Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Stop Violence! Real Men Don't Abuse Women/Girls!

By Mabi Azefor Fominyen

She is sometimes beaten in class by her male classmate, threatened at home by her brothers, sexually harassed in her office by her male colleagues, raped in her community by a man, coerced into sex by another man , molested by her husband or male partner, abused by a family member, assaulted by a neighbour, a stranger.................. .....................! Yet she deserves a better world!

Violence and abuse may vary in form. Sometimes it's the physical.This includes, pushing, slapping, hitting with fist, pulling of hair, chocking and the use weapons. It could be sexual and in some cases men use damaging objects without the woman's consent (stories of such acts are now common in the media ). It could be psychological as well as emotional- sometimes causing traumas.

Throughout the world, violence against women and girls, kills and maims vast numbers; it fills their lives with pain and terror from which some never recover.It affects the young and the old, the married and unmarried. It also affects people who are dating, single, cohabiting, divorced, gay or lesbian. People from all social, ethnic, religious, racial and economic groups.

"Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation.And it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot be making real progress towards equality, development and peace" (Kofi Annan, March 8, 1999)

In spite of efforts to curb violence and abuse, statistics still paint a horrifying picture of what women go through in different communities. Violence has not been abated. Some gender specialists and activists have opined that violence against women has become as much a pandemic as HIV/AIDS or malaria.

Why then do men continue to abuse women/girls ? And how comes women continue to bear it?

At this point am tempted to share some of the responses and words I got when I put this question to a cross section of people as I sampled opinions needed for my radio programme:
"because some men think it makes them stronger", " because many societies celebrate male dominance and encourage men to do so coupled with rigid gender roles", " some cultural, traditional, economic and social factors put women in a tight corner, making her vulnerable thus she gets abused by the man", " men who abuse women were equally abused in their childhood ", "some men are weak , alcoholics, possessive and think by using violence it makes them appear macho", " marital violence", "some women bear it out of love, others have no other option so the men take them for granted hence, some are poor so they are used and abused, others just fell into the wrong hands ........................."

In addition to raising awareness on issues surrounding violence and abuse, there's certainly the need for a change in perception and attitudes. The need to move from mere rhetoric to concrete actions such that perpetrators of acts of abuse get adequately exposed and punished, while victims report to the right quarters and survivors speak out in a bid to check such abuses. Of course governments and other individuals would have to give it more attention than is the case in most countries today.

To the woman or girl who is being abused , its important to asses the situation and look carefully at the options in front of you. Meantime, you might want to draw up a strategic safety plan , stretch out for help from family members, individuals and organisations and try getting much information that could be helpful even as you try to make better the situation.

To you the man, why not start treating 'HER' like a queen? Afterall 'SHE' treats you like her king quite often. Besides she is a human being and not an object meant to be abused. Above all she is your sister, friend, mate, wife, mother, colleague, neighbour, daughter, partner, grandmother, aunt, niece and you name it.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Say Hello In An Attempt To Forster Peace

By Mabi Azefor Fominyen

Did you know that November 21 is World Hello Day?

Oh yes!

A day to say hello to atleast ten people.

A time to say hello to all those who are so special to you and also to those with whom you have been out of touch for some time.

World Hello Day is an opportunity to learn about the value of saying" hello."

It is a day to express concern for world peace and anyone can participate in the activities.

Did you know that World Hello Day greeting card exist?

Oh yes!

World Hello day began in 1973 , in an attempt to promote peace between Egypt and Isreal .
Since then , the day has been observed by people in different parts of the world.Today there are over 180 countries, as well as individuals and communitees involved in an attempt to forster peace.

World Hello Day was also created to urge world leaders to try communication rather than military force in settling conflicts and crisis.

How about greeting ten people or more for peace?

Friday, 7 November 2008

Re-discovering Africa's Majesty Through InterAction

InterAction Mabi 1 year after
Uploaded by esungeft

By Mabi Azefor Fominyen

It is a year now since I experienced a renaissance in terms of my perception of Africa.

Before joining the InterAction Leadership Programme run by the British Council, I had no belief in Africa. I was pessimistic about the continent's future. All I could see was poverty, underdevelopment, failed leaders and nations in crisis.

My journey into this new prism started at the Pan-African Event held in Dakar –Senegal in October 2007. Through the people I met, discussions we had and the displays on the Wall of Greatness, I realized that Africa was greater than I perceived. I became a witness to the continent's immense cultural, natural and human resources.

This video is my tribute to those life-changing moments at the Pan-African Event. It is also my way of reminding Africans and all peoples of the world that if we accept each others' differences, we can make Africa and the World a better place for all.