16 Days of Activism: Men must do better

I was supposed to be writing about something completely different. I
had a list of topics I wanted to write about, but I have grown to
understand the importance and significance of events, occurrences,
incidences, coincidences, and synchronicity in our everyday lives;
this, is one of them.

Thursday, November 25, was the first of 16 days of activism/advocacy against WAWG and domestic abuse all over the world.

These 16 days of continuous activities originated from the Inaugural
Women Global Leadership Institute in 1991 by women activists as an
organising strategy to call for the prevention and elimination of
violence against women and girls; a global human rights violation that
persists for centuries.

Personally, I think it is unfortunate and shameful that despite the
growth and development of humanity, we are still talking about
violence against women and girls, domestic abuse, and gender equality
in the 21st century. One would have thought that humanity/man would
have evolved enough to understand that women and girls are as human as they are, that these practices have unpleasant repercussions and consequences that transcend just the victim, and that living life
sustainably is about equality, not competition, control, suppression,
or oppression, respect, and kindness for all.

Take it or leave it, women are the strongest people in humanity. I say
this not just because I am a woman, but because it is a fact. You see,
strength is not measured just by brute force and muscles alone, it is
far more than that. The true measure of strength remains in human
character, kindness, empathy, compassion, endurance, resilience,
adaptability, understanding, nurture, patience, and respect for human

As mothers and wives who run the home, where the bedrock of
society is formed, women are the builders of every society, and every
religious and spiritual belief attests to their sanctity and value,
Islam, and Christianity inclusive. Unfortunately, we cannot say that
this is what obtains in our society. A good number of men derogate and
abuse women in several big and small ways, including their own mothers
using Profanity and verbal onslaughts against other people’s women and

Verbal abuse/profanity against women is one of the most significant
characteristics of street radicalism, and something a lot of men are
guilty of. I remember engaging in subtle yet honest discussions and
reprimands with young people, taxi/bus drivers, conductors, and random
people on the streets who use profane and insulting words against
other people’s mothers. I find that a sign of extreme disrespect and
ignorance, and a distasteful contradiction to religious beliefs.
Sometimes it worked, with the abuser feeling remorseful and agreeing
to be better, and sometimes it backfired, with me getting my own share
of the vitriol.

About a fortnight ago, Bashir Elrufai (the son of Kaduna state
Governor Nasiru Elrufai) got engaged with in a verbal onslaught with
one of Nigeria’s investigative journalists, David Hundeyin on Twitter.
The verbal exchange quickly deteriorated to both parties dishing
profanity and vitriol at each other’s mothers. What was appalling to
me, was that Bashir Elrufai was the first to throw the insult, and
Hundeyin did not waste any breath in throwing it back. The reason why
the twitter dragging of each other’s mothers between David Hundeyin
and Bashir Elrufia appalled me is not only that Bashir Elrufai threw
the first onslaught, but because of the nature of the words and
derogatives used.

As a Muslim, Bashir El Rufai knows that the most important person in
his life, according to the teachings of his religion, is his mother.
The prophet (SAW), whom all Muslims revere and follow his teachings,
specifically mentioned the mother three times before mentioning the
father once. Bashir Elrufa’s mother is also on the same Twitter
platform, yet that did not stop him from shooting vitriol at someone
else’s mother, knowing fully well that his own mother would also be
abused in the process. Why do men love to abuse women and mothers?

More so, I cannot understand how and why someone with the status of
Elrufai’s son would descend so low to exhibit such gutter behaviour
and use such gutter language against someone else’s mother. I later
found out that Bashir’s brother also had a similar spat with someone
on the same platform sometimes back.

How anyone from such social class who is supposed to display finesse
and decorum can be so disrespectfully abrasive is beyond me. To think
that among all the people to curse are the mothers who gave birth to
them is astonishing. I take the time to correct children who engage in
such abhorrent behaviour but grown men who should know better defy all
logic and reasoning.

How do we reconcile the respect and adoration women are supposed to
have with the continuous disrespect and abuse they suffer generation
after generation? Simple. Love and respect every woman and mother, not
just yours. Men need to hold themselves accountable to honouring and
respecting someone else’s mother because that is the only thing that
will guarantee the honour and respect of theirs. Loving and respecting
women/mothers is not when you respect only the ones in yours, but you
respect someone else’s as well.

Someone should help me tell these boys that a UK degree/an Ivy League
education goes beyond names or grades; it shows in character and
behaviour too. And the fact that they are children of a sitting
governor holds them accountable to society in responsible and
dignified human interactions, not this gutter behaviour. They must
hold themselves accountable for their behaviour for as long as their
father remains in office and even afterwards.

The least all women deserve is respect. Ending violence against women
and girls begins with respect. Men the world over should do better and
must do better because the fate of the humanity depends on it.