By Vanessa Obioha
In recent times, there’s been an alarming number of rape cases in Nigeria — from the brutal rape and murder of the University of Benin undergraduate Uwavera Omozuwa in Edo State to the shocking case of Barakat Bello, who was raped and left in a pool of blood at her home in Oyo State. The Nigerian police reported that 717 rape cases between January and May were recorded. In response to the growing concerns on the issue, Nigerian state governors declared a state of emergency on rape in June 2020.
The scary incidents spark protests and discussions on how to protect minors and women who are often victims of the crime while encouraging victims to report their attackers.
MultiChoice Nigeria recently joined the increasing number of voices kicking against gender-based violence in the society through its reality TV show, Big Brother Naija.
In a recent weekly task, the housemates were tasked to make an informative presentation that captures the message ‘No Means No’.
While preparing for the presentation, housemates examined the rape culture to determine the root of the menace.
Prince, a former beauty pageant winner, disclosed he had worked on a campaign against gender-based violence shortly before he came into the house. According to him, the disparity in the ways the boy child and the girl child are raised is a contributing factor to the high number of rape cases and gender-based violence. He said parents spend so much time trying to raise young girls to be wonderful ladies but don’t invest as much time in raising the boys to be gentlemen, forgetting that the two sexes will have to interact in the future.
Ozo and Tricky Tee argued that while it’s true that the family plays an important role in the way a child turns out, it ultimately falls back on every individual to choose the type of life they want to lead and that everyone is ultimately responsible for their actions. Lucy, Vee, Laycon and Dorathy also made various insightful contributions to the conversation, all of which were very well received by viewers and the general public.
Vee argued that everything boils down to family values, “I used to study health and social care. When a child is acting up in school, the first thing they ask is your family. It’s always going to be about the foundation. Your family starts you off and you go out to the world and spread your wings. Even if you come from a bad home, you always have the opportunity to go into the world and be a better person,” she told her fellow housemates, stressing that early childhood experiences play a significant role in who we end up becoming.
Stand To End Rape Initiative, a youth-led organization that advocates gender equality and an end to sexual gender-based violence, took to Twitter to commend the show’s organizers, MultiChoice Nigeria, for facilitating the conversation.
“We want to acknowledge MultiChoice Nigeria and Big Brother Naija for the thoughtfulness to facilitate this conversation on the show (BBNaija). As an organisation working actively in this space, we are always open to supporting with developing content and tasks for the housemates,” it said.
Although the housemates lost the wager, their opinions and contributions helped in driving conversations on social media. Fans of the show echoed some of the thoughts of the housemates and commended Prince particularly for throwing light on sexual abuse of boys.