Why Women Being Harassed For Wearing Abaya


By Adnan Abdullahi Adam

Recently, a video clip went viral of which shows some male students of Kano University Of science and Technology Wudil (KUST) harassing female colleague within the vicinity of the campus.  Gangs of the lawless students were shown, in the video, dragging the cloth of one female student and verbally harassing and assaulting her with booing ‘mai abaya’.

The Security Department of the university swept into action by fishing out 17 students in connection with the harassment of the innocent female student, and the lawless elements were handed out various punishments including suspension by University Disciplinary Committee.

And in order to instill self-esteem in female students’ age-longed decent dress-code, and to tackle female harassment in the university, The Vice Chancellelor of The University, Prof Shehu Alhaji declares 27th of May annually as Abaya Day, a day for solidarity with the female student, and celebration for wearing Abaya gown in the campus.

It is absolutely outrageous, for an undergraduate student to harass a female colleague in a day broad light. This negative public conduct puts a question mark on what kind of knowledge and attitude these students are receiving from the highest citadel of learning. And casts a doubt on what kind of this generation’s future would look like? Ideally, university student should posses a precious mindset that would steer the wheel of leadership in the country.

Many people are aware of this, that social harassment against women for wearing Abaya became a persistent trend in every nook and corner of towns and villages in the north. In the recent Eid Fidr and Sallah festivities, and even presently, it became widely common to see” matured” men and even children harassing female on the streets. It is norm, for minor children to harass female adult even if she is his mother’s age mate.

Indeed, The Abaya harassment phenomenon is paramount issues, of which highlights social harassment of women in the society. The whole climatic event of Abaya has highlighted prevalent social indiscipline in our society which hitherto is attracting public outcry every day, and became source of worrisome for everyone concerned.

Today, it is not safer for women to wear Abaya gown, and to walk on the streets without being booed, or some sort of verbal abuses and harassments from children and many adult. Women and young ladies cannot come out to walk on the street wearing Abaya gown because of this embarrassing social harassment.

The case turned a reversal one, at a time  when only few people will raise their eyebrow when a lady from other side, with tight-fitting clothes which revealed her womanly body shape, or when she dresses in a very scanty half-naked clothes. She has audacity to walk everywhere freely with pride, showcasing her sensitive organs before the eyes of the public in a western oriented dress fashion styles.
Even before this current ugly trend, perhaps female became helpless victim of the society that she is almost treated badly or she is not wanted at all. Because female have more than their fair share of all form of abuses, rapes, harassment, trafficking for prostitutions or for domestic servitude within the country and in foreign lands-modern day slavery.

On the other hands, female should feel contented with their God-given body-size, skin color and outlook. Nowadays, many are carried away by the glamour and images of ‘beauty ideal’ imposed upon them by the media. They become too obsessed with mundane beauty that is difficult to achieve in reality. The saying “who control the media control the minds”, negative media content influences many of young men and women.

In addition, vanity and materialism is deeply entrenched in mindset of young many ladies today. Women and girls talks more on dress fashion, music, films, TV series more than any other serious issues concerning their lives. God has granted everyone what is his, engaging in extramarital sex for the sake of getting a frivolous garment called Abaya is totally un-called for.

Perhaps if we are more serious, Abaya gown should not be a trending topic if we are looking into magnitude social challenges before us, as a familiar dress-code Abaya should be non-issue, it does not deserve to be trending topic on social networking sites or to attract massive social media engagement, considering how Nigeria from every strata grappling with myriad challenges from different angles.

Male children must be trained to respect the opposite sex, this will never go out of style. Every female should not feel threatened and insecure in an Islamic predominant society. Assaulting and harassing females because of their dress-code or gender is entirely against the teaching of Islam as all men and women are created equal before Allah (SWT).

Perhaps ugly scenario could be traced back from male preference, a lot of parents celebrate male child over female one, thereby denigrating their female child to the lower echelon of society as Buchi Emecheta refers it Second-Class Citizens. It is equally important training male children to respect women as human being, so that their attitude will be shaped till maturational age. Male children grew up with culture that treated female as almost non-entity and they are not worthy of respect and dignity.

Adam writes from Ungogo Local Govt. Kano.

E-mail:    adnanadam37@gmail.com
Twitter:  @realadnantweet

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily


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