Emeka Ugwuonye in his post hinted that Female In Nigeria (FIN), a secret group for Nigerian women on Facebook did not give Chacha who has been presumed dead the necessary protection she needed. He said the platform encourages women to vent their darkest secrets yet fails to provide adequate security to protect this disclosure.
Read his article which he posted on The Due Process Advocates On Facebook…
“FIN AND CHACHA-TYPE CASES: THE LESSONS I LEARNED
I am sure that this post would be misunderstood by some people. I have avoided making it till tonight. But I feel there are deep lessons to learn from Chacha’s case and the FIN experience.
As a disclaimer I must make, this is not a criticism of FIN. There are many highly educated women who have found solace in FIN. I would not like to do anything to disturb the comfort that FIN has provided them. Secondly, I have been a keen supporter of women and causes such as the pursuit of the equality of the genders. Therefore, I would be the last person to say anything other than an expression of support for women and and advocates for the causes of women.
I never heard of FIN until I I got involved in the Chacha’s case. One of my female friends, a brilliant PhD holder based in the US and a fierce advocate of female causes once mentioned FIN but not by name. She told me of a group that had more than 100,000 women and how their members could benefit from my intellection on family law based on equal protection of the law for husband and wife. But that was it.
On getting involved in the Chacha case, FIN became the most constant or most recurrent concept for the first five days of my work into the case. The ladies that contacted me to initiate my involvement in the case were FIN members. The initial materials these ladies forwarded to me to read were Chacha’s publications in FIN. In those publications, Chacha detailed every aspect of her marital life, including her relationships and a pregnancy from a boyfriend. Indeed, on one such extraordinary disclosure on FIN, Chacha wrote that for the first time in 26 years of marriage, she finally enjoyed sex with a boyfriend. And she went to describe a new relationship with a boyfriend, 10 years younger. When she got pregnant from the young man, she also shared the news among the friends she mad in FIN.
FIN was thus a place where women felt free to say all their thoughts and grievances about the men in their lives. The most popular stories told by women in FIN was usually about sad tales of men who maltreated them, abused them and cheated on them. FIN was a place to vent. It was good and nice and it gave relief that has been too hard to come from other sources. It was a land of escape, where a woman could finally be free to say her mind about men without any fears of repercussions.
But there was some other truths about FIN that was not immediately apparent. First, it created the impression that it was a place for women only – that the men they disparaged routinely were kept away from FIN and that those men were not aware of what is being said about them in their back. That was the first illusion. Nothing is hidden on Facebook. The men that were disparaged heard every word of disparagement written in FIN. It was simple. When you are in FIN attacking your husband for cheating on you, the woman he is cheating with is also in FIN and dutifully reporting back to your husband everything you wrote. So, FIN was never a women-only group. The men you attacked were also there silently observing and getting quite angry with you.
A second illusion about FIN is that apart from providing you a place to vent, FIN has no mechanism to redress the injustices disclosed or the complaints expressed in FIN. Take for instance, Chacha: she told countless tales of her suffering. Yet, there was never any moment that FIN offered her any solution. The absence of any solution left her with no option than to repeat countless times the same stories. The only thing she got was sympathies from fellow women in FIN. The danger was too obvious. Chacha’s story was however making some people very very angry. Her story in places like FIN fueled anger and determination to silence her because if left to continue, she would damage reputations and future political ambitions irremediably.
This is one point where I will spot a difference between FIN and DPA. In DPA, we actually started off as a justice intervention group. It means that we are not interested in your story as such. We are interested in the solution to your story. DPA does not allow members to come to its wall and rail and complain against husbands. On the contrary, your story first comes to DPA by private inbox messages. We can only share some of the stories where there is need to share it and where the person that brought the story wants to shared. For instance, women come to us in DPA with complaints in their marriages. Some are victims of domestic violence. Some are victims of other marital abuses. Some have had enough and wanted out by way of divorce. Some just want you to stop him from beating her, etc. We discretely study the each person’s complaint and we proffer a professional solution that is suitable for you.
The fact is that the women who have suffered terrible relationship or marital experiences need solutions especially when, like in the case of Chacha, it is an ongoing problem. We often recognize that the situations of these women could get worse if their husbands were to know what they told us. For instance, you can’t directly confront a man with his wife’s complaint that he is lousy in bed or that he is lazy. That will infuriate the man and cause immediate crisis in the home. We survey professionally the dynamics in each given family and through that, we are able to manage the conflicts raised in a complaint. FIN does not have such mechanism. It is so easy for problems to emanate from stories told in FIN, and FIN is not able to address such problem.
All these observations played out in Chacha’s case. I have the feeling that if Chacha had continued to tell her stories to one individual at a time, and without a platform like FIN, she might have been alive today. Maybe nobody would have been so pissed off with her as to want to kill her.
I am sure that FIN management has learned a lesson from Chacha’s experience. Do not encourage people to grieve so dramatically and openly unless you have some way of redressing the grievance raised. Many women would get into a worsened problem if they use a plat form like FIN to disparange their faltering husbands without any means of finding solutions to the complaint they raise.
My argument in this post only seeks for FIN to get better and build up the capacity it presently lacks. That is how it could become more complete. Otherwise, FIN remains a great potential for women in Nigeria.”
Please stay tuned for my deevanalysis on this topic.
UPDATE: To read the deevanalysis, click HERE