
I remember as a child my parents could just leave us in the care of a friend or neighbor while running errands or on days they have a function we couldn’t accompany them on. They did not fear us being molested by anyone. In fact, as a child up to my teenage level, you were afraid of your mum or dad’s friends seeing you engaged in anything that your parents didn’t approve of. They will definitely make sure that your parents hear about it! Now neighbors, friends and even close family members abuse those in their care sexually to a point where organs are damaged or a life is lost!
I also remember times when I was sick as a teenager when our family doctor would examine me. My mother didn’t have to stay in the examining room and the doctor did not take advantage of me! Now I won’t dream of living my daughter or my son for that matter with a doctor alone especially if it has to with getting undressed to examine him/her.
My Advice on ways you can protect your child:
Seriously parents pay attention, stop been in hurry to go about your tasks forgetting to take those little but safe precautions.
Every child has a right to life and protection
Every new year heralds a new beginning. It is usually an opportunity to take a look at the past year’s achievements and plan to move forward.
I’d like to share my blogging plans with you so you will know what to expect:
Other issues that falls in my passion groove that will feature on this page are:
I intend to also throw in a few spontaneous and necessary posts. As we journey together this year on this blogging space, I hope we can have an engaging, intriguing and exciting time together!!!
Adebisi Adetunji (C)