For hundreds of women and girls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants, their ordeal did not end when they escaped or when Nigerian soldiers rescued them and reunited them with their families. Instead of being admired for their bravery, many have become outcasts in their communities, stigmatized due to their perceived association with Boko Haram. Others, who became pregnant after being raped by their captors, have been shamed and are now accused of spawning or seeking to spawn future Boko Haram fighters.
In collaboration with other local and foreign agencies, the Nigerian government is now providing freed women and girls with counseling and medical care, and is encouraging communities to allow the girls to return in peace. Some local authorities, however, still continue to perpetuate the stigma, including the governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, who has publically warned that these pregnant women and girls could breed a new generation of terrorists, stating that "They [the unborn children] could indeed inherit their father's ideology somehow." He is now advocating for a special mentoring program for these mother-to-be to insure that they do not give birth to "future insurgents".
Source: IRIN 9/1/2015
Contributed by Virginia DeLancey
Mailing address: Friends of Nigeria, c/o Warren Keller, PO Box 8032, Berkeley, CA 94707