Translate

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

#BringBackOurGirls


As you may have heard in the news, and various social media, nearly three hundred Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram and possibly trafficked into the sex trade or forced into marriages. 

The hunt is on to find these girls and bring them back to their families.  This sex trafficking problem is not just a problem in Nigeria but other countries across the world. 

This week's Real Love Show focused on this story and in particular looked at why there was a market for these girls. There is the political agenda behind the kidnapping but it still remains that child marriage and/or forced marriages are nothing new. 

We learnt that child betrothal goes back to the inception of Nigeria. It seems a young girl can be promised to a man of many years her senior and that this allows the girl's family to go to this man for material help or assistance from then on. It is almost an exchange. The girl has no choice in the matter. It would seem the mother would have no say either. Apparently this practice is mostly due to abject poverty, mostly in Northern Nigeria. 

There is so much to this issue and we intend to look at child marriages more indepth on a future show. 

I feel there is a great need for campaigning for women's rights because this is a very dehumanizing way for a woman to live. Do they dare to hope? Do they dare to dream? On 14 February we celebrated One Billion Rising to support the mission against violence towards women. We need this and more. 

On the Show I spoke with Tatiana Giraud of the TG foundation which works to help bring restoration to women and girls who have endured extremely brutal sexual violence in the Congo. I believe this organisation and others like it must be supported to ensure that these women and girls can have a chance to live a normal and fulfilling life, with hope for a brighter future. 

In the meantime it is a good thing the eyes of the world are focused right now on Nigeria and these kidnapped schoolgirls. We hope and pray that they will be returned safely to their families.