Friday 21 December 2018


Above photo shows Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa on the red carpet for the premiere of the film: Sandra's Cross - A film that depicts the negative consequences of Gender Based Violence (GBV), in particular Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)...

On the 19th of December, 2018, YouthhubAfrica TV & Young Men's Network Against Sexual & GBV with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) presented the premiere of the film: Sandra's Cross to the public at Silverbird Cinema, Abuja. I was there live! Sandra Cross 2 is the continuation of Sandra Cross 1. Sandra's Cross is a web series that aims at causing social interaction/engineering that could lead to greater awareness and conversation about GBV and FGM in particular.

Sandra's Cross 2 is centred around 15 year old Hauwa forcibly 'married' to much older Nuhu (probably in his fifties). Nuhu had two other wives before marrying Hauwa. Nuhu and his polygamous family live in the same compound with Dr. Agnes (a female medical doctor) who likes Hauwa and is concerned about the fact that the latter could be married to such an old man, Nuhu. Meanwhile, inspite of the fact that Dr. Agnes is married to a fellow University graduate, her husband is unemployed and he repeatedly uses Agnes's resources to fund 'projects' without due diligence. Agnes's husband's recklessness has completely depleted her bank account. This is a major source of tension in Agnes's marriage.

To be sure, Hauwa had earlier been 'circumcised' as a child (FGM). Hauwa felt very lonely at home with the other 'senior wives' since she wished to continue her schooling instead of being a child bride. Hauwa constantly sneaked into Agnes's apartment to confide in her. On one of these occasions, Hauwa confides in Agnes that her husband, Nuhu, had been having regular sex with her and she was feeling 'weak'. Agnes quickly put Hauwa through a urine pregnancy test which was positive. Further tests showed that because of FGM, Hauwa's birth canal was too narrow to deliver a child naturally. She would need to undergo a cesarean section (operation) to deliver the baby.

Then, one morning Hauwa caught up with Agnes on her way out. It was a bad time to approach Agnes because she was on a mission to re-pay her husband's creditors as a result of the deal engaged in by the the latter which went sour! She could not wait to listen to Hauwa before speeding off in her car. This singular act proved to be fatal because Hauwa was whisked away to another end of town within Lagos - Agege, where she was to be delivered of her baby at home by traditional birth attendants! Hauwa was hidden from Agnes until her expected date of delivery (EDD). Hauwa had a difficult labour for days. When the traditional birth attendants could no longer cope, Hauwa was transferred to a hospital, from where Nuhu called Agnes to intimate her about Hauwa's plight. Agnes immediately swung into action. Hauwa delivered a baby girl but she died in the process!

Hauwa's daughter could suffer the same fate in the name of 'tradition'. There was already some preparation to circumcise the baby. History would repeat itself...This graphic film with excellent actors depicted the deplorable state of the girl child in many parts of Nigeria, especially Northern Nigeria, where child marriage is still a very big issue. A few years ago, a Senator married a 13 year old girl in Nigeria, and absolutely nothing happened to him!

It is important to note the following:

*FGM is still very rampant in Nigeria
*A film like 'Sandra's Cross' is being supported by young male Nigerians. This is some form of advocacy for the eradication of FGM by male champions. This is progress!
*The complicity of older females for the perpetuation of FGM cannot be overlooked. Nuhu's sister was at the forefront of ensuring that late Hauwa's daughter was circumcised.
*Polygamy that could spread sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV/AIDS is widely practiced in Nigeria.
*Child marriage that breeds illiterate child-mothers, leads to vesico vaginal fistula (VVF), maternal mortality, etc is condoned.
*Dr. Agnes's husband eventually became a male champion who went to speak to Nuhu about Hauwa, man-to-man.

On the whole we need more films like 'Sandra's Cross' for more effective advocacy against GBV. Kudos to the male champions who collaborated for the success of this film...

Related Links

*Nigeria launches first national 'Sex Offenders Register' (25th November, 2020)
*The VAPP Act, 2015
*5 ways the VAPP Act has changed the offense of rape in Nigeria
*5 years after VAPP Act, FGM perpetrators still walk free
*VAPP Tracker
*VAPP Law: Bauchi state government launches N3.7b costed action plan
*How Lebanese sexually molested girls,minors in Nigeria for years
*Man who stopped wife from schooling, working, divorces her 24 years later
*Sexual assault as a weapon of war: History, effect & prevention    
*Nigeria takes a stand against SGBV
*Nigeria: All 36 Governors declare state of emergency over rape
*Nigeria: Kaduna state Governor passes castration law for rape
*Nigerian women in film on GBV: 'Walk on water in Makoko'
*Sexual assault as a weapon of war: History, effect and prevention
*It's a man's problem: Patrick Stewart & the man fighting to end domestic violence (DV)
*Saving Nigerian girls: A critical reflection on girl-saving campaigns in the colonial and neo-liberal eras
*No visible bruises: Domestic Violence (DV) & Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
*The GBV plan: Milestone or 'soft nudge'
*How to spot if you are being gaslighted
*Interventions by WANEP to tackle Sex & Gender Based Violence (SGBV)
*Nexus between report card & child abuse
*Pope Francis vows to end sexual abuse after McCarrick report
*Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) blamed for death of 10-year old girl in Sierra-Leone
*650 million women & girls alive today were married as children  #EndChildMarriage
*Survivors speak out in film on rape under ex-Gambian leader
*The growth of the #MeToo campaign has encouraged more open reporting of sexual harassment #JournalistsToo
*Take action: 10 ways you can help end VAW
*1st report of the UNESCO-ICFJ Online VWA Journalists' project
*Confronting GBV: Online course @ Johns Hopkins University
*Nigeria: How unclear policies contribute to sexual harassment in Universities
*Epidemic of Domestic Violence (DV) - Alberta Advocates
*Compendium on Domestic Violence by the World Bank
*Compendium on Child Marriage by the World Bank
*Compendium on Female Genital Mutilation by the World Bank
*Bill bans 'abhorrent' quizzing of domestic abuse victims in court
*Rise in sexual abuse cases in Aid Groups as more victims speak up
*How neuro-science is exploding the myth of the male and female brains
*Abuse prevention: How to turn off the gaslighters
*11 warning signs of gaslighting
*When is it gaslighting and when is it not
*The woman most likely to get promoted according to science
*UN waters down rape resolution to appease US's hard line abortion stance
*Hilary Swank: 'Getting fired led to my overnight success'
*UNSCR 2467 on Sexual Violence in Conflict: WILPF's Secretary-General Medeleine Rees' opinion
*The philosophical origins of patriarchy
*UNODC Homicide Report sheds light on the link between VAW & girls and gender-related killings
*What security means to women
*Conflict drives global rise in Sexual & Gender Based Violence (SGV)
*UN aid workers raped 60,000 in 10 years as sex abuse went unchecked
*Film industry: Damaging stereotypes on screen limit women's aspiration - Geena Davis
*Giving credit: Gender and the hidden labour behind academic prestige
*An all-women Delta airline team flew 120 girls to NASA to get them excited about aviation careers
*The challenges women face in business (that men don't)
*Nigeria: Sex for votes   #sex for votes
*51.7% of female undergraduates in Nigeria suffer sexual violence
*Poetry by girls in Nigeria
*Sex for grades: Time to adopt the 'Blind Grading System'
*The best and worst countries for women
*In China, courts deny women divorce in the name of 'social harmony'
*Adegboyega Adenekan (Chrisland School Supervisor) sentenced to 60 years in prison for raping two-year old girl in Lagos>2019/10/24>adegboyega-adenekan...
*Enter intersectionality: Towards an inclusive survivor-centred approach in responding to conflict-related sexual violence
*One third of domestic abuse victims are trapped through financial abuse
*What we are getting wrong about domestic violence
*DV: For some persons, social distancing means being trapped indoors with an abuser
*Nigeria's harmful law: Under the Penal Code, it's legal for husbands to beat their wives for the purpose of 'correction'!   Sec 55(1)(d) Subsection 10 of the Penal Code
*YALI Voices: How to raise awareness about GBV in rural areas  #16daysofactivism
*NGOs in Cape Town and war against GBV
*Rohingya sexual violence trauma & neglect: October 2020 Report
*1,718 children in Lagos suffered sexual, domestic abuse in 2020
*Nigeria: What role can you play to ensure that your state establishes a Sexual Assault Referral Centre?
*GBV in Nigeria: Myths & facts
*VAW in Britain: Sarah Everard was just walking home, then...
*Rapists face life imprisonment in Kogi state as lawmakers pass VAPP Bill
*Virginity testing is a human rights violation   #MyBodyIsMyOwn
*ECOWAS Court orders FGN to pay $200,000 (N90m) to ex-Air Force woman, 'raped, illegally dismissed'$200,000-to-ex-air-force-woman-raped.../
*#StateofEmergencyGBV Movement, a coalition of NGOs, laments over rising cases of VAW in Nigeria
*GBV costs the EU 366 billion Euros a year. VAW makes up 79% of this cost, amounting to 289 billion Euros


6th July, 2019

In June 2019, 'Silent Tears', a film about GBV in Nigeria was premiered in Abuja. The wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Osibajo was the special guest of honour. The premiere was sponsored by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). An excerpt from the address by Jude Ilo, Head of Nigeria Office, OSIWA is quite instructive. See

"We are all living witnesses to a value system that continues to disrespect, commercialise and subjugate women. We are living witnesses to unprovoked raids on women, labelled prostitutes but without any information or arrest of their patrons...Permit me therefore, on behalf of the menfolk to offer a long overdue apology to women and girls across Nigeria. I apologise for the lack of appreciation and gratitude for the life you gave us by your blood and pain. I apologise for a prevailing culture that undermines the importance and significance of womanhood".

To be sure, in the past few months, many women going about their normal day job have been assaulted by security agencies in Abuja and its environs under the guise of ridding the city of 'prostitutes'. Should women and girls now go around the city in fear?

7th July, 2019

On the 27th of June, the premiere of the film, 'The Prosecutor' was held in Abuja. The film documents the activities of five prosecutors in various parts of the world in their search for the truth as regards GBV. It was an evening when attendees had 'intimate' conversations with Nobel Laureate, Dr. Dennis Mukwege, who has spent the better part of his working life protecting victims of GBV!

Let Dennis speak for himself: 'We need to galvanise political will to ensure that victims of sexual violence are receiving all necessary assistance to recover from their physical and psychological wounds and are economically empowered to start a new life. They should be integrated into the society after their full recovery' - Dennis Mukwege

On the culture of silence as regards GBV, Dennis said: 'Silence is the perfect tool which helps the perpetrators to continue to operate with impunity. Survivors who are breaking the silence are key to ending the cycle of violence' - Dennis Mukwege

It is worthy of note that the three films featured in this post ('Sandra's Cross', 'Silent Tears' & 'The Prosecutor') are aimed at showcasing the level of destruction of societal fabric by the despicable phenomenon of GBV. All hands must be on deck to stem the tide of this negative act...

            Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa on the red carpet @ the premiere of the film: 'The Prosecutors'


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