April 14th, 2017 officially marked the three-year anniversary of the day 276 Chibok girls were kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram. It has been 1095 days since almost 300 girls were taken from their home--punishment for daring to seek an education while female--and yet the media has barely spoken about this since it happened. Yet in spite of this radio silence, these Chibok families continue to pray for their girls’ safe return.
These girls have had their childhoods taken from them. They have suffered untold abuse at the hands of their captors, in some cases have even becoming pregnant as a result of the rape and sexual assault they have endured. And for most of them, the nightmare is far from over: out of the 276 girls kidnapped, 21 were released and 57 were able to escape, leaving 198 innocent schoolgirls still in captivity. The 21 girls who were released regained their freedom due to a deal between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government, although the finalized details of the deal are still unknown to the public. Boko Haram’s influence is strongest in Chibok, Nigeria, and they have also claimed responsibility for a number of other attacks--among them suicide bombings, mass killings, and other kidnappings.
If such a crisis took place in America, all forms of media would immediately mobilize to help bring our girls home. But because the girls held captive by Boko Haram are in Nigeria, #BringBackOurGirls only had the privilege of being the political flavor of the week. At the beginning, celebrities and politicians clamored to provide their support--but now that the kidnapping has faded from memory, little effort has been made to help in recent months. In the meantime, Boko Haram continues to terrorize parts of Nigeria while escaping notice from mainstream Western media, and to this day the US government has refrained from getting involved.
Until the girls are safely returned home, people will continue fighting and praying for their rescue--and so can you, by spreading the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. Go to a march, spread the word, write your representatives and the White House, and keep the conversation moving forward.
The lives of 198 girls hang in the balance.