African women this week

Abuse in the Nigerian Senate
Women make a stance against politically bribery in Liberia.
Surviving breast cancer in Kenya
Sexual Violence and rape still continuing in Darfur region.

Abuse in the Nigerian Senate

It seems that there is a lot of slapping going on in Nigeria this week what with Achebe’s refusal of the Nigerian honour and the slapping of a female senator by a male colleague last Thursday.

Last Thursday, Senator Iyabo Anisulowo was slapped by her male colleague, Senator Isa Mohammed, at the National Assembly. The Senate has put Mohammed on a two week suspension. The incident arose because Senator Anisulowo who is Mohammed’s boss, questioned him over his unauthorised withdrawal of N500,000 from a committe that she chairs. The money was withdrawn while she was out of the country on government business and the slapping occured when Mohammed was asked to refund the money.

Mohammed has said he has personally apologised to Ms Anisulowo however she has requested that Mohammed “publicily apologise to all Nigerian women and their husbands for his actions” (hopefully this includes those women that are not married!) According to Ms Anisulowo,, Mohammed has been lobbying Senate members to try and “soften” their reactions to the incident and to urge them to “allow the matter to be resolved amicably” ie let him off the hook Anisulowo’s response:

But my position is that the matter is in the court of Nigerians and they are waiting to hear the outcome. Nigerian women, their husbands, everybody wants to know the outcome of this issue. I will not subscribe to a behind -the- scene settlement because Nigerians would not know what transpired. The most offensive is his denial in the newspapers,” she said.

I completely support the Senator’s statement. The assult of women in Nigeria is condoned by society in general and Mr Mohammed’s disgusting behaviour together with his attempts and that of others to cover up, is a reflection of the low status with which Nigerian women are held both in public and private sphere.

Women make a stance against politically bribery in Liberia.

The WOMEN TOLD the politicians in no uncertain terms that they do not need their bag of rice to cast their votes as most politicians may be thinking for upcoming elections. Further in their statement, the women pointed out that they are no longer mere wings but prominent stakeholders in decision making to secure biodiversity because their food supply depends on it.

The women’s stance is a bold and brave one as rice has been used by Liberian politicians to buy votes from the masses who live in poverty. It is now up to the men in the community to follow the lead of their sisters, wives, mothers and daughters.

Surviving breast cancer in Kenya

Miriam had a breast amputation following diagnois for breast cancer. For 10 months she “felt incomplete and unattractive” as she did not know what to “do with her lopsided breast” until she met another breast cancer survivor who told her where to go to buy a prosthesis in Nairobi. It cost her Sh18,000 and though it did not fit properly it was better than using cotton wool or old socks to stuff into her bra. Nonetheless even with the prosthesis women do not feel altogether comfortable and are still unable to wear certain clothes or certain cuts.

For Miriam and for many other women who have breast amputations in Africa , no one took the time to explain basic things like having to change your wardrobe, to mention what options are available , the different kinds of prosthesis available or to generally prepare you for life without a breast or breasts. In the west women are offered reconstructiive surgery together with the mastecomy and though this is not the answer for everyone, more importantly they have additional choices plus there is a great deal of support available through breast cancer organisations, groups and centers. Also in the west, at least in Britain and Spain, women are given free prosthesis every two years with proper measurements taken by a trained nurse whilst in Kenya anyway women are having to pay for their prosthesis which are extremely expensive, about $160.

Sexual Violence and rape still continuing in Darfur region.

UNICEF adviser on violence, Pamela Shifman, has said she has heard “dozens of harrowing accounts of sexual assult – including numerous reports of gang rapes” when she visited a camp and a settlement in the region.

Shifman said every woman or girl she spoke to had either endured sexual assault herself, or knew of someone who had been attacked, particularly when they left the relative safety of their IDP camp or settlement to find firewood. “They know this is a treacherous trip and they fear the trip. But they have absolutely no choice; they must go out,” she said…..”Rape is used as a weapon to terrorize individual women and girls, and also to terrorize their families and to terrorize entire communities. No woman or girl is safe. It is a very effective tool of war. It is a war crime,”

IRIN News

Attacks on women in Sudan