This is for Mama Ifeatu, forced into her husband’s house three moons after she bled, with a sack of clothes and a flat chest.
This is for Aunty Chinelo, raped on her Papa’s farmland and beaten up because she pointed an accusing finger at Chief Fidelis.
For the child she bore painfully through a half formed cervix, nine months after, for being forced to be “aunty” to Chikamara her daughter.
This is for Amara, taught to close her legs and mouth in the midst of men.
For her sisters taught that kitchen duties were the highest form of education they could attain.
This is for the women, dropping endless petition envelopes at the altar, praying for a husband or a child because we are programmed to see them as incomplete or less without either.
This is for Uju, repeating 300 level at Uni because she didn’t let Prof touch her in between her legs.
This is for Mary, groped inside a danfo because she couldn’t afford an Uber.
This is for Nne’m ochie, called a witch and had her hair shaven when her husband died before the Biafran war started and she refused Umunna access to her daughters’ inheritance
This is for Professor Ada Nwagu, angry and sad and hurt because her colleagues didn’t believe in making an ordinary woman the Head of Department.
This is for Kosi, lying in a hotel room, feeling empty as Alhaji masturbates inside her. For the brothers she has to send to school, for her mother sick with arthritis.
This is for Sister Chikodi, smiling through bruises layered with heavy makeup and a limp in her step during Sunday service, too afraid to be seen as imperfect or judged as a bad wife.
This is for all women, taught to be seen as different or other by their mother’s mother,
for all the women advised not to shake off the shackles holding them down,
for all the women made into breeding machines, pushing babies forth when Nnanyi felt his scrotum swell and his loins itch
for the women tongue lashed for speaking up,
for all the eccentric women called prostitutes or wild or not-marriage-worthy for being themselves
for women exploring their sexuality
for women who choose to be who they want to be.
This is for all divine feminine energy
For our mother’s mothers and her daughter’s daughters