What?! Physically Assaulting A Pregnant Woman?!

Photo Credit: Hellobeautiful.com

Some days ago I listened to the horrifying story of an eight months old pregnant woman who was killed by her husband! My mind could not simply process the senseless act of this man who killed his unborn child and wife. So tempers flared up during an argument or misunderstanding between the couple and the man gives her a fatal punch that led to bleeding. He refuses to take her for treatment in the hospital for whatever reason, maybe in ignorance. How does one even begin to explain and excuse such a behavior?

My Take on this matter:

I believe that this man has probably been physically abusing his wife for a while now. This is why he thought that like other times, he could hit and get away with it. Unfortunately, it ended badly! Thankfully he has been arrested and hopefully, justice will be served.

If you are a woman who has found yourself in an abusive relationship, do not keep explaining the actions of the man away and making excuses for him, GET OUT! It is unacceptable and dangerous behavior. Many ladies still courting a man think that they can change his bad behavior, sorry dear, it doesn’t work that way. People do not change that easily except they want to, it takes more than your loving efforts. Worse still you are putting your life on the line. So if you are still just in the dating stage of your relationship and you notice signs of violence in your partner such as a violent push; a slap, smashing of things when he is angry, then BREAK THAT RELATIONSHIP NOW! It is only going to get worse when he marries you.

And if you have already made a commitment of marriage and your spouse/partner is abusive, get help! Get family, counselor, your pastor or spiritual leader or anyone you trust involved. Do not keep quiet about the matter; this is not the time to follow that advice usually ingrained in the hearts of couples during wedding ceremonies, “Do not let a third party into your marriage”. The idea is to handle your business and conflicts without bringing in others who might escalate the conflict. Hmmmn…Abuse is a matter not to be handled in this manner, SPEAK UP and GET HELP.

Our Role as Family Members, Neighbors, and Friends

It is true that we would want the marriages of our loved ones and acquaintance to last, however, if someone comes to you with a recurring physical abuse then do not tell them to stay in there and weather the storm. This storm may end drowning such a person. Point such a person in the direction of where they can get help. As a neighbor report, any abuse going on in your neighborhood. It is not “poke nosing”; it is saving a life and you can do it discreetly if you do not want those concerned to know. Once my brother reported a neighbor who always beat his wife and the police came and arrested him. Thankfully also the young woman’s family also came in to take their sister and daughter.

A family friend also narrated how he had to wrestle his abusive neighbor to the ground, giving him a few punches to teach him a lesson. That was how the young man realized that he was hurting his wife and stopped his abusive actions. So you cannot afford to mind your business when it comes to physical abuse in your neighborhood. Think of it this way, if you were the one been hurt, would you want someone to step in to help you? I am sure you would.

Back to the Pregnant Woman issue

A pregnant woman is in a very delicate position while still carrying a baby. Pushing, slapping, harassing her is endangering two lives! This should never have to happen. If you are a man who is short-tempered, when your woman upsets you and you cannot control your feelings, please pick up your shirt and go somewhere else to cool off instead of doing what you will regret later.

Life is a gift; no one has the right to snuff that life out! Help protect mums and their unborn babies.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Broadcast Journalist, Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Progress Made in The Abandonment of FGM in Nigeria

FACTS ABOUT FGM

Female genital mutilation refers to all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organ for non-medical reasons. Effects of female genital mutilation also known as female circumcisions are enormous and have long term physical, emotional, psychological effects on women and girls. These include bleeding, shock, infections, leakage of urine/feces (VVF), genital tissue swelling, birth complications, emotional trauma, sexual health issues, problems with their partners/spouses and death.

About 200 million women and girls worldwide are living with the effects of female genital mutilation according to
Female genital mutilation violates the rights of women and girls. It is a form of gender-based violence.

6 states have a high prevalence of female genital mutilation in Nigeria: Imo, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, Ebonyi, and Edo States.

 

PUBLIC DECLARATION BY COMMUNITIES TO ELIMINATE FGM

Members of the Oyo Messi Elders Council at the Oyo state public declaration to Abandon FGM

Izzi Clan, Ebonyi State

At Izzi community, a young girl in the company of two other girls fled from home one night as they were about to go through the initiation rite to womanhood which included female genital mutilation. Their brave attempt to escape led to the intervention of the child protection network, UNICEF, Ministry of women affairs and this started the process of engaging the custodians of culture in Izzi community in a sensitization effort. On the 16th of June 2017, 26 communities in Izzi clan and three other LGA (Abakaliki, Ebonyi, and Izzi) made a public declaration on the abandonment of female genital mutilation. The declaration was signed by the traditional ruler’s forum and custodians of the Izzi culture and royal fathers.

Imo State

On the 23rd of November, 2018 the several sensitization and education of many communities by UNICEF, NOA and other partners culminated into the public declaration of 28 communities in Ngor-Okpala Local government to abandon Female Genital Mutilation. At the event were the State Director NOA, Mr. Vitus Ekeocha, UNICEF Consultant on FGM for Ebonyi and Imo, Mr. Benjamin Mbakwem, traditional rulers, groups of women, men and the youths representing the various communities.

Oyo State

One of the traditional practices upheld by some parts of the Yoruba land is the act of female genital mutilation also known as female circumcision. On the 20th of December 94 communities in Oyo from Oorelope 49, Kajola 24, and Oyo West 21(LGAs) made a public declaration to abandon the practice of FGM.
After several community engagements with community members and public enlightenment with various stakeholders( artisans, youth, men and women’s groups, traditional and religious leaders) communities in Oorelope, Kajola, and Oyo West made the decision to henceforth protect the future of girls and women by putting an end to FGM.

The public declaration of these communities took place at the palace of His Royal Majesty Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III. The Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) Oyo state, Mrs Dolapo Dosunmu; representatives of UNICEF , Dr. Olasunmbo Odebode, Child Protection Specialist for UNICEF and Mrs Olutayo Aderonke , the UNICEF Consultant for FGM in Ekiti, Oyo and Osun explains and High chiefs of Oyo Messi were all present at the public declaration to eliminate FGM.

Benefits of public declaration: Endcuttinggirls website

Osun State

Similarly, 38 communities in Osun state held an event in 2018 where community members and stakeholders signed an undertaking to eliminate the harmful cultural practice of FGM. Osun state has the highest prevalence of FGM practice in southwest Nigeria. In the words of the UNICEF consultant on FGM for Osun, Oyo and Ekiti, Mrs. Aderonke Olutayo, “the event rewrites history and marks a new chapter for the next generation of girls and women in these communities”. The state director NOA, Osun, Mrs. Yomi Olasinde and other partners were present at this historic event.

Edo State

In January 2019, Edo State passed the Violence Against Persons Bill into Law. This law makes provision for perpetrators of Female Genital Mutilation to be sentenced to “life imprisonment”, without a fine in the state.

Media campaign on Radio, TV and social media have greatly contributed to increased awareness about the long term effect of FGM on women and girls. There are ongoing education and sensitization among school students. This is to equip the young generation with the necessary information so that they can be empowered to say NO and also prevent their own children from being cut in the future.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Broadcast Journalist, Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

The Public hearing of the Oyo State Family Planning, Reproductive Health and Maternal Services Bill, 2017

According to World Health Organization(WHO) Sexual and reproductive health and rights encompass efforts to eliminate preventable, maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity, to ensure quality sexual and reproductive health services including contraceptive services, and to address sexually transmitted Infections (STI) and cervical cancer, violence against women and girls and sexuality and reproductive health needs of adolescents.

The Public hearing of the Oyo State Family Planning, Reproductive Health and Maternal Services Bill, 2017 held on Wednesday, 17th October 2018 at the Western Hall, Oyo State House of Assembly Secretariat, Ibadan.

 The basic reason for a public hearing is to elevate a democratic procedure for adopting laws involving the people in lawmaking and achieving a more complete implementation of the oversight functions, increase transparency of the work of the legislators – Rt. Hon. Joshua Olagunju Ojo Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly.

Rt. Hon. Joshua Olagunju Ojo, Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly and other legislators at the public hearing.

The Bill had gone through the 1st and 2nd reading and is on its way to been passed into law. The Speaker of the Oyo state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Joshua Olagunju alongside other lawmakers, top government officials, the Attorney General –Barr. Seun Abimbola, and commissioner for Justice and other stakeholders from, Ministry of health, The Nigerian Bar Association, Medical practitioners, NGOs, religious organizations, Association of traditional birth attendants, Civil societies, and others attended the public hearing in order to make their contributions towards improving the Bill.

Hon. S.O Okunlola, the Chairman, Committee on Health in his welcome address said that the aim of the Bill is to promote and protect the right of people of Oyo state especially women to enable them to have access to reproductive health and adequate maternity services. He stated further that, “for any reasonable government, the health of citizens should be a priority as such the health policy of government at federal and state and local government levels should be in tandem with international best practices”.

Deliberations at the public hearing were aimed at having a sustainable framework for reproductive health and maternal care services in Oyo state through a legislation.

The Bill is a private members bill which was sponsored and brought to the attention of the legislators who received it with open arms. It is intended to complement the efforts of the executive arm of government in the state in the area of providing quality healthcare to the people in the state. Hon. Okunlola assured all stakeholders present at the public hearing that the memoranda compiled and submitted will be painstakingly looked into in order to come out with an implementable document.

A cross section of stakeholders at the public hearing.

The Import of the Bill was presented by Hon. Mrs. B.O Oladeji, Chairperson, Committee on Women Affairs, Community Development, Social Welfare, and Poverty Alleviation.

“It has been observed that most women do not have access to adequate reproductive health and maternal care services in the state, as a result, many women suffer complications during childbirth which in turn contributes to increased maternal mortality. This bill intends to promote and protect the rights of women in having access to adequate reproductive health and maternal care services in the state. It also intends to put in place a structure for upholding standards and monitoring maternal care services provided in the state and Local government levels. It intends to promote women’s health, safe motherhood and reduce maternal mortality and morbidity rate amongst our women. Sections in the bill provide for the establishment of committees to monitor the level of antenatal and postnatal care as well as activities of health care providers in the state and local governments. Clause 8 of the bill provides major standards and regulations of which health care providers need to comply with and there are equally penalties for contraventions. It is believed that this bill will go a long way in improving the health of women in terms of putting in place regulations and standard for monitoring, provision of family planning and provision of safe healthcare services in Oyo state”.

One of the stakeholders the State Team Lead (NURHI) Oyo state, Mrs. Stella Akinso in her contribution to the memoranda had this to  say:

“Women of reproductive of age by definition starts from 15 -49 which means young people who are sexually active have been factored in. Young people need access to quality family planning and maternity services. This Bill will become ineffective without budgetary allocation and release for the implementation. There is also the need for the provision of adequate human capital (skilled and trained healthcare providers/birth attendants) to be able to implement all the things stated in the bill”.

Mrs. Akinso advised that after the Bill gets passed it should be translated into the local language so that everyone can have access to the information therein. More than anything she said, there is the need for a total overhaul of health facility and system in Oyo state.

The maternal mortality rate in Nigeria stands at 645 per 100,000 births and in Oyo state 262 women out of 100, 000 that deliver will die. That translates to mean that about 3 women will die out of 1000 births.

This is unacceptable as No Woman Should Die Giving Birth to Another Life and this is the essence of this bill. Mrs. Akinso ended her contribution to the memoranda with these words, “I do hope that this bill will be adequately funded, monitored and implemented”.

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 – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Rape Survivor – “You can Heal”.

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.

Funmbi – Rape Survivor & Me after sharing her story with Adolescents at the seminar

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.

Statistics

42.2% females were raped before age 18 (C DC – Center for Disease Control).

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 – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com