Dakar — Since Friday, women have come out with more allegations against pastors, but have also taken the movement beyond the church
A rape accusation against a popular pastor in Nigeria has prompted a new #MeToo movement on social media with women sharing stories of sexual assault and calling for justice.
Photographer Busola Dakolo, the wife of a popular Nigerian singer, said in an interview on local television on Friday that pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, the head of a large church in Abuja, had raped her when she was a teenager.
The story caught the public attention and people responded with outrage on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #MeToo, #ChurchToo and #SayNoToRape, in what activists said could be the start of Nigeria's first major movement against sex abuse.
All that #Nigerians are saying today and henceforth is; end rape. Rapist must face justice. #SayNoToRape #ChurchMeToo #MeToo #ChurchToo #ProtestIsAHumanRight pic.twitter.com/TCGeaK2Yka
- Amnesty Int. Nigeria (@AmnestyNigeria) June 30, 2019
Hundreds of people protested on Sunday in major cities Abuja and Lagos. Dakolo's husband, Timi Dakolo, posted an image on Instagram saying protests were planned for seven days.
"People were already angry that the government was not taking the issue of violence against women and girls seriously," said Osai Ojigho, country director for human rights group Amnesty International.
"So when Busola's story broke out, people were like you know what, enough is enough.
"This needs to stop. I think it's been building up. It's about time," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The #MeToo movement began in the United States in late 2017 in response to accusations of sexual assault and harassment in the entertainment industry. It has since spread to other countries, though there has been little pick-up in Africa.
Nigeria had a small movement earlier this year in the mostly Muslim north to expose sexual abuse with the hashtag #ArewaMeToo, but it did not spread widely, said Ojigho.
Public frustration had grown with several incidents since last year, including reports that Nigerian soldiers had raped women fleeing violence in the north, and that police had sexually assaulted women in Abuja nightclub raids, she said.
Since Friday, women have come out with more allegations against pastors, but have also taken the movement beyond the church, she said.
"For the first time women are pushing issues to the forefront that are getting a lot of media attention," she said.
"The challenge is to make sure it goes beyond that."
Fatoyimbo, pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) church in Abuja, denied Dakolo's allegations in a statement on Instagram, but said he would be taking a leave of absence from the church.
He and Dakolo could not be reached for comment.
Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, has a poor record on women's rights and one of the lowest rates of female politicians in the world.
(Reporting by Nellie Peyton, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Read the original article on Thomson Reuters Foundation.
COZA - What's Busola's Motive for Speaking Out?, Oboli Asks
Coza - Buhari's Aide Urges Police to Investigate Fatoyinbo
AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 150 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.
Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.
AllAfrica is a voice of, by and about Africa - aggregating, producing and distributing 600 news and information items daily from over 150 African news organizations and our own reporters to an African and global public. We operate from Cape Town, Dakar, Abuja, Monrovia, Nairobi and Washington DC.