22–year-old Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, microbiology student had her whole life ahead of her. She was determined to study and make something of her life but her dreams were cut short by murderous rapists recently.
Since universities aren’t in session because of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, late Uwaila sought the quiet of her empty church in Benin City, as a place to study. But one fateful day, she would be raped by animals in human skin with her head bashed in with a fire extinguisher.
And just like that, her life was snuffed out. She was cut short in her prime because some guys felt entitled to her body and were determined to steal her innocence. They killed her, left her family and friends heartbroken.
But this was one death too many. Uwaila’s gruesome murder sparked an outrage across Nigeria. Well meaning Nigerians took to social media to demand that the police fish out her killers. The hashtag #JusticeForUwa started trending.
This opened the discussion on rape and sexual assault against Nigerian women and girls once more. It made more victims bold to come out and name their rapists on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Women and girls found their voices and started sharing their sexual assault stories.
As if that wasn’t enough, less than a week after Uwaila Omozuwa was raped and killed inside a church in Benin City, 18-year-old student of the Federal College of Animal and Production Technology, Moore Plantation, Apata, Ibadan, Oyo State, suffered the same fate. She was raped and murdered in her home in Ibadan. She was discovered in the pool of her own blood.
It is sad that women and girls are not safe in Nigeria. They are not safe from men who see them not as humans but as objects with which to satisfy their sexual pleasures. They don’t mind killing these women to get what they want without cares. They don’t care about taking the lives of women who just want to be free to live their lives peacefully. It’s heartbreaking.
My heart has been heavy since this week. I struggled to put down my thoughts. I couldn’t bring myself to write about this because the stories I have read this week from rape victims left me sad and weak.
Where is safe for women and girls in Nigeria so that they don’t get raped and killed? They go to church, they are not safe. They go to the market, they are not safe. They go to school, they are sexually assaulted. They stay at home, they are robbed, raped and killed. Why are women endangered species?
As a woman, you walk on the street, you are not safe. A stranger feels entitled to your body and attention. You are catcalled and when you ignore these men, you are called a prostitute who likes to pretend. Men grope and touch women inappropriately because they feel like it. They don’t have respect for women and their bodies.
As a woman, you go to church, you are not safe. It’s either your pastor starts telling you inappropriate things or starts touching you the wrong way. When you report him, you are blamed for seducing him with your dressing. You are blamed for going to meet him for prayers or counselling. You are called an agent of the devil for trying to destroy his ministry. Sighs.
As a woman, you stay in your house to relax, you are not safe. A visitor can rape you and blame you. You will be blamed for opening the door for your rapist. You will be asked what you were wearing when you welcomed the visitor into your own home. You will be blamed for laughing too much with him. You will be blamed for attracting rape. Nobody says anything about the animal who violated your body.
As a woman, when you visit a male friend, you are not safe. If he rapes you, you will be blamed for visiting him. You will be mocked for going to his house to seduce him. You will be blamed for daring to visit someone you call your friend. You will be asked what you went to do in his house if you didn’t want to have sex with him in the first place.
As a woman, when you visit a female friend, you are not safe. She can plan with her brother or relative who has been asking you out to rape you. You won’t even have the nerve to confront your rapist because if you talk, the story will be turned against you and people will quickly blame you the victim while excusing your rapist.
As a woman, you stay in school and mind your business, you are not safe. A guy who asked you out will punish you with rape for turning him down. He will storm your room and take you by force because he feels he can and nothing will happen. You will be blamed for rejecting his advances as if you don’t have a right to say no. People will ask you if you were rude to him while turning him down as if being raped is not a big deal.
As a woman or young girl, when you stay in your family house, you are not safe. Your cousins or uncles can rape you and blame you for seducing them. Even fathers are raping and impregnating their daughters these days as if they are competing with one another. These animals who have no business having children will still have the effrontery to blame their victims for their animalistic behavior. These victims will be shamed while their rapists roam free.
As a woman, if you are walking alone at night, you are not safe. You are a prey to men who see you as nothing but breasts and buttocks. These men rob other men but when they see a woman, they touch her, rob her, rape her and sometimes kill her. Yet, Nigerian men are angry that women say they live in constant fear of men and what they do to women.
It is sad that girls are not safe with their fathers. Girls are not safe with their brothers. Girls are not safe with their friends. Girls are not safe with their neighbors. Girls are not safe with family friends. Girls are not safe with school mates. Girls are not safe with teachers. Girls are not safe with handymen.
Where is safe for the girl child? Where is safe for women in this country? Why do men feel entitled to women’s attention and bodies? Why should women pay the price for the animalistic urges of men? Why are these beasts still walking among us and breathing?
Why do this society give room for men to rape women and get away with it?Why do men pretend that they don’t know their brothers, friends, relatives, neighbors and church members are rapists?
Why do people cover up the heinous crimes against women and girls in this country? Where is safe for women and girls in Nigeria? Where? Why do Nigerians mock rape victims and justify the actions of their rapists? Why do men still insist that indecent dressing causes rape? What about toddlers in diapers who get raped daily, did they also seduce their rapists with diapers?
When will our leaders declare rape a national emergency? What are the female lawmakers going in the houses? Why ate not pushing for stiffer punishment for rape and pedophilia? When will women stop living in constant fear of men and what they do to them? When will this society start holding men accountable for their crimes against women? When? I’m heartbroken.
May Uwaila, Barakat and other victims of rape get justice. May their souls rest in peace. May the girls and women who have been damaged by rape find healing. May their rapists meet slow, painful and gruesome deaths.
Re: Nigerian men good at covering up wrong doings
Kate, Nigerian men who are caught napping in these bro code acts would be hopping mad after reading your article but the fact remains that the female folks are worst. Men who engage in supportive sins and cover up are weak, parasites and marital disasters. When you cover up another man’s ills, it will definitely repeat itself in your home with time.
Hey Kate, it not quite long that I started following your articles on Saturday Sun and I must say that they are lovely piece. However, I will like to talk about your piece on Nigerian men and how they cover for the evil their fellow Nigerian men do.
As truthful as it is, it is not all Nigerian men that do that. I would have appreciated it more if you had use “some Nigerian men” and not just generalize it to all Nigerian men. Please take note of this because we have so many good Nigerian men out there it unfair to the good one when you generalize such an article. Thanks and God bless.
-Tunde Elega, Kaduna
Funny enough, not only men cover for men. Sisters, mothers, female friends, name them, are all part of the cover up. I think conscious effort should be made to teach girls and women how to go into a relationship with their eyes wild open. No human being should feel compelled in any kind of relationship.
You gave men hard knocks on the head. I have so much respect for your write ups but this one is not good. Women were not angels. You only sampled some women cases while men were not given benefit of doubt.
Some women are so devilish and deadly. Have you not heard about a woman that beats her husband? What about a woman that has children before marriage without telling her husband?
-Fr James Ekpeh, Lagos
Kate, your caption is fallacious and insult on good Nigerian men. It is not every Nigerian Man that is “good at covering up wrong doings” and not every Nigerian woman does that either.
Indeed, some Nigerian men and women can be found wanting in that direction without the fear of God. It takes the grace of God to be fair and just in our dealings with each other in relationship. Stop defending the undefendable in your write-ups.
Kate, thank you for everything you do to bring out what Nigerian men are good at which include covering up one another’s wrong doings. Many Nigerian men are very good at supporting the bad actions of other men. They cover up for each other, and that’s very bad.
-Elebeke Chinemerem, Imo state
When I read your piece last week, I started laughing. I knew Nigerian men would tear you to shreds. They will resort to insults because that’s the only thing they know how to do when their evil ways are exposed.
They will come up with the not all men excuse but when you ask them what they do whenever a man treats his woman badly or lies to her, they won’t respond coherently. This is because what you wrote is true.
Nigerian men are good at covering up the wrong doings and crimes of other men. That bro code has destroyed their conscience. They are on social media defending rapists and blaming victims. When we call all of them rapists, they will start crying. Nigerian men are the worst.
Thank you for standing up to them and exposing their abusive tendencies. You have a fan in me. Don’t stop writing, you are changing lives and liberating women in this society.