A Burning Desire
It all started with a desire to be different from most young women in the small community I grew up, a desire to encourage my friends who didn’t see reasons why the girl child should be schooled as it was a common practice amongst the people at that time. The desire to speak for and help others even when it got me into trouble. It was this desire that saw me through school. I could remember the smile on faces of my parents when I graduated and started work as a trainee in a media outfit in a commercial city, from where I grew to become a channel manager.
Working as a producer (in the News & Current Affairs department) opened my eyes to a lot of domestic violence and human rights abuses against women and children especially.
I could remember a domestic violence case in 2004 which lead to the death of Mrs Okonkwo, a mother of three who slumped and died after her husband’s battering. Prior to her death her family advised that she remain in the marriage because of the children when she attempted to filing for a divorce, the authorities also advised they settle on family level. No legal action was taken against Mr Okonkwo after her death, he probably roaming the street free and maybe married to another woman.
A few months ago it was a female banker Titilayo Arowolo she was in her late twenties with a daughter of two, got married in 2008. She was stabbed to death and her body mutilated by her husband Kolade Arowolo. No judgment has been passed on him yet but with the way the case is going, he is likely to go scot-free.
There are several cases of children abused by their parents. Yesterday I read of a woman Rebecca Emmanuel she was sentenced to death for poisoning her 9 year old son whom she had out of wedlock and burnt the corpse so that no one can recognize the body. And I am wondering how long will these continue? Who will speak for victims of such circumstances? What should women do when their rights are being trampled upon?
This is the reason I live, this is the reason I do what I do as a journalist to help amplify the voices of women and children in pain, this is reason I am developing a talk show/counseling programme. I want to see women fully aware of their basic rights and responsibilities. It is my desire that more men in my community become responsibly husbands and fathers. It is my desire that people get the right counsel and authorities wake up to the responsibilities for which they were set up. It is my desire that women speak up without fear or intimidation.
I know that becoming a VOF correspondent will help me fine-tune and develop new ideas in reaching out to my community, network and learn from other women who have succeeded in carrying out awareness campaigns in their communities and have amplified their voices for change. It will give me the rare privilege to tell my stories and express myself better as I learn, impact, share knowledge and experiences and draw strength and courage from others.
In life I have come to realize that we have the power to make whatever change we desire if only we can look inwards.
It all starts with a desire.