Just when you thought the War on Women couldn’t get any worse, and that you have heard of everything, in April of this year, there were Federal charges brought against a doctor in Detroit, Michigan, USA, who works in an emergency room. She had been arrested and charged with performing Female Genital Mutilation on two 7-year-old little girls.
Women in the United States have been fighting to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation from the world since the early 1990’s. It is a terrible practice, done to control women and girls. It is what makes women marriageable in many cultures in Africa, some parts of Asia, and parts of the Middle East.
As people immigrate to America, they bring a lot of pieces of their culture with them. America has always been enriched by the cultures of other nations, but this is not a piece of culture that is enriching. It is a method of subjugating girls and women. It is against Federal and State laws.
The countries of the world have begun to respond to the outcries against this horrible practice.
Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan fell from power in 2015. This was due largely to the fact that he seemed to be unable to search for or find the almost 300 Chibok schoolgirls abducted and enslaved by the Boko Haram. Jonathan did, however, sign a law banning Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). This law also makes it illegal for men to abandon their wives and children without financial support.
This is a huge advance for women’s rights in Nigeria.
The United Nations, in 2014, confirmed what has long been known — FGM causes psychological and physical damage, including: infertility, loss of sexual pleasure, severe infections, fistulas, endangered childbirth labor and death. In 2017, it is estimated that nearly 25% of Nigerian women are enduring the effects of the procedure.
The British newspaper, The Guardian, joined the United Nations in an effort to fight FGM. With the support of the UN Population Fund, the paper helped local journalists cover the after effects of the procedure. The new law in Nigeria can partly be credited for playing a part in this fight.
There have been at least five decades of humanitarian work on this issue in regional African and Middle Eastern women’s movements. Feminists and the global women’s movement have also worked to end the horror of FGM.
This practice has also been confronted by women’s rights activists in the global North, where it occurs in some immigrant communities. Even in the United States, where the procedure is called clitoridectomy, it is practiced as a “cure” for masturbation, lesbianism and to make a young girl marriageable.
Activists in Nigeria warn FGM in Nigeria and other African countries is a systemic culturally ingrained practice, and that eradicating it will take time.
With such a large population, Nigerian’s voice in favor of women and girls is very important. Mary Wandia, FGM program manager of the International NGO Equality Now, states “We hope that other African countries, that have yet to ban FGM – Liberia, Sudan, Mali, among others – do so immediately to give all girls a basic level of protection.”
Stella Mukasa, Director of Gender, Violence and Rights at the International Center for Research on Women, adds, in Christian Today, “It is crucial that we scale up efforts to change traditional cultural views that underpin violence against women. Doing so involves laws and policies, as well as community-level engagement and programs that work to empower girls directly.”
There is still much work yet to be done, but the new law is encouraging. It gives young Nigerian women opportunities to express themselves free from fear of this traditional practice which has been so oppressive to their health and spirit. This practice has been handed down from one generation to the next by mothers and is usually performed by a wise woman, or a wise man, in the tribes. It is done without sterile conditions, anesthesia, or proper equipment. Usually, a straight razor is used. The child is unprepared emotionally for the procedure.
The actual procedure varies from place to place. Some tribes cut out the clitoris only; others remove both clitoris and labia. Still others would have nothing left but the meatus so that the child can urinate. This it the reason these girls were considered marriageable, because this has been performed on them, so that they didn’t enjoy sex too much. It gave the husband a sense of security when he traveled, that he could leave the wife at home and she would not turn to another man for satisfaction. He could therefore be sure that any children would be of his bloodline and no one else’s.
The mentality of the mothers who brought their daughters for the procedure is that it was done to them, so it should be done to their daughters. Therefore, education is a vital part of the process of eradicating FGM, as is more sex education for both genders. This can help lead to a freedom from the pain, humiliation, pain and degradation of FGM.
The decades of work done to stop FGM, and the work that is presently being done, which must continue into the future to save girls from this violence against them, is one of the most important humanitarian efforts being done on behalf of women and girls.
With its new law, Nigeria joined 23 African countries in banning Female Genital Mutilation. At least 200 million women and girls, worldwide, have already suffered genital mutilation and its long term consequences. Nigeria’s law is good next step, but we still have far to g0.
Every one of us can make a difference in the world!
(ABUJA, Nigeria) — The 82 freed Chibok schoolgirls arrived in Nigeria’s capital on Sunday to meet President Muhammadu Buhari as anxious families awaited an official list of names and looked forward to reuniting three years after the mass abduction.
The newly released girls arrived at the Abuja airport and were met by the Buhari’s chief of staff, presidential adviser Femi Adesina said. The president was expected to meet with the schoolgirls at 4 p.m. local time.
The 82 girls were freed Saturday in exchange for an unspecified number of detained suspected Boko Haram extremists, Buhari’s office said in a statement.
This is the largest negotiated release so far of the nearly 300 girls whose abduction in 2014 highlighted the threat of Nigeria’s homegrown extremists who are linked to the Islamic State group. Before Saturday’s release, 195 of the girls had been captive. Now 113 of the girls remain unaccounted for.
A first group of 21 girls were released in October as Nigeria announced it had begun negotiations with the extremist group. At the time, the government denied making an exchange for Boko Haram suspects or paying ransom.
The girls released in October have been reported to be in government care in Abuja for medical attention, trauma counseling and rehabilitation, according to the government. Human rights groups have criticized the decision to keep the girls in custody in Abuja, nearly 900 kilometers (560 miles) from Chibok.
The International Committee of the Red Cross, which along with the Swiss government mediated months of negotiations between Nigeria’s government and Boko Haram, said the newly released girls soon would meet with their families.
The ICRC also tweeted what might be the first public image of the freed schoolgirls on Sunday, showing a line of young women wearing shirts with the ICRC logo waiting to board a helicopter.
The ICRC said it had acted as a neutral intermediary to transport the freed girls into Nigerian government custody.
Long-suffering family members said they were eagerly awaiting a list of names and their “hopes and expectations are high.”
The Bring Back Our Girls campaign said Sunday it was happy that Nigeria’s government had committed to rescuing the 113 remaining schoolgirls. “We urge the president and his government to earnestly pursue the release of all our Chibok girls and other abducted citizens of Nigeria,” the group said in a statement.
The 276 schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok in 2014 are among thousands of people abducted by Boko Haram over the years.
The mass abduction brought the extremist group’s rampage in northern Nigeria to world attention and began years of heartbreak for the families of the missing schoolgirls.
Some relatives did not live to see their daughters released. Many of the captive girls, most of them Christians, were forced to marry their captors and give birth to children in remote forest hideouts without knowing if they would see their parents again. It is feared that other girls were strapped with explosives and sent on missions as suicide bombers.
A Nigerian military official with direct knowledge of the rescue operation said the freed girls were found near the town of Banki in Borno state near Cameroon.
Boko Haram remains active in that area. On Friday, the United States and Britain issued warnings that the extremist group was actively planning to kidnap foreigners in an area of Borno state “along the Kumshe-Banki axis.”
Buhari late last year announced Boko Haram had been “crushed,” but the group continues to carry out attacks in northern Nigeria and neighboring countries. Its insurgency has killed more than 20,000 people and driven 2.6 million from their homes, with millions facing starvation.
It’s been a long time since these girls were taken from their homes and their village. I am sure it seems much, much longer to them. I don’t know exactly what tragedies they have survived, but I know that they have survived because they are courageous, and because they love life. I honor them and their survival and now I ask for prayers for their continued healing, that they are able to make whole lives for themselves, and to move on from this terrible experience they have lived through.
It is my solemn hope that this kind of experience will never happen to a group of young girls ever again. That they will not be kidnapped, taken from their homes, lives and families; that their lives will not be reduced to be owned and controlled by terrorists or warriors again.
The link above will take you to a video that will discuss the girls still missing. If you are not aware, approximately two years ago, a terrorist group called Boko Haram, took girls from their schools. Why girls? Because this terrorist group does not want females to be educated. They want them as wives for their soldiers and they want to sell them into slavery or human trafficking. Some girls were able to escape but the majority are under the watchful eye of Boko Haram.
On Congresswoman Fredericka Wilson’s website a clock counted down the days, hours, seconds and minutes since terrorists tore through the village of Chibok, Nigeria and ripped 200 schoolgirls from their community in a violent rampage that shocked the world.
Thursday marked two years to the day. And, just as the social media hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, galvanized a global community — including First Lady Michelle Obama — to raise their voices in a collective outcry against such brutality, Wilson, a Florida Democrat is hoping to harness the power of social media to address “the security and humanitarian crisis in the region.” She is hosting a ‘Twitterstorm” on Thursday to refocus attention on the horrors the terrorist group has continued to inflict on West Africa and the plight of the missing schoolgirls.
“Social media is a powerful tool. It has the ability to reach millions of people,” Wilson told NBC News. “After we began the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, the world started to take notice.”
Wilson, a former teacher and school principal, plans to Tweet until every girl is found. And she urges everyone to “Tweet prayers, pictures of remembrance, blessings for the families and words of consolation” to commemorate the anniversary for the girls’ abduction.
Women in Congress have been especially vocal on behalf of the missing girls.
Just before Mother’s Day in 2014, every female lawmaker in Congress signed letters to President Barack Obama urging his administration to push the U.N. Security Council to add Boko Haram to an al Qaeda Sanctions List. The list was aimed at requiring members to freeze the assets of anyone affiliated with Boko Haram and prevent them from crossing their borders.
The U.N. Security Council added Boko Haram to the list later that month. This week the State Department reiterated its support for the safe return of all those taken by Boko Haram, a terrorist organization with ties to ISIS, which has kidnapped and killed thousands of people in Nigerian territories and neighboring countries for more than seven years. The Obama administration has offered support through intelligence gathering, financial assistance and psychological aid to Nigeria in its efforts to push back against the terrorist group and help victims recover.
“Unfortunately there have been thousands of people kidnapped in Nigeria,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said on Thursday adding that the Nigerian government is ultimately responsible for the effort to find the girls. Organizations, such as Amnesty International, say more could be done.
“We have tried to push the Obama administration to press for genuine, transparent reform within the Nigerian military when it considers providing security assistance and we have also worked with other NGOs and members of congress to make sure that the situation is not brushed (aside) and forgotten,” Adotei Akwei, managing director of government relations at Amnesty International USA told NBC News.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees recently announced that over the last few months more than 135,000 people from Cameroon, Chad and Niger have fled to escape Boko Haram.
More than 2.5 million have been forced from their homes.
One million children have been forced from school causing 2,000 schools to close.
As many as 20,000 people have been killed, 2,000 of which were killed in January’s massacre in the city of Baga.
This week relatives of some of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls gathered in Abuja to watch a recently released proof-of-life video that appeared to show 15 of the students. The bittersweet moment was made all the more so, parents told members of the media, because they have not been reunited with their children.
In the U.S., a chorus of congressional women have continued to raise their voices against Boko Haram’s atrocities.
Over the past two years, female lawmakers and their male counterparts have taken to the floor to speak about the kidnapping and remind those listening of the perils of the rise of terrorist group. Wilson is hoping that lawmakers will make one-minute speeches each week and help support appropriations to help the female victims of Boko Haram.
Many of the women in Congress have also worn red on Wednesdays to remind the world that the girls are still missing.
And several of the lawmakers, including Wilson, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Florida and were joined by Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas in meeting with some of the Chibok schoolgirls who escaped.
About 50 girls managed to escape soon after they were abducted. More than 200 remain missing.
Related: Boko Haram’s Use of Child ‘Suicide’ Bombers Skyrocketed Last Year: U.N.
The tales of the survivors of Boko Haram attacks are chilling.
“Boko Haram captured a village in Northern Nigera and killed the mother and father of a young boy and girl. Later, the insurgents debated on whether or not to kill the boy. After speculating that the young boy would follow in his father’s footsteps and become a Christian pastor, the insurgents decided to kill the boy,” Wilson said. “
The little girl was tied on top of the bodies of her family and left for dead. She was rescued three days later.
Wilson says she will continue to press the United States and Nigerian governments to work together to help end these atrocities.
Kenyan activists shout slogans during a demonstration to protest against kidnapping of Nigerian school girls by Nigeria’s Islamist militant group Boko Haram, in Nairobi, Kenya, on May 15. DAI KUROKAWA / EPA file Though the Nigerian government claims it has nearly defeated Boko Haram attacks continue — especially on vulnerable communities.
“It represents the world’s failure to stand up to terrorism and stand for our civilization,” said Emmanuel Ogebe, an international human rights lawyer that works with the escaped schoolgirls. Combat operations and intelligence efforts must continue to pressure these groups, said Malcolm Nance, executive director of Terror Asymmetrics Project on Strategy, Tactics and Radical Ideologies, a think tank in Hudson, New York.
Once captured, the women are exploited sexually and face mental abuse. There have also been reports that some of the kidnapped women and girls have been used in suicide attacks.
“These women are victims of gang rape and humiliation, then told that they can only redeem themselves in god’s eyes through “martyrdom” via suicide bombing,” Nance said.
Nance said the mass abductions in Chibok and other places in the region are a critical recruiting strategy to attract young men. “(Boko Haram) promises women and children to their fighters in exchange for their willingness to attack and mass murder their own people,” Nance said.
In his work at the Education Must Continue Initiative, a organization that works to help victimized children in northeastern Nigeria, Ogebe has witnessed depression and Stockholm Syndrome among the young victims.
“Some women abused by terrorists in the faux marriages have shown sympathy towards them after their rescue by the (Nigerian) army,” he said.
At one relief camp, the rescued women were unfriendly to relief teams that brought them supplies. The military found out they were still in contact with their captors and were moved to an undisclosed location, Ogebe said.
Still, there are glimmers of progress.
Ogebe said his organization helped a teen named Dela, one of the recovered Chibok schoolgirls, begin college. After a series of delays from funding to the snow blizzard this past winter, she will continue the education she was stolen from after 660 days in captivity, he said.
Stories like that reinforce for Wilson why it’s important to remember what happened.
“We must never forget what happened to the girls along with Boko Haram’s other victims,” she said.
2 Years After #BringBackOurGirls, Boko Haram Is Still Attacking Schools
Since 2009, Boko Haram has destroyed over 900 schools and forced at least 1,500 to close.
In this photo taken Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, children displaced by Boko Haram during an attack on their villages receive lectures in a camp in Maiduguri, Nigeria. Attacks by Islamic extremist group Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria and neighboring countries have forced more than 1 million children out of school, heightening the risk they will be abused, abducted or recruited by armed groups, the United Nations children’s agency said Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba)
Today marks two years since Boko Haram abducted more than 270 girls from a school in northeast Nigeria. Since then, millions more children have been affected by the conflict — most notably by being kept out of school.
Boko Haram’s violence has caused nearly one million children in Northeast Nigeria alone to have little or no access to education, according to a new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report. Since 2009, the militant group has been attacking schools, teachers and students, terrorizing the local education system.
“We didn’t know what was going on, we just felt the blast,” said Hassan, a 14-year-old boy who was injured in a suicide attack on his school, in a video from HRW. “I tried to stand up and fell because my leg was no more.”
Hassan’s legs were injured when a Boko Haram suicide bomber blew himself up during his school assembly, according to the video. The young boy was unable to attend school for more than a year, because he didn’t have a wheelchair.
Boko Haram’s attacks have destroyed more than 900 schools and forced at least 1,500 more to close since 2009, according to the HRW report. The attacks are aimed at what the militants call “Western” education, or non-Quranic schools.
More than 600 teachers have been killed and another 19,000 forced to flee. The group has abducted more than 2,000 people, including many students.
“In its brutal crusade against western-style education, Boko Haram is robbing an entire generation of children in northeast Nigeria of their education,” said Mausi Segun, a Nigeria researcher in an HRW article. “The government should urgently provide appropriate schooling for all children affected by the conflict.”
The militants aren’t the only ones placing schools at risk: Nigerian government security forces who are fighting them have also used schools for military purposes, according to HRW, placing the institutions at heightened risk of attack.
“It is up to both sides to immediately stop the attacks on education,” Segun said in the HRW article, “and end the cycle of poverty and underachievement to which far too many children in the region are being sentenced.”
Most people remember the abduction of over 270 schoolgirls from Chibok, Nigeria on April 14, 2014, after which people worldwide took to Twitter demanding their return with #BringBackOurGirls.
What many don’t know is that since then, at least 1.3 million children, have been displaced by Boko Haram’s violence across four countries, according to Unicef. It is one of the fastest growing displacement crises in Africa.
In order to address the humanitarian crisis, Unicef has scaled up its operations in the region, but due to insufficient funding and difficult access from insecurity,thousands of children have still not been able to receive the assistance they need.
“The challenge we face is to keep children safe without interrupting their schooling,” said Manuel Fontaine, a Unicef director, in a statement in December. “Schools have been targets of attack, so children are scared to go back to the classroom; yet the longer they stay out of school, the greater the risks of being abused, abducted and recruited by armed groups.”
A young man demonstrates for the return of the girls. We must all use our voices. These young women and girls are voiceless!
Girls kidnapped from their school are now suffering from forced marriages, rape and unwanted pregnancy. And let us not forget some of them are being human trafficked.
Pictures of the original girls who were stolen from their school. Please notice how young many of them are.
Nigerian families continue to grieve and demand that their daughters be returned. The problem is that the ones that are impregnated when they return are ostracised.
An American missionary in Nigeria has been kidnapped in what authorities call a “purely criminal” act.
Kogi state Police Commissioner Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi says five men kidnapped the woman from her workplace and are demanding a ransom of 60 million Naira ($301,500).
The Free Methodist Church has identified the woman as the Rev. Phyllis Sortor, a missionary based at the Hope Academy compound in Kogi state.
Kogi state is located away from the areas where Boko Haram operates, making it likely that the kidnapping is not related to terrorism. But there is also the possibility that an offshoot group could have kidnapped Sortor, or that she might be sold to another group. Police have not said if they suspect a certain group or band of criminals.
Sortor was kidnapped on Monday, Ogunjemilusi said.
The U.S. Embassy in Nigeria and the FBI have been notified of the incident, the Free Methodist Church said.
Sortor runs a nongovernmental organization that educates nomadic Fulani children, the police commissioner said.
According to her biography on the church’s website, Sortor is the financial administrator of Hope Academy.
“A special friendship with a clan of nomadic Fulani has given Phyllis the opportunity to open additional schools for Fulani children and their parents,” the website says.
The commissioner said five men scaled the wall of the school where Sortor’s office is and “whisked her away,” jumping back over the wall and fleeing to the nearby mountains.
Two of the men were masked, and they fired shots into the air to scare people away during the kidnapping, Ogunjemilusi said.
CNN’s Christian Purefoy reported from Lagos and Mariano Castillo wrote the story in Atlanta. CNN’s Shawn Nottingham contributed to this report.
It is my prayer that this missionary and the 100 Christians taken by ISIS will be released. If not may angels surround them