How Najibu’s Attitude to the Fair Sex Turned Full Circle
Najibu, real name Najib Abbas, is a 25-year old final year student of Agricultural Economics and Extension at Bayero University Kano, who plans to go into Agric. business later in life. The first in a family of six children, Najibu grew up believing females were not worthy of male respect. But then he encountered Safe Spaces recently, after which his life and view of members of the female sex turned full circle.
“Before my encounter with Safe Spaces I was a normal guy in the sense of the Nigerian society where there are gender stereotypes and biases against the female sex. I was proud, and never allowed females to take decisions where I was; I never could abide by decisions taken by females. If a female did something I didn’t like, I simply insulted her. If she was lucky, I took a walk.
“Normally, I only made friends with males and was generally very aggressive. To females, I was usually verbally violent, and had no regrets about it.
“I heard of Safe Spaces from a friend called Mohammed. I enrolled more out of curiosity than genuine interest in getting anything out of it. However, since I enrolled and went through the Safe Spaces training, my life has never been the same.
“One of the activities I experienced in Safe Spaces that changed my attitude and those of my friends towards gender equality in the society was Johari Window and the Portrait. Also, discussions on violence—types of violence and violent approaches—and the one entitled Think Like a Woman, Act Like a Man and vice versa, were transforming. The experience enabled me to know the duties of a woman, and the duties of a man. I got enlightened on the need to be polite rather than violent to a woman. I got to know a bit about how women think and behave. Now, I can discuss issues with a female one-on-one.
“Johari Window enabled me to know more about myself with regard to hidden character, abilities, openness, etc. It also enabled me to know a little more about the opposite sex.
“Whereas I used to make friends only with males, now I will make more friends across gender. I shall be lively, less violent and less imposing on females. I shall treat females as equals and will be less aggressive towards them. Generally, Safe Spaces has taught me to interact better.”