#018: Dressed to Kill
Dressed to Kill
When Boko Haram sends young girls out on suicide missions, they ensure that these girls are beautifully made up: henna adorning their hands and feet, make up applied to their faces and hair often straightened – before bombs are attached to their waists.
This illustrative piece shares the story of Falmata, a young girl twice abducted by different Boko Haram factions and forced into suicide missions, which she bravely thwarted each time. The article reveals that in Boko Haram encampments, abducted women and girls must either get married or go on a ‘mission’ – the details of which are kept secret from them. Falmata’s account is a shocking look into the worlds of women and girls kept captive by Boko Haram, and further reveals the daily consequence of Boko Haram’s terror on individual lives and in communities.
Read for: “I met some farmers and asked them to help me remove the belt. I told them I was being forced to carry out a mission, but that I didn’t want to do it….They were afraid but they sympathised with me and removed it. Maybe they thought that if they refused I might detonate the bomb and kill us all.”
"They Want to Remain Mrs."
This incredibly candid piece from The Guardian dives into the reality of domestic abuse in Nigeria. In Nigeria, domestic violence is a widespread issue (almost one-third of Nigerian women have experienced physical violence by intimate partners) and is exacerbated by the high status placed on marriage by society. In Nigerian society, marriage is often touted as a woman’s highest accomplishment, and as such “staying” married (no matter what) tends to be a top priority.
Accordingly, many of the women who do report their domestic abuse “only want the violence to stop and will not consider leaving their husbands…..so they want to stay in relationships to keep up appearances. They want to remain Mrs.” Additionally, many abused women are urged by family members to remain in the household and to simply cease provoking their husbands. As is well known, many victims have other myriad and complex reasons for staying in abusive relationships from financial and mental challenges to fears for their safety if they do leave the abuser.
Read for: “Maybe we are brought up to think that it is OK to suffer this kind of violence"
Tunisia Marches toward Equal Inheritance
I’m not saying that Tunisia is my (current) favourite country…. but a progressing Tunisia is certainly my (current) favourite country. In Empower46 Jan 2 2018, I shouted out Tunisia as the progressing African nation of 2017 for its rapid changes towards female development and rights. In the past year alone, the North African country has legalized women marrying non-Muslim men and has fully criminalized rape.
Activists in Tunisia show no signs of slowing down – and are now demanding Equal inheritance rights for women. Tunisia’s President Essesbi (one of the most consistent allies for women's rights in the Arab world) has put his weight behind the proposal for Equal Inheritance which was put forward by a government-backed committee. By pushing for Equal Inheritance, Tunisia is leading the conversation on a historically taboo subject across the Arab states, as under Islamic law men receive double of women’s inheritance. The matter is under hot debate in the country with large concern that codifying equal inheritance would amount to anti-Islam legislation as well as debates around whether equal inheritance should be included in the Constitution but not enforced – so that families may choose for themselves what they wish to follow.
Read for: “The inheritance law is a significant barrier for women. It reduces their economic autonomy. Only 12 percent (of Tunisian women) own a house and only 14 percent own land. This impacts the access to women for property and credit.”
Rwandese female choreographer, 23-year-old Sherrie Silver won the MTV Video Music Award in the Best Choreographer categoryfor Childish Gambino’s “This is America”music video. Sherrie has been well-known in Afro-beats dance circles, but shot to global acclaim (and a Vogue feature!) after choreographing Childish Gambino’s well-received music video, which was lauded for its depth and messaging. Sherrie accepted the Moonman during the MTV Video Music Awards ceremony in NYC on Aug 20 2018.
Isha Sesay Looks Ahead
Seasoned journalist and news anchor, Isha Sesay is leaving CNN after 13 years with the network. Undoubtedly, Isha is one of the most recognizable faces in media and the Sierra Leonean has been a source of pride and a role model for young African girls across the world. Rooting for her in all her next steps!
Read for: "I’m writing a book about the Chibok girls, it’s being released in May 2019. It really speaks to where my head is at, currently — a lot more coverage about Africa, a lot more work on the continent, and a lot more focus on young girls. That’s what I’m about right now.”