The Nigerian terrorist rebel group Boko Haram may have found their perfect “prisoner” in the 23-year-old pop singer Adokiye Kyrian, but will her virginity be taken by them? Would she, in fact, be forced to engage in sexual relations with “10 to 12 men every night?”
What would capture the attention of a kidnapper more than a beautiful woman offering herself in exchange for the release of prisoners? Boko Haram would have to be crazy to turn her down, right? however both sides – Boko Haram and the girl – must think like a strategist for a moment.
The background behind the singer’s recent proclamation is as follows: A celebrity-endorsed social media campaign, #BringBackOurGirls, has drawn international attention, and has garnered the support of U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, among many others. Ms. Kyrian has also been behind the endorsement, which fits with her role as a U.N. Ambassador of Peace.
Ms. Kyrian’s exact offer, as reported in Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper, was to offer herself in exchange for the nearly 300 girls. She said that even if 10 to 12 men take her every night, she will not care, as long as the missing girls are safely released to go home to their parents. Some of her fans have called her statement courageous and have branded her as a hero.
For the benefit of the girls, Adokiye Kyrian says that they are only 12 to 15 years old and this is why she is offering herself in exchange. One might wonder if her outrageous proposal is authentic? Is it a desperate attempt to save the girls? Is it a publicity stunt, geared towards generating more traffic towards her website and increasing her ratings?
An even deeper level question might be asked: How does such an offer prevent violence against women from happening again? If Boko Haram were to engage with Ms. Kyrian, how would the world know that her proposition “worked?” Also, if Boko Haram were to accept her offer, who would benefit? Who would rescue the victims?
If Boko Haram did take the singer’s virginity, the victims would be not only the 300 girls kidnapped two months ago from the Christian northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok, they may also have the guilt of knowing the singer sacrificed herself for them. Whether or not the singer survived, the group of victims would include Ms. Kyrian herself. And, now that she has placed herself in the public eye, what would stop the terrorist organization from targeting her without safely returning the girls in exchange?
The main question here is what does such an offer teach the world about women, respect and power? How does a terrorist organization such as Boko Haram taking a female singer’s virginity represent the woman’s position of power? Can one’s sexuality be a point of negotiation with a group of violent thugs? Females of all ages have been the currency for bargaining without being accorded their own voice, since the beginning of time. With violence against women at an all-time high, is an offer of sex really a radical act?
Opinion by Fern Remedi-Brown
Fern Remedi-Brown writes on global social justice issues (human rights, LGBT, health care and education access, immigration, refugees, Nazi Holocaust) for Guardian Liberty Voice.
Previous articles published by the author on issues of justice in African nations and on Islam:
Uganda Newspaper Identifies Gays
Uganda and South Africa History of Freedom Compared
Uganda Vice President Challenges President in Anti-Gay Law
Ethiopia Anti-Gay Bill Expected to Pass Next Week
Rwanda Genocide Still Traumatic for Mothers at 20 Years
Rwanda Genocide Looks at Allies and Bystanders at 20 Year Anniversary
Libya Interim Prime Minister Steps Down Under Violent Threat
Islam Unveiled for Jews and Christians
Uganda Latest on Anti-Gay Law