A couple of weeks ago, she became a trending topic again. She was delighted that Alhaji Abubakar Audu was dead as his kids had done despicable things to her. More facts have been revealed and courtesy of Reuben Abati, the story is now in the mainstream media in Nigeria. Although I must add that the Alhaji Audu angle is yet to be explained.
I do not intend to dwell on the wrongs and the wrongs of what happened. What I object to and caution all parents, aunties, uncles, guardians, mentors, teachers and emotionally & physically matured adults against is:
PLEASE WARN YOUR CHILDREN / NIECES / NEPHEWS / BROTHERS / SISTERS / SIBLINGS / WARDS / MENTEES NOT TO SHARE THEIR LIFE STORIES THE Sugabelly WAY NO IFS. NO BUTS. NO EXCUSES.
Granted bad things happen to good people.
Granted we sometimes experience very painful and extremely traumatic events in life but what part of the science of therapy justifies sharing your traumatic story with not only 320+ million Twitter users worldwide but also with the very active and very judgemental c2+ million users on Nija Twitter? For God’s sake, how does this help you overcome your trauma? How is it that many people tweeting abuse at you help you achieve closure? If you care to know Sugabelly's answer, check her tweet on this link
If Sugabelly’s events are 100% accurate, I am distraught on her behalf and the perpetrators are fortunate she is not my relative. If she was my relative and I choose not to exploit any extra judicial means, I will attempt to do the following & I recommend this to anybody in her position dealing with the same or similar issues:
- Anonymise the 'story' and persuade many of the good people on Nigerian Social Media, mainstream media and in many of our Rape / Violence Against Women Charities to run with my anonymised story and hopefully ensure it gains the same traction as the Sugabelly story.
- Appeal to all the well connected people in my family circle & network to fight a conventional battle (via the Police and the Justice system) against my attackers. Yes the alleged perpetrators are monied and influential. All you need to do is persuade someone as influential as them to believe you and the Nigerian Police will do something. Many Nigerians of influence have gone to prison for less violent crimes. Yes we know what the Police are like generally but they make things happen and move when the right kind of pressure is applied.
- Commission Private Investigators / investigative journalists to find other victims of the perpetrators, maybe find some of the videos that are already in circulation through covert information technology skills. Together with other victims of the same individual, ensure wide publicity for the case while anonymising the victims. Either get the police to prosecute or file a class action law suit seeking punitive civil damages that ensure the perpetrators are compelled to acknowledge their evil deed in open court.
Personally, I found it extremely sad & bewildering that a fellow human found themselves in a terribly bad situation and did not know where to turn to. Where were the adults in this person’s life? What was so bad that the child could not confide in the parents? Isn't this one of the reasons why we have parents and other adults in our lives? Yes we make mistakes and there is nobody who hasn’t made loads of them. But the first step is to realise these mistakes and seek help from competent sources - parents, other adults and other professionals. Yes some scars never heal but blanketing social media with the causes of those scars will not make the scars heal either. Getting help will. Help from people who care about you, help from professionals, help from people who have experienced the same or similar things. Getting justice might also but sharing your traumatic story on social media is definitely not the way to go in my opinion. Having to defend the life choices of your parents to everybody in the world is definitely not a choice or option I will advocate for anybody.
To all young people out there in fact to everybody out there, please if you are suffering a particularly traumatic and physically degrading event whether in the past or ongoing, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t be tempted to follow the same steps as Sugabelly on this one issue. Talk to your parents, if you are not comfortable with that, talk to other adults and also talk to professionals who are specialists in the type of trauma you are dealing with. Take the issue through the formal justice system. Find a lawyer who is prepared to help, find a sympathetic person in the mainstream or social media who will help give attention to your case anonymously. Together these professionals can help you get justice. But please the main road that is Twitter is not the place. You wont get the closure you desire.
Ka Chineke Mezie okwu