So yesterday, for the first time ever I broke one of my golden rules. I got down from my car after being hit from behind, something I never do.
Regardless of bumps, hits or scratches, I keep a straight face, tell the driver not to stop and examine the damage only when I get to my destination.
Nothing and I mean, nothing, justifies me stepping our of my car in crazy Lagos to argue who is right or wrong, knowing that 99% of cases will end up meaningless and a complete waste of time and energy.
But yesterday was different. I got down.
It could have easily been my usual style of not stopping but when I rolled down to gesture to the driver of the other car to be mindful of his driving, I got the shock of my life…he started blaming my driver for not letting him turn. How in this life, does someone on a straight road respond to the signalling of a driver behind him? I couldn’t believe my ears.
It was one of those times where you feel you are being tested and you decide to take the test!
Coupled with the fact that It was the first day out with the car since it’s full body bake by the painters. This was truly a test!
So, in good old Lagos style, we moved off the main street and turned into the side street to settle scores.
It was then I saw the magnitude of what I thought was a bump. My black car stained and scratched with red paint from the back bumper all the way to the front.
And instead of an apology, what we got was a bad attitude and blame. I knew he was trying to intimidate me, to see if I woud back off in frustration as he reeled his false story of my driver not making way for him. While I tried to make him see reason, he started getting disrespectful.
In all of this, it didn’t take long for the notorious area boys to gather. One started prompting the hitter to pay them so that they can ‘scatter’ the place.
Luckily, the scene was 15 mins from my house, so I called my husband, who happened to be home thank God.
The place was rowdy, the commentators and advisors gathered. Each with their own solution. From ‘madam clear road’ to ‘mummy no vex’ to ‘forgive him’, to chasing off this guy who insisted on cleaning the scratch off with brake fluid there and then, I waited.
When my husband arrived, the hitters tone changed. For someone, who was rude and accusatory, he now spoke in hush tones. All of a sudden he was apologising. He saw my husband and suddenly his voice disappeared.
When, we got home, my husband confirmed what I didn’t want to say. It’s a sad fact and I knew it.
Totally sexist, unequal society that intimidates women into submission.
In progressive countries they are fighting for equality, I don’t believe we have even started our battles in Nigeria.
My mind went to all the other occasions that I have experienced gender discrimination and harassment in the workplace. As for salary inequity, I won’t even go there.
In Nigeria, if you are a single woman you don’t need money because one boyfriend or sugar daddy should be providing for you and if you are married, no doubt your husband needs the money more than you do. Don’t tell me you didn’t know that?
Then the saddest part of it all; the women who make it a point of duty to drag other women down. The ones with the smirk on their face that are the first to remind you not to stand up for your rights because you are a woman. The annoying ones that are so soaked in ignorance that cannot be redeemed.
To those women, please stay very far away from me and other women. You can have your beliefs and you can curtail your voice, dreams and aspirations but please, please, restrict it to yourself.
Do not dictate to another woman what is and what is not womanly and what she should stand up for and what she should not.
And to all the women doing their very best to be themselves, to speak their truth and live their dreams, keep pressing on, you are the real MVP!
Please what’s our agenda for International Women’s week?