I’m angry, I’m hurt and I am scared. These feelings have skyrocketed over these past few weeks, there’s no ignoring how much danger we face on a daily basis. I know the feeling all too well, having to say a prayer and hope I survive a day without being assaulted by a strange man, or even a man I know and trust. The taxi rape incidents have worsened my fears. I do not only fear for myself, but also for all my sisters. We literally have nowhere to hide. Violence against women is sickeningly common in our society. Having being robbed on the street a few years ago, I feel so unsafe, I’ve always felt unsafe. Even just walking down the street. Men assault us for simplest of reasons, as simple as not smiling. From catcalls, grabbing our bodies and swearing at us for refusing them our attention: assault is so commonplace it’s become normal. Yes, violence against women is a daily thing. I still fail to understand why these men feel so entitled to our bodies, it’s disgusting really.
I know that it is not every man that is a violent rapist who preys on women, but there are men everywhere, and how do we know who to trust and who to fear? Rapists don’t carry a sign revealing their history. Some women are assaulted by men they know and trust, like their husbands, boyfriends, brothers and fathers. What’s even scarier is how casual the men in our lives prove to be when we voice our fears out. Just look at how many men you know watched, shared and joked about child pornography trending. I’ve been told countless times, by men I know, to calm down when I raise this issue. I’ve been asked to get my brothers to “help out”, but why should I need a man beside me to feel safe from other men? Why can’t I be treated as human as my brothers are? I’m human too, I have a right to dignity and respect too. I’m not momentarily upset, I feel this way every single day. I bet every woman does, everywhere. Why should we live in constant fear? Who teaches these men to mistreat us so? Who teaches our families to silence the women getting raped by their fathers, brothers and cousins? Why is rape even likened to sex? Why is violence likened to love? Wherever this mentality comes from, it can never be excused. No amount of cultural or religious conditioning can excuse any act of violence. Rape is an act of violence!
If there ever was a good time to advocate and stand for Feminism it is now. Yet just a while back, in an effort to create awareness on social media I was asked if I knew that Feminism is scary to some men, even asked if I was inspired by “that Nigerian girl”. I’ve always been a feminist, it’s not because of “that Nigerian girl”. I’m a feminist because women are threatened with rape and assault on a daily basis, because I can’t walk down the street and feel safe like men do. I am constantly worried about strange men assaulting me, catcalling me as if my body belongs to them and not me. I’m a feminist because women also have the right to human dignity, just like men do. No woman should live in fear of being gang raped in a taxi in front of her son, no woman deserves to be called a slut or bitch for her choice of clothing, or whatever reason. That’s why I’m a feminist, because women are human too… Not because of “that Nigerian girl”. To be honest I don’t care if Feminism scary to men. You know why? Because men are the biggest threat I face daily. I’m scared of men!