LEGAL IDEAS FORUM

The Girl Child:An overview By Evidence Osaro

The Girl Child is of the female gender. In umpteenth time, she encounters various social violence targeted at reducing her personality and to render her undignifying on the basis of sex. Invariably she suffers from all of these because she has been made an object, owing to the fact that she is constantly addressed as a ‘weaker vessel’ by the society she found herself. This is far rather a bemoaning experience, particularly in Africa.
Futhermore, in ancient times and  mostly African societies as it is also practice today, it is widely accepted that the girl child was only befitting or good for marriage and she should be seen as such, for some undefinable reasons which are predicated on some archaic cultural practices. Hence, the girl child should get married early and should be forcefully made to learn basic things from her parent’s house,in preparation for her own future home. Consequently, she was deprived of formal education, reason being that, of what use was her education when her dream and her existence is to end up in the kitchen? So it was considered an abysmal for her to be bereft on  domestic engagements, like maintenance and management.
In most cases she is put to scorn, for not simply getting things right. Also, she is taught that a woman must respect a man because she lives in a ‘man’s world’. Little wonder then, boys who are often from the male gender are treated with so much preferences, as they are given education on a platter of gold. Flowing from this, the girl child is deprived even parental inheritance, either in property or some rights on the ground that it is exclusively for  boys albeit she is a biological offspring, whether she was the first child or not,it doesn’t matter. It was believed that bequeathing a girl child with properties was irrelevant and unnecessary seeing that she would get married and then bear the husband’s name. But was that really reason enough to not bequeath any property to the girl child? Even the Bible says in Numbers 27:7  “The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father’s brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them “. Thus,even in ancient Israel, inheritance was only meant for the male child,these girls had to come before Moses who was their judge,so as to make judgement on the issue of inheriting their father’s property, this would not have been so if they were boys.
Thankfully, our society is constantly evolving or advancing as some enlightenment has been done, and some legally effected changes have occurred as to how the girl child deserve to be treated, some of these social despicable practices against the girl child has been abrogated and gone into oblivion. The girl child is no longer deprived of education, except in some uncivilized communities and places  that still have the gruesome belief that the education of girls is unnecessary and irrelevant.
A study by researchers which was published in the British Medical Association’s Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry; reviewed on Mail Online, showed that women or the female gender was more intelligent than men or the male gender. The study also showed that the reason for the difference in their intelligence is not social but biological. However it is important to note that, this could be the reason why girls now do better at school than boys. From this study,it can be lucidly seen that the girl child is biologically and naturally qualified to be educated and should not be deprived of it, inasmuch as the male child is also intelligent and entitled to education. Admittedly, in highlighting this study it is not to compare or exalt one gender above the other but to point out the cruelty of depriving a child,the girl child to be precise,of education. It is cruel,in the sense that this child is being denied the freedom to carry out or experience what she is biologically built for. For instance,a writer,a prominent one precisely,is banned from writing for an unreasonable reason, would that not be cruel and inhumane? That is little compared to how cruel depriving a girl child of education is. Although, times have changed and the discrimination of the girl child has lessened,there is still a massive prevalence of discrimination and it will continue to exist until something drastic is deliberately done about it. One of the most dreadful social problem the girl child face in recent time is rape. 
Nowadays,there are various rape cases involving girls who are 5years old and above and sadly even below 5years. It is sad to note that most of these rapists are related to their victims. It was once reported that a 43-year-old bus conductor, Ikechukwu Ekenta, had been arrested for allegedly defiling his four-year-old daughter at their residence in the 3-3 area of Onitsha, Anambra State. What is the society turning into? How can a father rape his own daughter? Isn’t that inhumane and gruesome? If a male can rape a girl child who he is related to, would other grievous crimes other than rape,prick his conscience or be difficult for him to do? Inasmuch as these barbaric acts mostly affect the girl child mentally, physically and socially,we should take cognizance of the fact that a rapist is liable to do far more worse deeds that will not only affect girls but the society at large. So, it would be best to deal with the issue of rape before rapists upgrade to higher crimes.
Going further, the girl child is a member of the society and what affects one, affects all and this is the plain truth. Although, it might not directly affect everyone seeing as the victim of rape may not be related to some folks but as Martin Luther King JR said ” Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly “. So,what directly affects the girl child, indirectly affects the society at large.
Again,Travis Kalanick stated ” Every problem has a solution. You just have to be creative enough to find it “. So, seeing as it is lucid that this is a problem staring at us with bloody gruesome eyes, there is definitely a solution.
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO THESE PROBLEMS?
Firstly, the mindset of the people should undergo metamorphosis. It is largely believed that a male child is more important and useful so as to say,in the sense that he helps in continuing the lineage and family name,while the girl child drops her surname and picks up the name of her husband. But that is changing,as some women now bear their surname alongside the name of their husbands. The belief and mindset that the girl child is only good for the maintenance of her home while the boys are to hustle and make money for their homes should be erased and eradicated. Both gender are to do both home maintenance and make money too,there should be no exalting of one gender above the other unless in the case of marriage,then the male becomes the head of the home but that doesn’t give him the right to engage in domestic violence and abuse his wife.
Secondly,there should be enlightenment on the punishment for rape,which is life imprisonment. By the way, rape is a crime and not a punishment,so victims are not to be blamed by pointing out that they dress provocatively etc. How provocative could a four-year old child dress that would warrant rape?  Enlightenment should be made on the punishment for rape on media and rape victims should be comforted by their families because rape traumatizes the victims. Victims of rape should be hospitalized immediately after the incidence occurs,so as to get proof of rape against the rapist in order for justice to be served. But the shame of being a victim of rape hinders many from publicly ascertaining that  they were raped,in that case, these numbers could be called : 07013491769, 01-2957816, 08176275732, 08176275695. Or visit Mirabel Centre on Twitter: @MirabelCentreNG and Facebook:www.facebook.com/MirabelNigeria. Reporting a rapist and getting him behind bars would help stop future rape cases which he may orchestrate,from happening. The lives of girls matter and discrimination of this gender should be put an end to. Let something more drastic and productive be done about this, before our society goes into a chaotic state for ” Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
About the author
Evidence Osaro is a law student of Ambrose Ali University, a girl child Advocate and legal scholar.
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For knowledge and Justice

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