Who has more rights?
On the first day of school, a boy touched Tomiwa’s buttocks. It wasn’t the first time it happened. But it was time to say ‘no more!’ to boys at school disrespecting her, or any other girl. This time she was not going to let it go. It was time to put an end to this act - she did.
Here’s how she did it:
Know your rights
Tomiwa knew this behaviour wasn’t right. Girls have the right to have their bodies and space respected. Girls also have just as much of a right to enjoy their education as boys. She knew all these and so she was no longer going to accept the response ‘boys will be boys’.
Raise awareness and report
Tomiwa gathered stories of girls in her class and her school. She was surprised at how many girls shared her experience. They were just as angry that boys were not been punished. She shared these stories with her parents, who shared it with other parents until it was raised with the school.
People will tell you not to speak up. If something/someone makes you uncomfortable, or disrespects your rights, speak up. It’s the best thing to do. Like Tomiwa, you can always talk to people you trust. Your big sister, parents, a teacher or your friends. Listen to the voices of people who love you and can help you.
Own your power
Know that you have the power to change things. Never let people make you believe that being a girl is somehow less than being a boy. Every day, around the world, young girls and women are re-making their communities. Even small act of bravery, can have a huge impact.
By speaking up and sharing the voices of other girls, Tomiwa was able to get her school to introduce stricter punishments for boys who harass girls.
Next time someone tries to tell you ‘boys will be boys’, know you have the right to raise your voice. You don’t need to take it on like Tomiwa, but you can always keep an eye out for other girls who share your experiences. There is strength in numbers and together your voices can rise into a roar.
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