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Because you are a girl

Published by The Nation on Fri, 27 Nov 2020

Olukorede YishauIn the last few weeks, Kunle Afolayan, one of Nigerias most amazing filmmakers, has become more popular. Reason: His latest film, Citation, has gained grounds on Netflix, a global streaming platform. Being a Netflix Original, the streaming of the film is not restricted to a particular zone, it can be streamed almost everywhere in the world.Before Afolayans movie started breaking records on the platform, another movie from Nigeria, Oloture, started doing better than any other Nigerian product on the platform. It also has the advantage of being a Netflix Original, the second from the country. The first was Genevieve Nnajis Lionheart.While Citation is about the sex-for-grades challenge in our tertiary institutions, Oloture is about prostitution and trafficking in girls. Both movies are based on true-life events. Lionheart is about giving the girl-child her dues.These three Netflix Original movies, which are centred on women and girls, sync with my last read: Tsitsi Dangarembgas Nervous Condition, where the narrator, a girl named Tambu, is made to stop school and all is done for her brother to continue. Even her efforts to find a way out are ridiculed by her father all because she is a girl. Have you ever heard of a woman who remains in her fathers house' He asks and before an answer is provided, he adds: She will meet a young man and I will have lost everything. This aligns with what a Ugandan notes in Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbis Kintu: As a boy if you wander too often into the kitchen doubt is cast over you. Tambus fathers attitude strains their relationship and they live in peaceful detachment.Afolayans Citation reminds me of the University of Lagos lecturers accused of sex-for-grades. One of them is a pastor. In the secretly-recorded video, Dr. Boniface Igheneghu, who is also a Foursquare pastor, promised to help a supposedly 17-year-old, who was actually an undercover reporter. From their first meeting for tutorials, Igheneghu began to reveal creepy intentions.He told the girl: How old are you' 17, and you look very big like this' Dont you know you are a beautiful girl' Do you know that' You are not beautiful; you are a very beautiful girl. Do you know I am a pastor' And I am in my 50s. What will shock you is that even at my age, if I want a girl of 17, all I need is to sweet-tongue her; give small money and I will get her.At a second meeting, Igheneghu prayed with the girl to lead her to Christ. He directed her to repeat after him: Lord Jesus Christ; I confess the Lord Jesus Christ; I accept that you are my Lord and saviour. Guide me and direct me. Thank you, Jesus. Dont worry about your admission. I will work on it.He soon asked her: Have you started knowing men' When the girl asked what he meant by knowing men, he said point-blank: Have you started having sex' Look anything that we discuss, you are sure that your mother will not hear'At another meeting secretly filmed, Igheneghu spoke about a place lecturers take their prey for sexual escapades at the UNILAG Staff Club. He said: There is an upper part of the staff club where lecturers carry out their deeds; they call it cold room.In this cold room, girls are meant to experience another side of the cold world they are part of. Igheneghu also said cooperating students are favoured with good grades. She pays with her body, he said, You have to be obedient to have your admission.Igheneghu told the undercover reporter to kiss him after locking the door and switching off the light in his office in an attempt to demonstrate what the cold room looked like.Do you want me to kiss you' Lock the door; I will kiss you for a minute.The girl asked: Did you lock the door'Yes, Igheneghu whispered.He asked her to come closer.Girl: I am close to you already, sir.Igheneghu added: Sit downCome closeGirl: OK.Igheneghu: Look(wrapping his arms around her)You are so stiff.He concluded: I can call you to come any day; if you dont come, then you know you are gone. I will tell your Mom you are disobedient.The girl responded: Ok Sir.Two girls, who he had harassed before, shared their experiences.The first girl said: He will tell you to come to his office. He will lock the door. Sometimes, he will want to grope you; sometimes, he will dry hump you. He likes to pick on struggling students because he knows that they are very vulnerable and there is nothing they can do.The second girl said: I never ever gave my consent once. There was a time he was preparing for Bible study, he was groping me and he was writing down scriptures.We are still a long way from giving our women and girls a world free of worrying that evil may befall them because of their gender. Our societys foundation is laid in such a way that a girl is at a disadvantage. It is so bad that when a woman is doing well many of us believe she must have used the bottom power. Brilliant women abound and even when we acknowledge their brilliance, we still find a way to rubbish their records by attributing their rise to extraneous factors.In many a home, girls cook, wash clothes and keep the house clean. Boys watch television, play games and wait for the food to be served. So, these boys grow up to expect their wives to do everything. Many fathers in our society see a lady through her womanhoodher education counts less.Most times, when a woman cheats, she is in trouble, and when her man cheats, she is still in trouble of ensuring the other chic does not take the man forever.Aside from the family unit, society also helps to put the female gender down. Our politicians are also guilty in this respect. Women are made to play second fiddle. Most times they are used as entertainers at political events, where they sing praises of men who are party leaders.My final take: We should all play our roles to end deliberate discrimination against women and instances of taking advantage of them in form of sex-for-grades and sex-for-jobs. Men should stop making them play second fiddle. They are brilliant and smart and deserve all that men have.
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