Chibok, Nigeria, schoolgirls kidnapping
Ms GRALEY (Narre Warren South) — It is just over two years since terrorists tore through the village of Chibok, Nigeria, and ripped more than 200 schoolgirls from their community in a violent rampage that shocked the world, launching the viral campaign #bringbackourgirls.
Recently mothers, sisters, friends and aunties of the captive girls rallied in the streets to again bring to the world’s attention that their girls are still missing.
We know what that means — their girls are being raped and bashed, forced into marriage and conversion to Islam, even used to carry or detonate bombs; also, in a horrifying act of misogyny, used as a recruiting tool to attract young men to join Boko Haram.
We also know that when women escape or are rescued they are shunned by their families on return. They are often carrying children after being raped, or their families believe they may have been radicalised while in captivity. There is often no happy ending. Some girls are so overcome with trauma and depression that they are averse to receiving help from anyone. There are reports of Stockholm syndrome.
The Nigerian government claims to have almost defeated the ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram, so I ask: where are the girls? Why are they not where they should be, with their families in their village and back in the schoolroom? We know that Islamic militants do not like girls getting an education.
As Malala Yousafzai said:
Let us remember: one book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.
On the cusp of Mother’s Day I ask all of us to raise our voices, send our prayers and ask the Australian government and all governments to do more.
I cannot help but ask myself whether, if those 200 girls had been Australian or American, or boys, more than a social media campaign would have been launched to secure their freedom.
It represents the world’s failure to stand up to terrorism and stand for our civilisation.