I like orange colour, it is one of my favourite colours to wear. And more importantly is that the colour is a slogan used to raise awareness about gender based violence. While women all around the world are more likely to suffer from physical violence than male counterparts, what is also true is that countries where physical violence is used to settle any disagreement are at higher risk. I may not have data to prove it but our streets give some clue.
Just out of secondary school, my best friend and I went to a small town 30miles away from our town to retake some WAEC papers. With us were two boys we knew from home. They were in town ahead of us and were very nice during our first week in town, also helpful as we searched for a room to rent.
Few months down the line, one day we were all together having lunch, my friend and I teased the boys about their lifestyle specifically on them having girlfriends. My friend and I were 18 and the boys were 20 and 21. No one makes us the police of them but it was fun teasing them doing things they would not dare do at home.
One of the guys loved the tease so told more stories so to give us more to talk about. The other guy who I later realised was trying hard to make good impression with a popular girl in school was way too serious, so got offended by our tease so we stopped.
The day after the event on our way to school, he joined us to talk about what happened the previous day, he was particularly offended by what my friend had said about his girlfriend. Nothing that makes sense but for a 21 year old in love, it means the world even though the girl was not there, one thing led to another, he slapped my friend twice across the face, it hurts so bad that *Florence screamed loudly.
We did not fight back, they continued their journey to school while my friend and I made a U-turn back to our room.
How did my friend and I make the boy pay?
Across Florence face were thick finger prints, so we decided to go back to our town since there is really no one to talk to about this. Also since the incidence happened outside of the school compound we were not confident the school would take us seriously.
By the time we got to town, Florence’s parents were not at home neither were mine. In the end we turned to a neighbourhood doctor who we thought might listen and help – he did. My friend was given a bed to sleep at the clinic for the night while she was being looked after as a decent human being with hot food so the boy’s mother could have enough bill.
I went to the boys’ house to inform his mother that her son had a gift waiting for her at the local clinic.
I genuinely pitied the mother as I knew she was the only one raising 6 children, father works away at the time but I knew our boy friend must be thought a lesson – there is a better way to resolve conflict.
The embarrassment was more than the one night clinic bill, the real shame to the boy and his mother was that the quiet choir boy hits a friend where they went to study so much that the girl had to be hospitalised. Well, nobody bother to ask details of the clinic stay.
Out of the blue the few years ago, the boy of years ago called to say hello. It was a nice chat. Afterwards, I remembered the incidence – I was so pleased we made him pay, he’s likely going to remember before lifting hands on either his wife or neighbour.
It is never cool to raise hand on another person. Men who raised their hands on their wives or friends will never stop unless women stop feeling ashamed about it and find ways to shame the bully.
*Not her real name