Sumaya Abdul Aziz wants to tell her tale. The mom of ten doesn't use her actual name out of fear of reprisal. Having said that, it's crucial to her that the humans within the northern Nigerian town of Kaduna — and the relaxation of the country — research what her 8-year-vintage daughter became forced to endure.


"It become a boy who has due to the fact left the neighborhood," Sumaya told DW. He raped her daughter closing 12 months. She recollects how he left behind traces of his crime. However Sumaya became helpless as she had no money to take her daughter to the clinic. As a precautionary degree, she treated her daughter with traditional medication.

She also can't forget the threats from the perpetrator and his own family, who warned her against going to the police and reporting the crime. "They would have stated that [my daughter] lied and sued us for libel," says Sumaya. And so she become left with little choice however to do nothing. "I gave up and left everything to God. We are poor and haven't any money to do some thing." Months after the attack, she hopes she will by no means see her daughter's rapist once more.

The hashtag which brings cases to light

in the Nigerian state of Kaduna, this is how most rape cases are handled — without any kind of research or convictions. Jurist and judge, Saadatu Hamma, estimates that up to 98 percent of al instances aren't stated. "If the instances do end up going to court docket, the sufferer's mother and father typically apply to forestall the case," she informed DW. "Or they sabotage the case and frustrate the police and the prosecutors in order that they're no longer convicted."

however the new hashtag #ArewaMeToo presently making the rounds on social media may want to sooner or later assist to interrupt the silence. It accommodates the phrase 'Arewa' — the Hausa time period for northern Nigeria — and the global hashtag #MeToo which took off in 2017, prompting ladies global to share their memories of abuse and harassment. The original creator of #ArewaMeToo, Maryam Awaisu, became in brief arrested by using police in connection to her campaign. Human rights agency Amnesty international without delay referred to as for her launch.

humans out of doors of Nigeria have also been claiming the hashtag for themselves. Socila media customers Niger now makes use of #ArewaMeTooMinna to particularly name interest to sexual abuse cases of their vicinity. Hamma says some rape cases have already come to light as a result. "we've talked to a few human beings, their cases are very unhappy," she says. "I can not believe the torture those ladies went via."

Many reasons to stay silent

but Kaduna kingdom's Commissioner of ladies's Affairs and Social development, Hafsat Mohammed Baba, is a long way extra vital of the hashtag, describing it as "unhelpful." some of the allegations made on social media couldn't be substantiated, leading to police investigations for defamation. "preferably, people might searching for justice via the courts," Mohammed Baba instructed DW. She warns against pursuing self-administered justice. Neighborhood government are responsible in those cases, not personal residents. Despite the fact that, she believes it's miles critical that those affected talk about instances of sexual abuse. "if you stay silent, then we will get no help," she says.

despite the eye it's been receiving on Twitter these days, it remains hard to talk publically approximately rape in Nigeria. Saadutu Hamma believes this is due in component to a worrying new fashion: the victims have become more youthful and younger.

"We've seen cases involving toddlers who were only approximately three hundred and sixty five days antique and youngsters are regularly too scared to speak about it," explains Hamma. The sufferers and their families additionally must take care of the emotions of shame. Parents are involved that their daughters will now not be capable of discover a husband and that their family's reputation might be ruined in the event that they document the rape.

network also in charge

For ladies's rights activist Aisha Usman — who has had youngsters and youth tested for rape and HIV — the abuse has plenty to do with the dad and mom' social scenario because maximum sufferers are from poorer households. "not a unmarried toddler of a rich man is ever raped, it's miles continually the weakest children who are targeted," Usman informed DW. They're additionally tons easier to intimidate and blackmail. Families who slightly have enough money to appearance after their youngsters on a daily basis don't have the means to frequently go to the police or record a courtroom case. 

Usman also blames members of the community for covering up the perpetrators' moves. Spiritual leaders specially are reluctant to educate people approximately the problem. "while [a sexual assault] occurs in our community, people think 'We're all Muslims, this does no ought to cross public'," she says. "It's a shame for our faith and our network.