Dolly Writes

Journey of a growing woman

IJGB: A Woke View of Sexual Assault in Nigeria

I wrote this last month, so please bear that in mind as you read this and as always, I hope to hear your thoughts on the issue.

There are a lot of things that I love about my country, Nigeria. I love the people, the food, the parties, the music and so much more. This is why, when I landed in Murtala Muhammed airport a couple of weeks ago after being away in the UK for six years, I had a huge smile on my face because with all the issues that we face in this country, there really is no place like home.

However, within the last month that I have been here, I have found myself either having to tolerate or to educate people on what I believe should be common sense: sexual assault, in any form, is wrong!

Over the last couple of months, the Western media has been filled with reports of men in power who have been accused of sexual assault. If you google the word, sexual assault, you will see new cases of men who are alleged to have abused their powers on women and in some cases other men too. Social media has been filled with conversations about sexual assault and sexual harassment more than ever before and while I am glad that these issues are being talked about, a lot of the stories I have heard have left me completely sick to my stomach.

For the purpose of this piece, I thought it important to define what sexual assault means. According to Wikipedia, “sexual assault is a sexual act in which a person is coerced or physically forced to engage against their will. It is also defined as non-consensual touching of a person” Now, I have had a conversation with a lot of women in my life and I can tell you that based on this definition, majority of them have been sexually assaulted. If these are just the women in my circle, now imagine how many women out there are going throuigh the same thing every single day, especially in this country.

For a lot of men in this country, I think that our cultural and religious values have left them with a sense of entitlement. I think because our culture and religions teach us that we should respect the men, they automatically believe that women are property. This is not all men but I think that this is a problem that has largely been caused by the society by which we live in.

When I was growing up and even now as I am older, I hated going to the market. Whenever I went, there were always men catcalling and attempting and in a lot of cases, succeeding to touch me inappropriately. Now, was that being done to my brother? No. This just shows how far this culture has seeped into the DNA of our people.

In leaving this country six years ago, I knew that these things were wrong but it had happened so much over the course of my life that it was all I had ever known the society around me to be. Then, I lived in a different society where the rules were completely different. Then, I realised that this is not normal. Does that mean that it does not happen in the Western countries? No. In fact, the news cycle in the last couple of months has shown that this happens very often. The difference is that these men are now being shamed for their actions.

I have only been back for a little over a month and I have already been sexually assaulted by men from all sorts of backgrounds. I just finished my time at the NYSC orientation camp and while I was there, I had a lot of these conversations with some young men and women on camp. For some people, when I started talking about this, they called me feminist – which in their minds translated to men-hating. I am a feminist but I do not hate men. I just believe that women should feel comfortable being whoever and whatever they want to be without anyone giving them grief. I believe that a woman who works hard should be rewarded for her hardwork just as much as the man would be. I absolutely believe that women should not be touched or spoken to in an inappropriate manner that would leave them feeling sick and disgusted. This, to me is just common sense. Just as our common sense knows that stealing or lying is wrong, we should also know that we should respect people’s boundaries and not touch or speak to people without their consent.

How do we combat this issue in our society? I think we need to start educating ourselves on this issue and shaming those who commit these disgusting acts. I believe that we have to make victims comfortable in speaking out because our society has made it almost impossible for them to say anything. If they do, they are either blamed for the acts committed on them or they are told to shut up altogether. Our leaders need to take point on this because this is a real issue in our society and no one seems to be talking about. It all starts from the top.

I would love to live in a society where I am treated with respect as a human being and for what I can offer. Let us start the conversation. Let us say No to sexual assault.

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Career.

In getting older, I have been forced too think about my future way more now than ever before. As you grow in age, your responsibilities increase as well. Apart from finding a purpose that will fulfil me, I also need to find a means to make money so as to be able to take care of myself.

I know that one area that I always want to be involved in is the media, in some way even if it is not journalism-related. I just find that I thrive more in media more than anything more. I also want to be able to write – whether that is my main job or a side hustle, it does not matter but writing has to be a part of my life always.

As part of my national service, I started working at Punch Newspapers which is major. I am excited to get the experience and to be able to put it down in my CV- I mean, it is only the biggest newspaper firm in the country.

There are some things that I want to achieve by the end of this year but I don’t want to talk about them yet until they are almost done so that I do not jinx it.

Right now, I just leave my future in God’s hands because He has already seen it and He knows the right path for me to take.

God.

Consider what you owe to his immutability. Though you have changed a thousand times, He has not changed once.

– Charles Spurgeon

I have never met a perfect person. In my 8089 days of living, I am yet to meet or hear to someone that is just 100% absolutely, positively perfect. However, I am aware of an entity who is perfect in every way and that is God.

God is the only perfect being that was, is and is forever. He is faithful, kind, loving and every other amazing adjectives. The way that God loves me is like none other. You see humans aren’t perfect and no matter how hard we try, we can never be perfect. We will always make mistakes. It is just the way it is and the good thing about it is that God doesn’t expect us to be perfect.

And thank God for that because I have done some shitty things in my life but what I have discovered is that some how, some way, even when I don’t deserve it – which quite frankly is never – He loves me anyway. He is always right there, loving me and waiting for me to come to Him.

You know if I had a friend or a loved one who constantly – without fail – hurt me or did something bad to me, at some point, my patience will probably run out but see, that’s not the same with God. His patience never runs out.

I just…I have come to see that God really and truly is everything and I yearn to know him more and more. Unfortunately,  I am still at the point where I have not let go of a lot of my bad habits. It is hard, I won’t lie but I want to try. I do not even know if I am ready to try to be perfectly honest but I do want to keep working on my relationship with God. Even though, my spiritual life is really shaky, I feel like this is the best it has ever been because more than ever, I understand God a whole lot more than I did even a year ago.

I know that He loves me so much and I have faith in Him and I acknowledge what Jesus did for me on the cross and I am so thankful for it because I would be so doomed without  that beautiful price that He paid for me.

Happiness.

I’ll tell you what Freedom is to me. No fear.

– Nina Simone

I have never really been able to define what happiness meant but in the last year, I have come to see it as two things. The first is Freedom. Happiness, for me has always meant complete freedom – complete freedom to be me – and be okay with that -, complete freedom to live, to breathe; freedom from restrictions. I watched a documentary on Nina Simone recently aptly titled, ‘What Happened Miss Simone’ and she said something that touched me to the core of my soul. She said “I’ll tell you what Freedom is to me. No fear.” To me, that mirrors what happiness is. The only entity that I truly want to fear in life and the one after is the Most High God.

This is not to say that I want to just go about and be doing bad or evil things. No. Whatever you do in life, whether good or bad had it’s own rewards and I recognise that. I always want to maintain a strong moral compass on what is right and what is wrong. No matter what.

I also see Happiness as contentment. That is the second thing. Contentment. That feeling that no matter what I have in life, whether big or small, I’ll be good. I read something that Saint Paul had said in the Bible a while ago and when I read it, I said to myself, “This is what I want to feel all day, everyday.” He said: “I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that at anywhere, at anytime, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little.” (Philippians 4:12 GNT) .

I have never been the happiest person. I have always had bouts of happiness but it has never really been the full thing. This is because for a very long time, I suffered from depression. I have been pretty open about that and it was only last year that I really started seeing a light. So, in the last year, I have been the happiest I have ever been but it is still not where I want to be.

I have come to view happiness as a choice and I have to make that choice. Also, I have come to realise that true happiness comes from Jesus. The sort of happiness that Jesus provides is like none other because when you allow him to shoulder your burdens for you, you feel so much lighter. My spiritual life is shaky at best but it’s the best it has been in my entire life but I am trying though.

I am also trying to laugh more and not just laugh for the sake of laughing but that kind of laughter that makes your stomach hurt because you have been laughing so hard. I want to be content and I want to be able to depend on Jesus all the time.

Life is beautiful but it can be tough sometimes. You know this world is a whole mess and it always will be but it is what we got and I just want to make the best of every situation.

I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that at anywhere, at anytime, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little.

– St. Paul (Philippians 4:12)

Social Media.

I remember the first time I got a social media account. I believe I was 13 years old and in secondary school. I was so excited. While others had been joining MySpace and Facebook in its beginning stages, I never did because I did not want to fake my age – goodie two shoes. Yahoo Messenger was my first glimpse into the world of communicating with friends and strangers over the internet. I used to talk to people from different chat rooms and sometimes with friends but Hi5 seemed so much better. I could meet people as well as pimp my profile and check out my friend’s profiles and all of that. It was all fun. Sometimes, I still log into my profile just to see how things were. It’s like a time machine that takes me back in time to an old version of me.

Then as time went on, social media became this really huge thing that people were so addicted to and before you know it, I was a part of the movement. I joined Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and eventually Tumblr. Each of these apps have a component that I love. Facebook is great for me because it is easier to find people that I have lost touch with. There is a reason why till this day, when someone is not sure of a friend’s birthday, they check their Facebook. It has also helped with my blog as well because I have been able to reach people through my blog’s Facebook page.

Then there is twitter which is probably one of my favourite social media apps ever. I get to talk about whatever I want and to also see the way other people think. Twitter is truly undefeated. You see what  some shit on there that makes you laugh, cry, angry, sad and a lot of times confused. As a lover of words and thoughts and feelings, twitter gives me all of that and more.

I just love Tumblr for the pictures an d the deep quotes. Lol.  I have a love/hate relationship going on with Instagram. I like gossip too much..Lol, so I am always looking to sip some tea on blogs like Fameolous, The Shaderoom and others. I also love to share pictures and see what my friends are sharing as well.

However, Instagram has definitely contributed to some of my insecurities that I have had before or still have sometimes. Instagram can make you wish you had someone else’s life. I had to learn that things aren’t always what they seem. Instagram, more than any other social media app, in my opinion, has definitely contributed to the pressure a lot of people feel.

I was telling a couple of my friends some time ago that I might unfollow ‘Bella Naija Weddings’ just because as much as I enjoy looking at the pictures of beautiful brides, it makes me feel insecure sometimes or wanting marriage quickly. This is insane because while I do want to get married, I’m not ready for it right now and I know that. I want to get myself established more than anything before I take that leap but for a couple of minutes, when I look at that page sometimes, it makes me feel a certain kind of way. It reminds me of the societal pressures to get a man and get married and all that jazz.

Anyway, I can’t say that I’ll be staying away from social media anytime soon. Social media has also been a good tool for me especially with this blog and it really keeps me updated. However, I’ll keep on building myself and being the best person I can be. That’s all I can really do.

Music.

Oh, on and on, and on and on, my cypher keeps moving like a rolling stone.

– Erykah Badu

My very first memory of music is of me playing my ‘do-re-mi’s’ on the keyboard that was stationed in my home. I see myself sitting there at the age of 3 (I think) with a man (who I assume was my music teacher) teaching me how to play.

So before I really knew how to sing songs, I already knew how they were made. I knew the structure of it. Music is in my blood. Music is in my being. There is a song for every mood. A song for every feeling. If you are heartbroken, there is a piece of music that will reflect your pain. If you are feeling happy, there is a piece of music that will reflect your euphoria. Music reveals your true self. Music is a language. A language that I love with every fibre of my being.

And this is a language that I want to communicate in my writing as well.

I took up script writing last year. I have written a couple of scripts now and it is something that I have enjoyed creating. In doing so, I want to merge two things that I love – writing and music.

That is something that I want to keep working on this year. I want to keep this relationship with music going because without music, where would we be?

Love.

‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

– Alfred Lord Tennyson

I have always wanted Love. I have always craved Love. And why wouldn’t I? Love is an extreme from of high that constantly gives you an out-of-body experience. Love makes you feel things that you never thought was humanly possible. Love. Love is magic. Love is light. Love is God.

And that’s why, even though I have had my heart ripped out of my chest and trampled upon like rags, I would do it all again. I would love all over again.

In turning 22, the truth is that even though I want to love, I am not ready for it right at the moment. I had a deep intense love for the previous man in my life. As much as I do not want to admit it, he is my first love. He is the first person that I ever gave my all to. Now, did he love me back? He would tell you that he did – to fulfil all righteousness – but I know that he didn’t because I loved him and I would have never treated him the way he treated me.

So due to this experience, my heart just wants to take a little break and recover and regroup and spend some time falling in love with myself – as cliché as that sounds.

I have not given up on love. Just taking a little break. I want to feel it again though. That feeling of love can neither be explained or described. It just is what it is and I feel sympathy for those that have never really gotten a chance to feel that burning intensity in your bones. And I hope that at the end of my 22nd year, I would have gotten to a place where I am peace with myself and ready to restart my heart again with someone who feels for me the way I do him.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Hey beautiful people,

How are you all doing? I hope you have been doing okay. So, I am so sorry that I haven’t posted my 2 Samuel post…I have finished it but I have been so lazy ( please, pray for the strength of  God on my life) however, I am planning to post it either tomorrow or on Sunday.

Anyway, I wanted to use this platform to talk about something that affects the lives of women all over – Breast Cancer. While it affects men as well, it generally affects women more. According to cancer.org, “Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than among women. For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.”

Breast cancer is a horrible disease that happens to women and it is something that a lot of brave people have to fight through every single day. I do not know anyone personally that has gone through breast cancer but I know that it can happen to anyone. Therefore, it is very important that we know how to self examine ourselves to see if there is anything wrong because early detection can save lives.

I saw a photo on Twitter by Dr. Ben Rusani, that shows how we can check our breasts. Take a look below:

DLNTnmYVAAEwyuq.jpg-large

Please, make sure you take a minute of your day to check your breasts and determine if everything is okay. It could save your life.

I also want to take this moment to salute all the brave people that are fighting this horrible disease each and everyday and those have survived it, you are amazing and wonderful and I thank God for you.

And to the beautiful ones that we have lost to it, continue to rest in the bosom of our Lord and I pray for peace and comfort for your family always.

Love,

Dolly.

 

Photo: Handmade By Heroes

An Angry African Woman

Someone once told me that I would be considered intimidating by the African man because I got my masters at the age of 21. I was given the implication that I might have to downplay my achievements to soothe the ego of the African man if I wanted to find a husband.

So, in order for my husband to shine, I would have to dim my light. I can be anything I choose to be as long as I do not surpass him.

Every part of me has to be perfect so that my husband can sleep well at night knowing that he has a beautiful woman with perfect breasts and an apple bottom, who can be a freak in bed but also get down on the floor and scrub and clean while cooking his favourite dish and supporting his dreams while mine stay at the back burner.

I have to be able to bear his children so that his family line can continue and get back to a size 6 almost immediately so that I can satisfy his visual hunger.

And when he comes home smelling of cheap perfume and lipstick marks on his collar, I’ll kiss him ‘welcome’ and take his clothes while acting like I didn’t see it or smell it so that he can be proud of himself that he has gotten away with it once again while trying to curb the pain in my heart because after all, he is a man and this is what men do. I am no different than my neighbour, Omotola whose husband I saw, kissing a girl young enough to be his daughter last week.

And on our 50th wedding anniversary celebration, we will talk about how we survived through the hard times together while staring into the eyes of the children that he had during one of his manly urges around the time we were celebrating our 40th.

Society has made me believe that it is my duty to keep a home and satisfy the man even when he is the one destroying the home. Somehow, my inability to cook that Ogbono soup that he requested for is enough reason for him to go out and be pleased by the thighs of another woman.

Society is my enemy because society is okay with me being treated like a modern slave in the hands of a man who is not even as smart as I am or even in the same league as me.

Well, baby just in case you didn’t know, I worked my ass off for those degrees that you speak about while dealing with a man who did not appreciate me! The man that I marry will be a man in every sense of the word because he will be secure enough to know that we can both shine together. He will be satisfied in knowing that I am just enough for him and that I am all he would ever need.

He would appreciate the changing nature of my beautiful female body and give me the time and encouragement to be the best woman that I can be. He would take me for all that I am and would Iove, respect and honour me just like a real man should. There are many layers to me as woman. I am beautiful, smart, gentle and kind and I can be a wife and change the world all at the same damn time. And it would be a cold day in hell for me to become a slave to your societal bullshit.

 

Photo: Deviant Art

Butterfly

There was a time that you were all I could think of

You were a dream, a wish that came true

A part of me that I never even knew existed

You were all I wanted; all I needed and more

Or so I thought

 

I gave you all of me…

My heart, my spirit, my soul, my body

I loved you, cared for you, prayed for you

I lifted you up, dimmed my light for you

I would have slayed dragons for you

And what did I get in return?

My heart used in a playing field of your lies  and your deceit

 

And yet I stayed

Because my love for you wanted to believe that you would want to be better for me

It wasn’t all you!

I also stayed for selfish reasons

I stayed because I didn’t have the strength to deal with the pain of building myself back up from the rubble that you left of my heart

I was afraid of being alone

 

It was hard

I thought I had let you go but there was something drawing me to you

It was fear

I did not know how to move on from that part of my life

But I did

 

Like a Phoenix, I saw myself rising again

Freed from the chains that was holding me back

This person that I thought would never show up did

This butterfly…free at last!

And never turning back

The cocoon had been filled with pain but that pain moulded me and shaped me

Like a potter with clay

And now I am ready to fly

 

A day would come when you would look for me

You would go to all the corners of the earth

Searching for me

But you wouldn’t find me

Or you just might

But I wouldn’t be yours for the taking

And you would tell stories that would last generations

Of the one that got away!