When are we going to have an open and honest conversation about sexual harassment and assault in Nigerian churches?
How long are we going to push it away, cover it up and pretend it never happens?
2017 was the year we debated the previously untouchable subject of tithing. When are we going to rip off the shroud of silence around sexual assault and victim blaming that exists in Nigeria’s religious circles?
Could it be because our society in general still doesn’t give victims a voice, still shields perpetrators and dehumanize victims? Could it be because there hardly is any justice?
Could it be because Pastors in Nigeria have such a strong hold on their followers that no one is emboldened to speak out?
Could it be that church goers are more concerned about preserving the ‘good name’ of the church rather than standing up for Justice for the victim of a crime?
How many young women have been coerced into non consensual sexual encounters by church group leaders and pastors who abuse their authority? How many times have we heard those stories and demonized the victims?
How long will we allow doctrines and teachings that body shame women, victim blame them while validating their abusers?
When will we stop teaching that men have no control over their sexuality so responsibility lies on the women to “not dress provocatively” or “visit alone” so as not to be assaulted?
When are we going to stop protecting sexual predators in the church even if they have the highest title?
When will we face this subject and stop covering it up with pacifist bible verses and christian cliches?
When will our first response stop being to “defend the accused, avoid a scandal or protect the name of the church”?
When are we going to stop avoiding subjects that make us uncomfortable?