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    She’s 15: Teenage girls are not objects of your perverse sexual fantasy

    On Saturday, the 11th of April, Yul Edochie, a Nigerian actor, took to Twitter to celebrate his daughter on her 15th birthday. His message was innocuous, and one would expect, as in most situations where a person wishes their loved one a ‘happy birthday’ on social media, that others would join them in celebrating. The messages quickly took a disturbing turn when grown men inundated the comments by not only making sexually suggestive comments about this teenage girl’s body but also making remarks about her virginity or assumed lack of it. I wish I could say I was surprised, but I wasn’t. And that, knowing that this is a reality…

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    Rape: Heightened Sexual Violence During Month of Love

    In 2015, Soladoye Ige (not real name) was reported to have told the Police that he decided to rape his girlfriend as a celebration of Valentine’s Day. Why? Well, because she wouldn’t have sex with him. For him, sex was necessary as a symbol of the day’s significance so of course, why should it matter that she didn’t want any part of it especially since they had an established sexual relationship? Last year, in India, there was the case of a 24 year old man who raped his 18 year old friend on Valentine’s Day. According to the victim, they had only become friends a few months back and so…

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    Tips for the YALI RLC Application

    It is okay if you’ve applied for YALI once before and your application was unsuccessful. That’s the story of my first application, too. The second one, though? That was a home run that gave me an opportunity to not only deepen my knowledge, but also learn from other young Africans. That’s the first thing I’d say to you; don’t disqualify yourself on the basis of a past application. You have likely grown in that time, and I truly hope you’ll allow yourself give it a second shot. Or a third. The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) was launched by the United States government as an effort to invest in the…

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    The day after #16daysofActivism

    Just in case you are wondering, the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence is an annual campaign that begins on the 25th of November – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – and ends on the 10th of December – Human Rights Day. Fitting, isn’t it? The purpose of this annual campaign is to raise awareness of the numerous ways that women are exposed to violence simply by virtue of being women, share information on how we all as the larger society can be better allies to women, and fuel existing conversations around women safety. The theme for this year is Orange the World: Generation…

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    That’s the thing; Privilege should come with Responsibility

    Two weeks ago, I was at the University of Lagos for the monthly seminar organized for PEIFFUND mentees, whom I happen to be one of. The topic of concern was “Communication Skills” so you can probably imagine how interactive it got. After the session, in the spirit of that interaction, four of us got into a conversation about feminism; I and 3 young men who I have gotten to know over the past few months. Now, this article is not a run-down of our conversation, but I’d like to highlight a few things that I think we all need to pay attention to in the way that we show up…

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    The Beginning

    As a child, one of my favorite adults was Mummy Tolu. While growing up, she was a neighbor and what you could refer to as a ‘second mummy’. She asked all the important questions like “Is your mum back?” when my mum traveled and “have you eaten?’ when the answer was no. When I got into the boarding house as a student in Junior Secondary School 1, it became a thing that Mummy Tolu would give me rolls of milk, milo, and some detergents at the beginning of every term up until my last year in secondary school. If it didn’t happen, then resumption was incomplete. It always happened. I…

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    Marriage Is Not For Every Woman

    I know exactly what I typed. Yes, that’s exactly what I meant to type. Now, before you feel a type of way, do note that I did not say “any” woman, because then, that would be another type of baloney. It’s tiring, to say the least, the way we manage to connect even the most casual cords in a woman’s life to marriage and someone she may someday be joined with. What’s even more tiring is the way that has been made the only acceptable reality. If you speak and your voice is a little too clear, you hear things like “is it someone like you that will find a…

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    He Called Me Ashawo

    Two weeks ago, I was called a bedpreneur, or in popular Nigerian parlance, an Ashawo. On Instagram too, for that matter. But how did we get there? Summarily, two teenagers, a boy and a girl, were caught exploring each other in ways that were sexual in nature. The adults present, horrified that something like that was happening with teenagers, reportedly proceeded to punish the girl while admonishing her. All the while, the boy, her partner in exploration, was almost excluded from the conversation, almost as if the words of reproach had nothing to do with him. A man, a witness to this spectacle, became angry and proceeded to give the…

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    The Sword Knows No Face

    “He was such a smart boy. He promised to always look after me and make my life better. He was too good for this world.” – Anne-Marie Uwimana, Rwandan Genocide Survivor, speaking of her son who was one of the 800,000 souls lost in the genocide of 1994. This woman, Anne-Marie, lost four children and her husband during the genocide. Even now, typing this, I can see her face in that BBC interview; the redness of her eyes and the brokenness that can be seen in it. I can see the many tales of time that the skin of her hands have to tell – tales of a pain so…

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    A being, BEing

    Mama Tolu works very hard, the quintessential Nigerian mother. She wakes up at 4am while the world still sleeps and the spirits are prowling to cook and clean. When its 5:30, she wakes up the entire household; children for school, husband for work. She deploys her 3 pairs of hands to dish everyone’s food, while matching mixed socks, doing the dishes as they get piled up in the sink and refereeing fights that break out when the children break out fully from their sleepy state. At 7:30, she’s almost bouncing to get the kids to school and oh yes, there is herself to get ready because she probably has to…