The horrendous rape and murder of youth corper Grace Ushang in September shocked and angered the nation. Ms. Ushang was abducted and raped to death by a gang of men in Maiduguri, Borno allegedly because they were offended by her wearing trousers (which happens to be the uniform of youth corpers).
This is another example of violence against women that is so pervasive in our society. Rather than condemning and addressing the violence, the blame is often shifted to the victims. In this case, the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps urged youth corpers to 'take their personal security seriously.'
In other cases, the victims are accused of dressing in a provocative way that would only naturally attract unwanted male attention. In 2008 the chairperson of the Nigerian Senate's Committee on Women, Senator Ufot Ekaette, introduced a bill in the Senate to prohibit 'indecent dressing'. The bill covers any female above 14 years wearing a dress that exposes 'her breast, lap, stomach and waist ... and any part of her body from two inches below her shoulders downwards to the knee.' The bill would invite the both the police and citizens to pounce on women perceived to be indecently dressed. In a nation where unfair on-the-spot justice is routinely meted out, the opportunities for abuse of this bill are too horrific to imagine.
In honour of the late Grace Ushang, the Nigerian Feminist Forum is organising a march and vigil tomorrow (Dec 4).
When: Friday, 4th December, 2009 (2PM)
Where: Agindingbi Senior Grammar, Agindingbi off Lateef Jakande Road, Ikeja, Lagos
Learn more and the Grace Ushang Foundation and read the invitation letter to the vigil below:
In the spirit of solidarity and support for the family of late Grace Ushang -(the Youth Corper raped and killed while properly dressed in her NYSC uniform in Maiduguri, Borno State) the Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF) is organising a peace vigil and a march to speak up and speak out against violence against women and the indecent dressing bill.
I urge you all to attend this event to show your support for the cause and your belief in the fact that NO INDIVIDUAL HAS THE EXCUSE TO RAPE A WOMAN ON ACCOUNT OF HER DRESSING.
Venue: Agindingbi Senior Grammar, Agindingbi off Lateef Jakande Road, Ikeja Lagos
Time: 2pm prompt
Date: Friday, 4th December, 2009
Dress Code: Black
Also come along with a candle stick
Bring family, friends and loved ones
I thank you all and look forward to marching with my sisters and brothers in solidarity.
Executive Director, KIND