Gender Is Not A Social Issue, It Is A Social Construct
I saw a quote by poet Noor Hindi that read, “Fuck your lecture about craft, my people are dying.”
And this is where I wanted us to begin. There comes a point in every woman’s life when you realize that the world is sexist. Sometimes you reach that point every single day, several times a day.
I’ve known since I was a child that something was wrong with this world and in 2020 I wanted to cry every single day because of the many stories that went untold. The many lives we lost. The fact that we were all stuck at home but there was a surge in domestic violence, rape cases, and child pregnancies was yet another reminder that we are not safe anywhere. Especially not in our homes.
Yet this story is the one that finally broke me, I cried and screamed and it’s taken so much to even be able to finally write this and I didn’t even know her.
If you don’t know what happened here is where to start.
Y'all my friend @HinyHumoren is in trouble and she needs our help.
I'm currently in Lagos and I can't help than to put this out there.
Earlier today she told me she was going for a job interview at airport road which is quite far from her house. pic.twitter.com/X1YBLUPO7d
— Happiness Activist #justiceforHinyUmoren (@UmohUduak1) April 29, 2021
Her friend, Umoh who first sounded the alarm, spent hours, posting and sharing and trying to get people’s attention & for the next few hours that turned into days people helped share and spread the word. Trying to track her phone and contact the person she was meant to meet but it was all too late.
What made this story the one that finally broke me was that she did it all. She did everything we continue telling women to do. She worked hard, put herself through school. She looked for the right job opportunity. She went out during the day. She shared her location with her friend. She told her family exactly where she was going and who she was meeting with. She shared the man’s number and yet when it all came down to it. It was too late.
By the time they found her, this man, these men had raped and killed her. It’s 2021 and we are still dying. It’s 2021 and when they found her body, they found the bodies of other women buried with her. I don’t know how loud we need to scream this, cry, beg, shout, fight, plead but telling us to be careful is not enough.
We aren’t the ones killing ourselves. Continuing to give us guidance to live in a world that’s adamant about taking our life is not only insane but it is cruel. Here are a few things that I want us to highlight.
1. Gender is not a social issue, it is not a debate, a talking point, or a fun conversation to make jokes about. We are dying.
Today, our anger is well understood but I'm also here to tell you that it should never take death. Women and girls are not safe. In our homes, on our way to work, when looking for jobs, at our place of work, at our place of worship. You are hardly guaranteed anything.
— Mgbeke Feeling Funky (@Dimmaumeh) May 2, 2021
There are many questions that I often ignore because not only are they insulting but they piss me off but here is the answer to a few of them.
a) What is the point of feminism? What is feminism, why are feminists angry, or any other variation.
We are dying every single day!
b)Why do you demand equal rights, I don’t understand the problem.
We are dying every single day!
c) But men also have problems.
Yes, and more than half of them can be solved by ending Patriarchy as a system. Also if you are only saying this in response to women calling for safety, you don’t really care about men’s issues. We keep shouting because you are not listening. We are dying every single day! And it’s your silence that is killing us.
We become Feminists because we are tired of feeling unsafe in our own countries. Because we don't want anymore of us to die & never want to get raped. So you somehow degrading our pain and struggles to something as silly as heartbreak is insulting. We are dying for fucks sake
— Feminist Witch (@DonCorleANN) May 2, 2021
2. Stop telling us to be careful in response to us telling you that we feel unsafe.
The mental gymnastics you constantly go through as a woman when in public whether day or night is unreal. The number of men who feel entitled to touch you, grope you, follow you, and demand your attention is unnerving and we never feel safe.
We don’t feel safe whether we are in all the clothes in our wardrobe or wearing nothing. We don’t feel safe whether we have made sure to share our location or made sure to choose the busiest street. We don’t feel safe at work, at school, at church, at home.
Only one gender will watch what they wear, where they go to, how they respond to your questions, where they agree to meet up with you. Just to be safe
— Mabe (@MabeAhiaba) May 2, 2021
We constantly have to second guess what we say so we ‘don’t give off the wrong message.’
We constantly have to second guess if he is indeed a nice guy or if we should expect danger around the corner. We don’t have a measuring stick to see whether or not this one will be the one who hurts us because surprise surprise murderers and rapists don’t walk around with warning signs on their foreheads.
It's definitely, "ALL MEN" for women. Nothing separates a good man from a bad man. Instead of trying to refute the phrase, focus on being a safe space as a man for women rather than refuting for other men.
— Shuggie Bain (@obynofranc) May 2, 2021
It’s every single man for women that we have to doubt because we just don’t know. Understand that victims of sexual assault know their attacker in approximately eight out of 10 cases. When a child is the victim of sexual abuse, the rates are even higher—90 percent of victims know their attacker. To compound this, nearly half of all the abusers of children are family members.
Continuing to tell women to be careful is blatant victim blaming and to continue to say do this or do that. Is even more victim blaming. Even when we do everything right we are not guaranteed our life. We are dying every single day.
3. Sexist jokes, rape jokes, or any variation are not funny.
Sadly, this needs saying but again because most victims know their abuser you likely know them too. They are there walking and talking and relating to you every single day. They are your family members and friends. These are the people who rape and kill us.
Tomorrow, you’d make misogynistic and dark humor jokes claiming it ends just on twitter. Forgetting people who act on these jokes are on twitter. Seeing your tweets. Laughing. Because they have seen a support system.
— THE ADA OWERRI (@TheAdaaa) May 2, 2021
Hiny’s murderer was just another man on Twitter. A platform where so many people gather and share jokes daily. When we tell you it’s not okay, we mean that it’s literally life or death for us.
That’s how abusers and murderers find their courage. That’s how they feel empowered to act the way they do publicly. It won’t kill you to shut your trap when you have nothing better to say but it can lead to the murder of an innocent woman when you continue to foster a safe environment for abusers.
4.Sharing on social media can genuinely save a life.
I used to be one of those people too who thought my sharing couldn’t make a difference and this showed me the power we could have if we all took the ten seconds it takes to share or retweet a post and tag the authorities and anyone else in a position to help.
All we have in this world is each other. Umoh showed this by going above and beyond for her friend and we need to continue to go above and beyond for each other.
There is power in our collective voices by making sure that no story is silenced and that each woman’s life is treated with respect, love, and care. That we amplify those voices and we refused to be silenced even though we may be far from each other.
You can find links to the full thread here and also follow & share #justiceforHinyHumoren