Thursday, 29 October 2015

When Love Stops Happening

Last month, a friend told me about her failing marriage. Ten years, two kids and just like that; it’s over.  They are no longer compatible, her husband says.

I've been trying to wrap my head round this since. Trying to understand this thing they call love.  What does it really mean? How does it happen and how does it stop happening? How does love go from I’ll love you always and forever to I’m sorry there’s someone else. I need to get this.  Is it something the other person does, or just time, or chance, or life?
There are a million books about how to find and keep the right man or woman but who offers advice on how to get over a heartbreak.  My friend said she felt worthless, like she was no longer a woman.  

How bad was she that he would walk out, not just on her but their children. She was sure it was  something she’d done.  So she begged him, promised to change, to be exactly as she wanted her to be, anything at all to stop him from leaving.  But the same way you feel you can’t live without someone when you first fall in love, is probably the same way you want desperately to live without them when you’re out of love.

My friend’s husband has always been responsible and hasn't changed. He’s promised to keep paying their rent, school fees and more but what she wants the most, she’s lost to another woman.  He’d always been a faithful husband, if he ever cheated , he was very discreet . She had absolutely no cause to be suspicious till three months ago when he dropped the bombshell. He was leaving her and yes, there was someone else.

My friend is very beautiful and very good natured, she wouldn't last too long if she put herself back on the shelf but this has completely shaken her throwing her into depression. She’s forcing herself to be strong for the kids.  The last thing on her mind is another man.  I’m not sure I can be with anyone else, she says. 

‘I never stopped trying, never. I wasn't a bad wife Uduak or was I?’ I tell her she wasn't. She was someone I envied. She cooked, she cleaned, she kept her shape.  The tendency is often to blame oneself when a partner walks away but shouldn't the primary blame go to the one who couldn't keep promises?

When someone says I love you, what does it really mean? Is it just for the moment? A gamble? Is there a way to make someone stay in love with you forever? Or is forever just an illusion?

Friday, 16 October 2015

When feminists became mass murderers.

I’ve wanted to write about feminism for the longest time but each time I start, it goes on a direction I’d rather it didn’t so I’m forced to stop.  Yesterday however, Emem Isong invited me to a workshop by Champions for Change on sexual and reproductive health supported by Ford Foundation. Champions For Change is partnering with Nollywood to make advocacy films towards improved reproductive , maternal, new born, and child health(RMNCH).

Some of the data put forward reminded me about Adichie’s speech; We should all be feminists.  
According to UNFPA, about 800,000 women are said to be living with Vestico Vagina fistula(VVF). This really upset me. VVF is a totally avoidable condition. It is often caused by Childbirth; when a prolonged labour presses the unborn child tightly against the pelvis, cutting off blood flow to the vesicovaginal wall.  Many girls in the North of Nigeria become mothers between the ages of 11 and 15.  They experience obstructed labour and some unskilled attendants cut through the vagina to create passage for the baby, often resulting in VVF; a condition that leaves the girls constantly leaking urine and faeces. Only 10% of these girls get treated.

Here’s what shocks me. A forty year old man marries a 12 year old child, gets her pregnant, she suffers VVF, loses the child, he abandons her, marries another 12 year old who may just suffer the same fate and the entire nation watches with folded arms. 1n 2015? In a civilized society or is Nigeria not a civilised society?

This is why we fight for gender equality, if the girl child is considered an equal to the boy child, we’ll not have half of the problems we have today. The idea that the girl exists solely to provide pleasure for the man either in the bedroom or kitchen is completely flawed and must be rethought. A girl has full rights; to education, to freedom, to choice, to privacy etc. Why does the society deny her these rights?
To reduce feminism to a refusal to cook, as is most often seen on twitter, is silly and mischievous. There are young girls dying because a culture sees them as a little higher than animals, created solely for the man’s pleasure and not for their own desires.

The man is not better than the woman. The woman is not better than the man. Both exist to compliment and not destroy each other.  Both genders have destinies to fulfill and should be assisted by the society to achieve their full potential.

When next you’re attacking feminist for fighting for the rights of the girl child, remember that 800,000 girls are leaking urine and faeces constantly and that this could have been totally prevented. Remember as well that there will be 12,000 new cases this year and the year after and the year after until you and I do something.

PS. For more information about Champions for Change, please visit