Editorial: #FindHinyUmoren: One Tale Too Many
Some common reasons women are raped and killed are indecent dressing and moving late in the night. Women should understand that the streets are not safe. They should bury themselves in layers of clothes that clean the streets better than LAWMA. As our Yoruba elders say, a responsible child should not move late in the night. We are not wiser than our elders, so every reasonable lady must have a reasonable curfew.
We must take precautions to avoid getting caught up in risky situations. However, Hiny Humoren (Iniobiong Umoren) did better than anyone of us would do. She notified her friends and families about where she was going. She had her location turned on through the time. Her friend got updates about her movement and was in touch till anyone last heard of her. She was dressed for a job interview – not “indecently”. Did these prevent her from getting raped, murdered in cold blood, and buried in a shallow grave?
The Human Rights Watch describes Nigeria as one country where violence against women is pervasive. NOIPolls in 2019 reported that one in three ladies would have experienced a form of sexual assault before their 25th birthday. This is just one of the various forms of violence against women, some of which are promoted under the guise of culture and religion. The Tiv people, for example, believe a man only beats a woman as a sign of love. “God when?” to them has to be a talented wife beater.
The repression, associated stigmatization, and “because of the children” have made most of these violent experiences go unreported. Societies put more effort into protecting the culprits in the name of comradeship, and that, deliberately at the expense of the victim. An easy example is the case of Senator Elisha Abbo. According to Section 351 of the Criminal Code, “Any person who unlawfully assaults another is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to, if no greater punishment is provided, to imprisonment for one year”.
Today, we understand Hiny’s story because there was an Umoh Uduak that was in touch. Otherwise, the storyline would have been different. The streets would have been quick to call her greedy “women of nowadays” or a vagabond who would works under the night’s cover.
The mere thought of this happening during daylight is enough to send cold chills down anyone’s spine. Even worse, it is whilst we still boil and brood over the news of a paedophilic Baba Ijesha raping a 7-year-old about 7 years ago. We know the story of that (now 14-year-old) girl because of Iyabo Ojo and those cringy irking videos. Otherwise, people would have been asking – what was she wearing? Why was she alone with him? Where was she?
These two gory cases should put to rest the ugly habit of victim shaming. A child was sexually abused in her guardian’s home. A young lady was raped, murdered, and buried in a shallow grave while job hunting. Next, we should talk about all this country did wrong. But, if you agree with the opening paragraph of the editorial, what did Hinny Humoren do wrong?