Education is a luxury that many of us in the States take for granted. Yet, there are men, women, and children all over the world losing their lives and being kidnapped for this very thing. This week I learned that 276 young Nigerian girls were forcefully kidnapped from their boarding schools in the middle of the night and completely vanished without a trace.
Their fate? They would be sold as the wives of militant men (which is a nicer way of saying they’ll become sexual slaves) for as little as $12. The men who kidnapped them are a part of an extremist Muslim group called Boko Haram which can be translated to mean “Western education is a sin.” These girls had hopes and dreams of becoming teachers, doctors, and lawyers and now their fate is unknown. Far too many women on an international scale are denied the right to an education based on their gender. The harsh crimes that they must endure are becoming more prevalent in the news including the gunshot wound that almost took the life of Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan and the acid that was thrown in the faces of young schoolgirls in Afghanistan.
The Nigerian government is doing very little to find these young women and bring them home, which leaves it up to us to raise awareness about the cause and do something about it.
Despite the lack of news coverage on this issue, I am amazed by the power of social media which is actually where I first learned about this violation. Through the extensive use of photos, hashtags, and protests the issue is gradually coming to the forefront and receiving the national attention we all know it deserves. With the notoriety it’s receiving on social platforms we all should hope that the United Nations and our very own US government will begin to take extreme action. Sometimes, proximity plays a huge role in how we address issues, especially when something is going on far away from us. A lot of people develop the Out of Sight, Out of Mind mentality and we forget about our brothers and sisters abroad who need us to stand up for them.
#BringBackOurGirls is evolving into a life-changing movement that addresses issues that have been ignored for too long. Young women throughout the world want to be able to go to school and become professionals in their community yet they are faced with adversity including abuse and neglect by family and friends. Simultaneously young women are being kidnapped and trafficked into sexual slavery each day.
I believe it’s my duty to bring this issue to the forefront and raise awareness. Let’s start the conversation and #BringBackOurGirls.