Community Update

World Pulse Toolkits Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits are all available here.

We are especially excited to share our signature Citizen Journalism and Digital Empowerment Curriculum. Start learning today!

Women are own enemies

My greatest challenge and barrier in effecting change in my community are the womenfolk. So many women in my society have been brought up to always preserve the 'dignity' and 'pride'of a man even at the expense of another woman no matter the cost.

This is the major reason why laws protecting the rights of women in Nigeria have no real value because the female populace lack the gumption to put the law into practice for fear of being labelled feminists.

The only solution to this problem of positive change for women are the women themselves and the reason is simple. Women are change agents. We are home makers and raise children. More often than not, a child never forgets the instruction instilled in her by her mother. You can then imagine a society where children are raised by women who see themselves as equals. Men brought up by such women are less likely to be violent towards women or treat them as sexual objects. That society will be close to perfection.

Web 2.0 will be a powerful medium by which such change can be realised by teaching women especially those in the secondary schools and universities the importance of standing up for themselves through the right channels. I will like to recount a story here. Sometime last year, a video surfaced on Saharareporters of an undergraduate student who lured her lecturer to her off campus accomodation with the promise of sexual gratification. Now this young lady was being victimised by her lecturer and when the man showed up at her apartment, the student forcefully stripped him naked with the help of some male colleagues and videoed the whole charade. Unfortunately though, her male colleagues chose to extort money from the man forced him to sign a check to regain his freedom.

The outrage caused by this incident forced the reluctant university authority to take action and sack the lecturer but the student was also suspended for six semesters. Months later I went back to that school which also happens to be my Alma mater for my transcript and was disappointed when a highly placed female staff in the school told me she had gone to the lecturer's house in the company of other staff to sympathize with him. Not once did she mention this hapless student or the victimization she had suffered.

Now if this girl had known how to properly use Web 2.0, she would have got justice instead of the unfair punishment she is now receiving.


Nezed's picture

Hi Comfy, its sad about the

Hi Comfy, its sad about the fate of that young girl. However, am torn between the different scenarios... First, the Lecturer was punished (Sacked) and justice was served albeit different than should have (without the female student getting suspended). Is women their own barrier to change because a bunch went on solidarity visit? I do not believe that women are not supportive of their fellow women as never in history has their be more solidarity and support for women by women than in this present times. From the support of women's driving rights in Saudi Arabia to breast ironing in Cameroon... Just my opinion...

I do not aim for Perfection; Just excellence!

comfy's picture

not just the visit

hello Nezed,
I dont think you got my point.It is not just about the visit. Nobody reached out to that student in a school widely known for allowing male lecturers operate with impunity! Initially, the school authorities were trying to frame that student and her colleagues for kidnapping.They were only concerned with preserving what was left of the lecturer's dignity because he was a married man with children; things he should have thought of in the first place before victimizing girls old enough to be his daughters! It was when that plan fell through that the lecturer was sacked, reluctantly.
I dont know about your country Nezed but I am well aware what happens in mine. Everyday, girls are reportedly raped in schools, neighbours, virtually everywhere! Our female legislators do nothing to press for the prosecution of the assailants rather they formulate laws that regulate the dressing of women thereby insinuating that our style of dressing causes rape. Nobody talks of building a rape crisis centre to help victims deal with their trauma, rather victims are further more traumatized by law enforcement agents, the courts and society when they try to get justice. I was once victimized Nezed, in that same school for five years. You only need to pass through that road once and you will never want another woman to experience the same pain.

Nezed's picture

Hi Comfy, am sorry you went

Hi Comfy, am sorry you went down that road too. Its an experience am sure no one will wish another woman as the trauma can be long lasting. Is there anything currently been done to have this anomaly corrected in your Alma mater? Pulse Wire can serve as a fora for we all to raise our voices with yours against such!

P.S: 'I dont know about your country Nezed but I am well aware what happens in mine'.

Am a Nigerian and i have an in depth knowledge/idea of what happens in 'our' country...

I do not aim for Perfection; Just excellence!

comfy's picture

Hi Nezed, Being a

Hi Nezed,
Being a Nigerian, am sure you know sexual harrassment is the norm in our Colleges.Unfortunately nothing is being done to my knowledge about tackling sexual harrassment in my Alma mater. I am sure you are also aware of the current news making the waves about a girl who was gang raped by five boys and the video posted online. It was said to happen in another university community.Instead of the institution to take cation, they are denying the incident. A typical example of how our men view women. The solution? Women teach your sons how to respect women. We are people, human beings not sex toys or play things!


susa's picture

change can come

Dear Comfy,

Thank you for your clear and concise writing about the situation for Nigerian women. I was intrigued by the phrase 'the female populace lack the gumption to put the law into practice for fear of being labelled feminists.' Is it that women lack the gumption (love that word!) to put the law into practice, or, as illustrated by your story of the young woman who endured harassment at school and was then punished for her 'creative' solution, that there is no true protection under the laws on the books? Or perhaps it is a mix of the two?

I appreciated your comments about the potential for women to be positive change agents. I hope in the work you do in Nigeria you can help more women realize what power they have in instilling such values in their children as respect for women and recognition of their contribution to a just and fair society. I believe that this is one avenue through which lasting change can occur. I'm curious about your view.

All the best to you,

comfy's picture


Hello Susa,
Thanks for your comments and encouragement.There are actually laws that protect women rights but Nigerian women are too scared to enforce them like in the case of bigamy, domestic violence and rape. Then in cases of sexual harrrassment, the law is eitherr non existent or the scope insufficeint; am not too sure.But I agree with you that lasting change can be had by instilling positive values in children, something only women can do.
I look forward to future interactions with you on world pulse.


Dextra's picture

Wow, what a story comfy! And

Wow, what a story comfy! And how right you are in identifying the power of web 2.0 to get the word out about important issues. Effectively educating women about the women's movement and women's issues has always been one of the biggest challenges and frustrations regarding the women's rights movement globally. Hopefully web 2.0 can help in that area. I am very hopeful although know it will not be easy.

rozjean's picture

Effecting change

Hi Comfy,
I am sorry that you, the woman in your story, and countless others across the globe suffer the indignities of sexual harassment. I agree that women serve as role models for their children, both male and female, and can effect change by seeing themselves as equals and teaching this to their children. On the other hand, men too must take the responsibility of teaching their sons to respect women and treat them as equals. I hope that we don't have to wait a generation for the sons of the mothers who have taught equality to their sons to take up the challenge!
Warm wishes,

comfy's picture

hopefully not

Hello Rozjean,
I had to laugh at the last sentence you wrote. Hopefully, God willing, we won't have to wait a generation for the men to take up the challenge and teach their sons respect for women.
However the reality is this: it is quite difficult to change the habits of a grown man who is already set in his ways. Such a man will only pass on his beliefs, no matter how wrong they are. On the other hand, it is quite easy to mould the habits of a boy who is still in his formative years.


Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Letters to a Better World

Letters to a Better World

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

womenspace's picture

CAMBODIA: Ordinary Women Can Make a Difference

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative