When I shared my conversation with my friend in my last post, I had no idea that a blog called Sugabelly existed. Nor had I ever heard the name Lotanna in my life. I was just so pained at the unimaginable horrors that take place that we never talk about. It took listening to my friend to suddenly realize it could just as well have been me, and worse, thousands of other women are victims of various forms of abuse, but they choose to bury their nightmares deep within the folds of their silence. An action which is as sad as it is futile.
A lot can happen in a week.
Within the last week, Turkey and Russia became enemies by mistake, President Buhari enjoys wanderlust even though we have crises back home, Boko Haram has slaughtered and bombed in 2 states, the dollar has risen even higher against the naira, and Sugabelly has gone viral. Oh, and I’ve read more on Stockholm Syndrome than I ever have in my life. If you don’t know what that is, ask our mutual friend, Google. I think the universe agrees with me on deafening hushes, because suddenly Sugabelly’s story became a thing that we suddenly cannot shut up about. A thing that .
And the only reason I want to find that girl and give her a hug is because she refused to shut up. She chose to look stigma in the face. She knew just what she was getting, and the kind of names she would be called. Unprintable. Vile. Unforgettable. She knew her reputation would be in tatters. She knew that only 18 cases of rape, of the many thousands, have ended with a conviction (That by the way, is enough reason for national mourning). She was going up against powerful people, so there was no chance of getting justice. She knew, yet she went ahead and spoke up anyway. If that’s not a definition of courage, I don’t know what is.
And here’s the result, the rippling effect: At least ten thousand women stand with Lotanna. There’s a petition going round, demanding justice for Lotanna. Other victims are speaking up, because she spoke up. Men, the normal ones, are speaking up against the act. There’s action. Buzz. Because she didn’t shut up. If nothing else, rapists will start thinking twice now. Baby steps, but we will get there.
Here’s the thing, the silence has to stop. It. Has. To. Stop. The silence not only protects the evil, it feeds it. Let’s tell our stories. All of them. At the very least, somebody somewhere will be inspired. If people know you will sing like a canary, they will be better actors in the events of your life, abi? I believe so.
On that note, welcome to December! Christmas is around the bend, yay! Don’t forget to give as much as you can this season, and cause ripples everywhere you can!