Several years ago, I saw a social media status update from a girl complaining about some loud noises that was preventing her from sleeping. Curious I asked what the problem was, she informed me that her neighbors were making noise again. Again? This meant that this happened often, so I pressed further…that’s when I found out that the noise… the loud noise keeping her from sleeping… disturbing her at night was the sound of her neighbor’s husband beating his wife! I was shocked… me a JJC just coming to Nigeria… I was like why don’t you call the police or report the case and the answer she gave me was quite startling “wetin concern me” aka “it’s none of my business.”
It’s never been anyone’s business, cause we feel like it cannot happen to us or to our sisters or parents. Or maybe we are too pre-occupied with battling our own worries so we ignore the abuse. And tick it down as “noise.” Just another daily I mean nightly husband beating his wife silly.
But sometimes the ordinary beating takes a different turn. You see after years of telling the abused spouse to go back to their other half, after years of silence by a community, by family, by you and me…the perpetrator gets arrogant, gets confident, and then goes all Mercy Nnadi on their spouse.
Don’t know Mercy Nnadi… well her husband after repeated abuse and beatings, finally snapped one day and used a hot iron to burn her chest and a screw driver to take the burnt skin off only to re-apply the iron again. She survived, but her son did not. He died…
Does it make you mad?
Does it make you upset?
Does it piss you off?
I am sure it does, you probably even want to ensure that her husband gets to die not by electrocution or hanging but by a hot iron pressed all over his body (idea credited to Ofili’s evil side). But we know where that takes us… nowhere… just more violence. So what can we do?
Last year a friend of mine Ngozi Ilondu (my unofficial stalker) got hired to Project Alert, an organization that helps battle against domestic violence. Since she joined she has shared numerous horror stories about violence against women that occur in Nigeria. But the violence is not the sickening part, the sickening part is the silence from the community, not just a passive silence… but an active push by local authorities and community to silence the voices of the abused. All for the sake of preserving family and community pride!
So it is no surprise that project alert faces more opposition than they get help. But yet they keep battling to get voices heard but they cannot do it alone. They need you and me.
Ngozi stalks me everyday with email requests, from article edits of articles, mailing of sponsorship forms and others. So I thought, what if she could also stalk the ofilispeaks.com readers… Mercy Nnadi has also joined them because she understands the devastation of domestic violence, but we don’t need to see another person go through it before we help support. They need help from graphic designers, to bloggers willing to spread the word about what they are doing and they also needs funds. So here’s how you can help:
1. Send an email to [email protected] with the simple words “How Can I Help You?”
2. Make a donation to Project Alert Survivor’s Fund | 1013113653 | Zenith Bank or via paypal at http://bit.ly/IvkhZg or with paypal email [email protected]
3. Can’t make a donation, then tweet/facebook/instagram this article and help spread the word for the organization.
4. Lastly, I will personally match any donation made (up to N75,000 ($500)) this weekend.
Now, all the above we make a difference. But the lasting difference is by us changing the conversation. So when we talk to people, we let them know that it is not about not marrying Muslim or Igbo or Yoruba, but rather about marrying someone who loves you, who will take care of you, who will respect you. By spreading this message and channeling our anger into something meaningful then maybe, just maybe we can change the conversation and save a life.
Okechukwu Ofili is an author, speaker, and blogger and a The Trent Elite Voice. Follow him on twitter, Facebook or subscribe to his blog for more honest talk and as @ofilispeaks on instagram for more sketches! To bring Ofili to your school or organization as a speaker simply go here. His third book How Intelligence Kills will be coming out in December of 2013 pre-order here http://bit.ly/intelligencekills
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.