Table of Contents
1...Life in Nigeria...Asik Hanif and Stefanie Cravens...Introduction
2...The Rescue...Cameron Crane...Hero's Journey
3...The Price of Being a Woman...Stefanie Cravens...Original Artwork
4...Human Trafficking Poems...Austin Haraschak...Original Poetry
5...All Eyes on Me...Asik Hanif...Hero's Journey
6...Bibliography...Stefanie Cravens...Works Cited
These schoolboys in Nigeria are receiving a better education with their new technology.
Life in Nigeria
How would you feel if your clitoris was cut off, or you were circumcised with no preparation or numbing when you're around the ages of 15 or 16? For 61% of women in Nigeria, this is a shocking and disturbing reality (Okafor). Their lives are plagued by oppression and the need to succumb to the demands of the men in their lives. Like genital mutilation, women in Nigeria unfortunately receive horrible and degrading treatment quite too often. In The Bride Price, by Buchi Emecheta, Aku-nna, the main character, had to live a life with little freedom and privilege. She had to be cautious with her actions so that she was not condemned by her whole village. Her love with Chike--an older man born from a former slave--could have cost her her life. Because of her relationship with him, she had to hide her feelings so that she would not bring shame to her family. Aku-nna wanted to marry Chike very badly because they loved each other. Many of her peers were sold into marriages and never experienced love. In these marriages with no love, there was no respect. In Nigeria’s Lagos State, 50% of women say that they are victims to domestic violence. When a woman is married, she's expected to endure whatever she meets in her matrimonial home (Writer). 43% of women thought that their beating could be justified on the grounds of matter like burning the food, arguing with the husband, going out without asking permission, and refusal to have sexual intercourse (Domestic Violence Nigeria). With these men being so controlling, it’s not surprising that in a study found on a federal university in Nigeria, 100% of rape victims were female (mobliepunch). Women are seen to be so much less in society than men. Their roles are put down and neglected solely based on the fact that they are women.
In many ways, these gender inequalities violate a woman's inalienable and fundamental human rights. The purpose of this magazine is to point out the details and expose the gender inequality and mistreatment in Nigeria. One of the featured products is a sculpture depicting a man and a woman. This will show the difference in power between men and women based on the sculpture sizes. This magazine also contains two stories, one of which will tell about a woman’s struggle to escape mistreatment with the help of an aid worker. The second story will tell about a man’s journey to find his wife and himself along the way. Also included in this magazine is a group of poems about perspectives on human trafficking. These items and stories have been created and assembled in hopes to bring awareness to the unfair treatment of women in Nigeria.
To be "more beautiful," Nigerian woman tries to lengthen appearance of hair by adding clay to the end of it.
By Cameron Crane
Sarah was a normal girl living happily in Benin. As she got older she saw how many women and girls in other countries were not as fortunate as her and decided to do something about it. She did not know what she could do to help so she went to visit her friend for advice. When she got there she had to wait for her friend to return from the river where she was getting water.
When her friend returned, Sarah stated, "I want to help girls in other countries that are mistreated. What can I do to help?" Her friend answered, "Well, what do you think you are capable of doing to help?" Sarah then realized that she wanted to help these underprivileged women escape to Benin, where men and women have equal rights under constitutional amendments. She said, "Thank you,” and went home to think their conversation over.
A few days later when Sarah was at the market, she saw a magazine with an article about women being mistreated and abused in Nigeria. She decided that area was where she was going to help. She told just a few of her close friends that she was fearing someone bad trying to hurt her. Later that week when she was getting ready to go to Nigeria she got a letter saying, "You do not want to find out what will happen if you try to go to Nigeria." This frightened her but she was still determined to help save the women.
Sarah lived near the border of Benin, so luckily it was not too far to travel and she could make the trip to Nigeria by foot in a day or two. When she reached the border she was let through without a hassle because women are appreciated in Benin. Once she was just a few miles across she could already see the mistreatment. Sarah traveled a two days journey into Nigeria. Once she was there she found an inn to stay in. The inn was very unclean, in a scary location, and she did not know much at all about the area in which she was staying. Before she went to bed she managed to find a map and at least learn about the landscape and possibly find somewhere she might be able to find a few women to take home with her.
The next day she went to an area in a nearby village. When she was there she met some of the women that lived there. She talked to a few of them but most were nervous to talk to an outsider. When she finally got somebody to talk to her it was a teenage girl. What she learned was that many girls were being forced to marry off and have children against their will. Sarah told her to get her friends and meet her at the inn that night.
Later that night when they came there were five of them total. Some of them had left their husbands and some had been waiting outside all night. They had just started walking when they heard a bunch of drunk men coming from the direction of the village. Sarah whispered, "Quick, get in the woods!” So they did. Luckily for them, it was night so when the men passed by they could not see the girls hiding in the thin woods. Although they were more than slightly nervous, they continued on their journey. The next day one of the girls told Sarah that her best friend had been murdered by a man in their village, and despite many witnesses, he was not punished.
When they got to the border they said they were family going on a trip. The guards were a little skeptical but let them through anyway. Once they were across they found some food and water then walked through the whole night to make to Sarah's village. They all went through Benin, slept and ate for a few days before Sarah had to decided what to do with the girls. She decided that some of them were old enough to live alone, but some still needed to live with an adult. She adopted two of them and took one to an orphanage where she was adopted one month later.
About eight years later Sarah was able to meet up with most of them. All of them were happily married. Most of them had jobs and one even went to law school. Some of them have gone back to Nigeria to visit their family while most have stayed in Benin.
The two Sarah adopted have both done well at school and have children of their own. She loves her grandchildren and loves to tell them stories of where their mothers came from. One of her adopted daughters is a stay at home mom but the other, Jen, started an organization in Benin to rescue mistreated girls out of other countries.
Jen’s daughter's name is Melissa. She named the organization The Rescue. They have to keep it a secret so that no one bad finds out about it. They have even started a new village to keep it a secret and to have a place for all the girls to live. Sara lives and works there also and is now helping as many girls as she can. They have rescued many girls and made a lot of friends in the process.
The rescued girls help work in the village to earn money. They are also schooled and fed. Some of them go on to have their own lives in Benin but some stay to help The Rescue stay in operation.
The Price of Being a Woman by Stefanie Cravens is a sculpture representing that men are metaphorically bigger than women.
The Price of Being a Woman
By Stefanie Cravens
This sculpture, made solely of clay, was created by Stefanie Cravens on Wednesday, November 30, 2016. This piece of art is a physical representation of the inequality between men and women in Nigeria. Although the man is physically and significantly larger than the woman, this is a metaphor. In society, men are seen to be bigger, or more important than women. This is a constant throughout the life of a woman, but her position in society changes vastly once she marries since she then becomes a possession (Qualls). Women are barely seen as people if they're not married. Women in Nigeria do not have the same privileges as the men, who can do almost whatever they please. Societally, men have more freedoms than women; they're more powerful. In The Price of Being a Woman, Stefanie Cravens used size, and body shape to provide the physical differences between a man and a woman to imply their differences in society. Men are seen to be more than women, metaphorically being bigger than them.
Nigerian women can be sold or even kidnapped into marriage. Within that marriage, women are under an obligation to have children- preferably baby boys. Traditionally, society blames the woman for a marriage without children. Society not only condemns women who cannot have children, but also condemns women who are unmarried (Qualls). Many women in Nigeria have to go through a great ordeal of domestic violence before, and/or when they are married. The worst forms of them are battering, trafficking, rape and homicide (Hart). 43% of married women thought that their beatings could be justified on the grounds of matters like burning the food, arguing with the husband, going out without asking permission, neglecting the children, and refusing to have sex (Domestic Violence Nigeria). Women being abused is a violation their fundamental human rights (Hart). Nobody should be made to feel small and powerless to anybody. Nigerian women are treated however the men in their lives feel like treating them. Men are viewed to be more masculine with the more children they have, so their wives are continually being worked to reproduce. The women are being used to reproduce. Women are seen as property in the Nigerian culture and are viewed as less than men. This sculpture visually projects this idea.
Of the 57 million children around the world who aren't receiving any education, 10 million of those children live in Nigeria. Terrorists groups like Boko Haram forcefully shut down schools and make an education even harder to obtain (Boko Haram Facts). With the limited schools available, boys are the first to be educated, because they're seen to be the most important. Of the girls fortunate enough to enroll, less than two-thirds complete primary school and even fewer girls finish secondary school (Archer). The main reason parents enroll their daughters in school is to increase their bride price. A girls education isn't as serious as a boys, but she must work twice as hard to be given the slightest praise. Once again, boys are being put before girls, therefore being bigger.
When a two people have sex, it's supposed to be consensual and pleasing to both people. In a survey an organization carried out on rape in Nigerian universities, they discovered that in one of the top federal universities, 100% of rape/sexually harassed victims are female students (mobilepunch). When boys grow up in Nigeria, it is seen socially acceptable for them to touch a girls breasts whether she likes it or not as long as his or her parent is present. As these boys grow into men they aren't required to respect these women, so they don't. They have the physical strength to overpower a woman, and once again, men are showing that they are more than women. They're not the same. Respect isn't given to women in Nigeria, so women remain small.
Going along with sex, female genital mutilation is recognized worldwide as a fundamental violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It involves violation of rights of the children and violation of a person's right to health, security, and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death (Okeke). Nigerian people mutilate a woman's genitalia so that during sex, they don't feel the pleasure that men feel. Women are supposed to bear the children and get nothing else out of sex. Men are one step above, having privileges that have been stolen from women.
This piece of original artwork represents the discrimination and suppression of women in Nigeria. Women are constantly put down which is why the woman is so much smaller than the man. Societally, women are seen as objects of sex and reproduction. The woman's only identifying features are her breasts and stage of pregnancy. These are two things that women are used for, other than cooking and caring for their children. The man has a tall, sturdy, muscular body. He represents strength, and in the woman's pregnancy, she's more weak as she carries another body inside of her. The people in the sculpture represent how unequal men and women are in the Nigerian society. It's a metaphor for how the men discriminate against women so much to the point where women are just not as human as men because they're closer to being property. Although women play a big part in the world, they are constantly being discriminated against. They're disrespected and humiliated. They're treated as though they are somehow less than men. This is the price of being a woman.
Nigerian women waiting in line wearing traditional clothes.
Human Trafficking Poems
By Austin Haraschak
I do not like them
They force me to do bad things
I am very sad
They force me into the scary big van
I thought about the danger I was in
I was the prey of Human Trafficking
I thought for this battle I would not win
People know this as human smuggling
I knew this happened but never to me
From here some say that it will just begin
But I know things that most humans can't see
They can get hurt and it really should stop
The good people have meetings to solve it
You can be sold like a toy in a shop
The bad people don't care a single bit
This traumatized me and ruined my life
I have a lot of anger and some strife
All things Unknown
From the outside I may seem fine
Yet in reality I am a victim of Human Trafficking
For all I can use to heal is time
Victims are different everywhere for I am African
They are brutal and always will cross the line
They punch and punch in places like the abdomen
I sit and cry and wish that they were kind
I wish I could go back and expose them
I wallow in pain
They sell me just like a slave
I really need help
Help is gone
Under control of bad guys
Marketed off like slaves
All victims are scarred
Nothing is being done
Tell all to help stop this
Real people are victims daily
Acknowledge the facts and help
Figure out a way to save us
Fully understand and get involved
Ignore the bad people at all times.
Caring should be number 1
Kill people with kindness not weapons
It can all be avoided/prevented with meetings/actions
Nothing hurts more than doing nothing
Get out and help those in need
I walked down the bumpy road some call life
For some it's shorter and for some it steeper
The hardships pushed and I could tell this part was steep
Human Trafficking, the Hurricane of pain and hurt to some
We try to fight through it, yet society has not yet rid this from us
We are working our way there and hopefully it is finished before the road is
But from a far glance we think we can see and downhill, but how far away is unknown.
Mothers in Nigeria hoping somebody will help rescue their daughters from the terrorist group that stole them from school: Boko Haram.
All Eyes on Me
By Asik Hanif
Akin woke with a start, drenched in a cold sweat. Once again, a night plagued with abhorrent details of his father’s death prevented a peaceful slumber. He could only shield his eyes from the piercing sun as he struggled to stand up. The village came to life around him slowly as he looked around. The houses, made of stone and mud, seemingly drooped as each day passed. Smoke from the houses rose up and clung to the air. Children played with makeshift footballs as women worked on preparing meals for the village. Beyond the village lay a vast grassland that seemingly stretched to no end; it had beautiful, waist high grass that looked like golden and brown wheat. It connected to the mountains that reached as high as they could into the deep blue sky. I had fun playing with the other children and learning to hunt for food in the long grass, Akin remembered. Large towers surrounded the village, and people would use them to look out for potential danger coming from all directions. Akin’s back ached, which interrupted his observance of the landscape; he had trouble moving as he walked over to the group of men standing near the entrance of the village.
“Young Akin, how are you feeling on this day?” One of the men asked.
Akin stared at him with a look of distaste.
“That is none of your business. I am just reporting my departure from the village.”
With that remark, he marched off in the direction of the small business town that lie ahead. The river that led to the village was already filled with local children and adults either washing clothes or enjoying a relaxing swim. As the town loomed into view, Akin took in the surroundings as best as he could with the sun beating down on him, obscuring his view. It was very simple; several mud buildings lined narrow dirt and stone roads. Trucks rumbled through, adding their noise to the sound of birds and human chatter. People mingled about, going to their jobs and minding their own business. It was then that Akin noticed a girl with curly hair wrapped with colorful beads. She had a slender figure and dark skin, which contrasted greatly with the white and yellow light of the sun. Akin stopped to take this all in. He learned that her name was Adamma, which meant “beautiful girl”. In Akin’s eyes, that was the perfect name for her. Her eyes, blue as the clearest sea, captivated Akin to no end. Her attitude was bright like her eyes, which was unique for a woman in his culture. He had seen her many times before, cooking with the other women in the village and helping him clean the animals that he had hunted for many times. She was the perfect match for him, and he would do anything to get her to like him.
His mind snapped back to reality when he heard a scream coming from her direction. Akin squinted through the harsh rays to make out two men grabbing Adamma and pushing her to a nearby van. Despite her struggles, she was shoved inside and the men got in with her. The van sped off in the other direction. Amongst the confusion, Akin felt a terrible feeling overcome him. The screaming reminded him of his father’s death. No, Akin thought, shaking his head. I can't let my love get away from me. I must do something. Without much thought, he broke into a sprint in the direction that the van had headed. He was filled with determination. His fear of failure would not let him stop looking for her. However, he did not make it far before he ran out of breath. He had to stop, although his anger continued to climb. Akin wasn't sure if he would be able to control it. Just as he was about to start running again, a hand came on his shoulder. Akin shook it off and looked into the face of a bearded old man, whose wrinkled complexion cast deep shadows everywhere. He looked concerned.
“My boy, where are you going?” He asked.
Akin didn't talk much here: “I am going to find my love. Do not try to stop me.”
The old man cracked a smile. “Heh, you are adamant I see. But, you need to remember to let people help you with decisions. It will save your life.”
Akin didn't take this in very well. “I will be fine on my own. But thank you, I guess.” He left without another word.
The next few hours were spent aimlessly wandering, searching for that van. Akin started to gain thirst and hunger, but he had set his mind on finding Adamma. The towns he passed were full of people wondering where he was going. One instance involved a girl who tried to ask him for money. Akin had declined to give her money. When she had persisted, he shoved her out of the way and told her to leave him alone. The old man’s advice still had not come in handy. As hours eventually turned to days, word of his departure left the people in Akin’s village wondering if he got kidnapped because they knew that Adamma was kidnapped as well. But, they also knew that he had fallen for her, and he would do anything to get her.
Of course, this was not on Akin’s mind, who had been travelling for three days. He had become very tired. He sweat less and less due to the lack of water, and the hunger had started to ebb away at his strength. His run slowed to a walk; at some points it slowed to a crawl. He had to stop, and he did in a very dry area. There was no sign of food, water, or shelter around. This may have been a lost cause, Akin thought, coughing. His sight started to fade; he began seeing strange patterns in the dirt that led north. Akin opened his eyes. Those weren’t just patterns. They were tire tracks! A newfound hope surged within him. He was on the right path. Akin staggered to his feet, and continued to press on. His feet were blistered and cracked, but he moved through the pain. This trek was wearing him down, but he knew there was a reward to grasp.
Six hours later, night had fallen. Stars burned bright in the sky, and Akin was still moving along. The silhouette of a building loomed in the distance. Akin was weak. Maybe I should have brought someone with me, Akin reluctantly thought, coughing up fine dust that settled in his lungs. Maybe the old man was right. I...I don’t want to let myself down though. So, he went along all by himself. He embraced it because he was close to his goal. Akin found himself facing a white door. He pulled on the handle. It was locked. Akin looked around, trying to find a way in. He spotted a window that was not too far high up -- but it was out of his reach. He jumped and grabbed ahold of it, and intense pain shot up his body. He let go and fell to the ground. Akin could barely move at this point. He could, however, hear faint talking coming from the other side of the wall. A female voice with two louder male voices came from within. Adamma. That was her! Akin needed to get to her. But, he could barely move, and his arm hurt too much to do anything demanding. So, he crawled to the side of the building, and found a hole that lead to an area under the room that Adamma was in. He made his way into the cramped and dark space. He found a small ray of light ahead which came from the room above. The voices became clearer the closer he went to the light.
This is it, Akin thought, looking up at the two men and Adamma, who was sitting in a chair. One of the men looked down, hearing shuffling below him. He saw the whites of Akin’s eyes as he shined a light in his face. Akin grunted and recoiled; he was lucky, because a second later a bright flash erupted along with a ear splitting sound in his direction. The bullet barely missed him, but it was enough to make Adamma panic and run into another room. The two men ran after her, and Akin saw this as his chance to climb out of the hole and into the room. There was no other furniture besides the chair she had been sitting in. That was close, Akin thought, catching his breath and surveying what he had to work with. Akin took the chair, as it may be useful to him and headed off to find Adamma. She was in the other room, being yelled at by the two men. She gasped when she saw him, and the men turned around. One pulled out his gun and aimed in the direction of Akin. Akin stood, paralyzed. That gun brought back terrible memories. The harbinger of his father’s death was now facing Akin himself. In an instant, time slowed down and started to crawl sluggishly like a snail. No, no I cannot die. Not when I am so close to rescuing Adamma. The blinding flash of light escaped the mouth of the barrel, and along with it came the metal bullet, which seemed to be taking a leisurely stroll towards him. Closer, closer it came, almost lusting for Akin’s body. Akin felt lighter, and only by looking at his hands did he realize that the chair had already left them. Surely the luck of the gods was on Akin’s side, because the chair and bullet made contact; the impact was just enough to make the bullet change its direction. Akin, eyes open wide, felt it fly past his head, the sound of thunder almost shattering his eardrums. Then, blurs and screams sped up and Akin was forced back into reality, although with a painful twist. The bullet had torn through his ear, and deep crimson blood poured freely from the wound. Akin cupped that ear as one of the men prepared to fire again.
Akin did not have anything to defend himself with. So, for what would be the very first time since the death of his father, he called for help.
“Adamma, help!” Akin barked, and Adamma turned and punched the man in the stomach. That caught him by surprise. She hit a man. That is absolutely unacceptable in our culture. But, he could understand why she did that. She was in danger, and a person has to do what they can to protect themselves.
The man dropped the gun. Akin grabbed the other man, and using all of his strength, rammed his head against the wall. A loud CRACK could be heard as the man’s skull slammed against the wall. He fell to the floor, and so did Akin, who no longer had any strength to stand. He saw Adamma holding the gun and pointed it towards the other man. She pulled the trigger. Akin looked away from the grisly scene, hearing the loud BANG of the gun go off. Akin’s ragged breath was the only noise that followed for a few moments. Then, Adamma spoke, shattering the fragile silence that had enveloped them.
“You...you came to rescue me,” she murmured, with a hint of nervousness in her voice. Akin looked up to see her. Strong and beautiful, he pondered.
Akin attempted to stand up. He couldn't be seen like this. He looked weak and unfit to be a man. But, it was hard to show strength here. Akin knew that he couldn’t show weakness. He had to be demanding. Yet, he knew that he felt a lot different than before. He didn’t want to control her. No, she was too special.
“I had strong feelings for you. I wanted to rescue you, prove that I am a worthy man, a strong man. But, here I kneel on the cold stone ground, next to my dignity.” He looked down. Tears started to well up in his eyes. “I’m not a good person. I didn’t let anyone help me on the way here. I-” His voice cracked. Akin cleared his throat, and continued. ”I-I was cruel to them. Now, it has cost me my b-body and m-my self esteem.”
Adamma knelt beside Akin, who had started to cry. “Akin...you rescued me. You travelled nearly 30 miles to find me. You dodged a bullet and knocked a man out. That is strength to me.”
She embraced Akin, and then kissed him. Relief surged through Akin’s body. I did it, I found her. I have gotten my love. His body relaxed for a bit as they shared this passionate moment together. He was experiencing true tranquility.
“Let’s get out of here,” Akin whispered after a bit.
Adamma had to support him as they walked out of the building. They walked to the nearest town, where the hot Nigerian sun greeted them warmly. The light revealed buildings made from concrete and steel, which Akin thought was fascinating, as those were rare around his area. People more or less flooded the streets, and it took a long time for Akin and Adamma to make it to a restaurant. Akin also warmly greeted everyone that he saw after a good rest with some food and water to accompany. He gave some food to the girl that he had rudely shoved a few days ago. A taxi took them the rest of the way back to their village. As they got out, Akin saw the old man who had talked to him not too long ago. He ran up to the man, who turned and glared at him.
“Elder, I have come to apologize. You were right. I do need people to help me. Your advice really did save my life.” Akin flashed him a big smile.
The old man smiled back. “My dear boy, is that so? Well I am very glad that you listened to my advice. You are a smart child. You are brave as well. You truly live up to your name, Akin.”
Akin had never felt this proud about himself before in his life. He had learned a valuable lesson in trusting others. Adamma waited by his side, holding his hand. Akin couldn’t believe that he used to be so harsh to people. He would no longer treat people with disrespect. Akin swore to be as kind as he possibly be could to others. His new wife would agree that this was a good decision. Akin looked at Adamma, and they kissed one another as the sun nestled itself between the mountains and went to sleep.
As this is typically done by wives in Nigeria, this man is going to the river to collect water in the basket to bring home to his family.
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