On February 3, Khadijah Adamu, a 24-year-old pharmacist in the northern Nigerian city of Kano, told her Twitter followers about a harrowing case of physical abuse, detailing claims of how an ex-boyfriend almost killed her.
“It was a burden that I was carrying around for two years,” Adamu told Al Jazeera. “Talking to people didn’t work, praying didn’t work, nothing worked, and to make matters worse my abuser refused to leave me alone.”
Fakhriyyah Hashim, an entrepreneur and development worker in the Nigerian capital Abuja, noticed Adamu’s tweet and replied with empathy, adding the hashtag #ArewaMeToo.
Arewa is the general term used to refer to northern Nigeria, which has a majority Muslim population and a conservative society where issues surrounding sex and sexuality are rarely discussed in public.
Soon, young women and men from the north started sharing experiences of rape and abuse on Twitter, using the hashtag.
Some tweets even named the alleged abusers.
Drawing on the success of the global #MeToo movement, which started in late 2017, the project’s founders hope to break down cultural, economic, social and institutional barriers, which stand in the way of addressing sexual abuse and harassment.
“We don’t talk about sex because we have this perception that we are a morally upright society,” says Hashim, who leads the #ArewaMeToo movement.
“We want to be angry, but we don’t want to show it. We don’t want to come up with objective resolutions on how to approach a lot of these problems.” (Aljazeera)