Ms Mohamed, the only woman to have opened a law firm in the northwestern Nigerian states of Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara, is known for her aggressive pursuit of rapists and children who have sex with children, although such cases are considered extremely difficult. I spoke to the UN before International Women’s Day Which is marked annually on March 8th.
“I’ve always been excited to speak up on behalf of the less fortunate, even when I was in high school. I’ve seen many cases of gender-based violence, but not many people oppose it, and the reason most victims don’t talk about what happened is that they don’t feel they are They have support.If they report the issue, they feel that no one is interested in them.
In 2018, I decided to open my own law firm, to advocate for women and children and to provide free legal services to the less fortunate and vulnerable. I saw that there was never a female-run company in this part of the country and I thought, Well, whatever a man can do, a woman can also do it, and do it better!
I have faced a lot of harassment and intimidation over the past two years, but I would say that my gender has been a source of strength in general when working with survivors of gender-based violence: Victims prefer talking to a woman more than a man, and they can speak with a woman. More easily for a lawyer. In order to encourage others to speak out against violence or child abuse, I visit them regularly and treat them as part of my family.
The case I’m proud of is one involving a sexual assault of a four-year-old girl. Its alleged attacker was a tough, well-connected man who had one of Sokoto’s best lawyers. I was frightened by the stories I heard about the man. My colleagues were calling me saying, “Rasheedat, what’s wrong? Why don’t you backtrack on this case? My daughter even asked me to drop the case, but I said, if I die fighting for justice, I won’t feel any regrets.”
In the end, I decided to contact as many journalists as possible to tell them about the case: When they realized that the media was involved, the authorities had no choice but to do the right thing, and the case was transferred to the state. Criminal Investigation Department to investigate.
The accused is now in prison while the Ministry of Justice is reviewing his case. I am proud of this case because people believed that what I did was not possible, and that this man could never be prosecuted. But I did.
I want my children to see Nigeria where women’s voices are heard, and even children are able to speak for themselves. I want my children to grow up in Nigeria where women and men are given equal opportunities, equal access to education, job opportunities, and political and economic opportunities.
We’ve been talking about gender-based violence, but now is the time to act. If you see something, say something. Let’s stop stigmatizing the victims of violence. “
Rashed Mohammed was talking to Spotlight Initiative An initiative by the United Nations and the European Union to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
- The United Nations says that gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a world of peace, prosperity and sustainability.
- One of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 5 On gender equality aims to end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
- The importance of protecting women’s rights was highlighted during Covid-19 Pandemic with a global increase in reporting of domestic and gender-based violence.