Campaign Update

This Shame-Game Must Stop!

Aramide Oikelome
Posted July 13, 2017 from Nigeria

Why on earth would a woman give birth to a baby and then kill him? Why would she endure the pains of pregnancy and labour; only to give birth and dump her new-born in a trash can or garbage bin? Time and again we hear the stories of teen mothers strangulating their new-born or throwing them away; and most times, this comes after several attempted abortions have failed. One cannot help but wonder why such girls would not rather give the baby up for adoption or take him to an orphanage for fostering instead of wasting the life of an innocent child in such a despicable manner.

Very recently, an undergraduate student from one of the tertiary institutions in Northern Nigeria was intercepted at the domitory toilet after killing her baby and attempting to flush her into the soak away tank. Her mates, who stumbled on her while engaging in this dastardly act, had raised alarm, which brought some other hostel mates into the restroom. With their booing and ranting, they got her to pick up the baby and match to the school’s administrative block for further questioning before she was handed over to the police. Unfortunately, it was too late; the tiny tot’s life had been snuffed out already.

While condemning this heinous act in its entirety, we must not be oblivious of the fact that adolescent mothers face a huge challenge as a result of societal stigmatization and in some cases, outright condemnation. Oftentimes, these young mothers are surrounded with so much hate and negativity that they despair for life. Unfortunately, sometimes it is not even their fault that they got pregnant as young girls. While some are victims of rape and abuse, others get pregnant as a result of ignorance and lack of information on their sexual reproductive rights and needs. Only very few get into this situation wilfully. And even at that, do they really deserve to be nailed and crucified.

Very recently a 19 year old Salvadoran rape victim, Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz was sentenced to 30 years in prison for delivering a stillborn, even when it was reported by BBC that she passed out while giving birth. My take is- Why should society torture an already traumatized girl in this manner? Hasn’t she suffered enough to have been raped? Where is the rapist that got her pregnant? What judgement has been meted out to him for violating and destroying the life and destiny of a helpless girl in this manner? Why treat Evelyn like a criminal and sentence her to three decades behind bars while her violator is allowed to walk free? Why this waste of precious life, strength and destiny? Why this hypocrisy in high places? Why this double-standard by the very people that are supposed to be custodians of moral standards and equity? Where is the balance? Of course this is another case of gender inequality and discrimination; another case of injustice against women and girls; another sad case of man’s inhumanity to man; yes, men’s inhumanity to the womenfolk.

This shame-game must stop. I maintain that a girl’s life and dream should not come to a halt because she got pregnant while in school. She should not be left to pine away in shame and regrets while her mates are building brilliant careers and fulfilling purpose. She deserves another chance. When she is assured of a second chance, she won’t be tempted to go for abortion. No, she won’t be tempted to snuff life out of her new-born or throw him away as garbage.

Rather, she would be confident that despite the fact that she missed it, the future is assured. She would be confident to walk free, talk free, live well and dare to dream again. Yes, she would be encouraged to nurture her new-born with love and warmth. And of course, she would be empowered to pursue a career path and strive to succeed.

This is why we at Girls Arise Initiative are set to help adolescent mothers pick up the broken pieces of their lives together again. We are committed to restoring their shattered dreams and giving them the necessary support to become economically independent and empowered.

Come July 27th, we at Girls Arise Initiative would be engaging the adolescent mothers in Ijegun in a skill acquisition session. Based on the general consensus reached during our first summit on 11th June, we shall be training in Soap-making. This is one of our decisive steps towards economic empowerment for teen mothers. Other steps will follow as we engage community women and mothers in dialogue to join the campaign and end the stigmatization. Its time to sing a new song. #SecondChanceForAdolescentMothers

Comments 7

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JJ
Jul 13, 2017
Jul 13, 2017

Dear Aramide, how difficult it must have been to write out your heartfelt brief, and how eloquent you are in reaching our heartstrings! It's heartbreaking to think of girls such as Evelyn, being imprisoned for a crime being perpetrated upon her. These are the sorts of stories that build the fire in my belly to help change these outcomes. I applaud you for writing such a tough, thought-provoking, and inspiring (Girls Arise) essay. I wish you much success with your initiative! Xxx JJ

Aramide Oikelome
Jul 20, 2017
Jul 20, 2017

JJ Dear,

It feels good to know that I have a sister in you, one who feels the pulse of the pain I feel. Its so sad that society treats innocent girls as culprits while the real offenders are left unpunished.

I can only hope that as women and girls we can stand up for girls like Evelyn and demand justice.

I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel!

In Sisterhood!

Aramide

christelle
Jul 14, 2017
Jul 14, 2017

vraiment il est bon de seccès ce genrs de chose ,pour nous les filles malgrét  la violence faite on est toujours capable de suporter toutte torture au lieu de tuer une innoncent(e).

Maman Aramide une grande courage pour cette formation de montre aux gennes adolescents de bien savoir geré leur vie de demain maligrer le circostence

Aramide Oikelome
Jul 20, 2017
Jul 20, 2017

Hello,

Although I dont understand the message you have sent to me, Im glad to know that we are united in this struggle for the emacipation of our girls. I believe we are invincible.

Keep up the good work!

Blessings!

Aramide

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Jul 19, 2017
Jul 19, 2017

Ooooooh my dear

It is very sad that an innocent life was taken. That baby desrved a chance to live. Thank you for the work your doing and for sure girls need to be enlightened about what they doing and should not be shamed. 

Continue with the good work.

Stay blessed

Aramide Oikelome
Jul 20, 2017
Jul 20, 2017

Many thanks Anita,

No child deserves to be wasted in this manner. The more reason why we have to educate and support adolescent mothers and teenage girls that are pregnant so they can take the right decision.

Keep up the good work at your end!

Aramide

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Jul 25, 2017
Jul 25, 2017

Your welcome my dear sister.