7 Nigerian Women Talk Being Denied Access To Public Spaces

November 9, 2020

Being a woman is already hard enough. We have to deal with harassment, unrealistic societal expectations, fear of getting raped and murdered for rejecting romantic advance, and the list goes on. Now, reports are, women are getting denied entry to certain spaces without a male chaperon because they are perceived as prostitutes. I spoke to some women about their personal experience and this is what they had to say.

1. Rose

I went to deliver a cake to a client at Stone Cafe in Ibadan. They refused me entry so I thought it had something to do with my shorts, T-shirt, and slippers. I tried to reason with them that the celebrant asked me to come in with the cake (that I was holding) but they ignored me. That was how I called the celebrant to come outside. She tried to beg them that the cake was too heavy for her and she didn’t want to have to carry it. When they refused, she stepped out to get the cake and when she tried to get in, they refused her entry. They asked her to call the man she came with before they let her in again. Omo.

2. Jewel

I went to rooftop bar at Eko hotel with my best friend. As we were walking to the elevator, one of their employees blocked us and asked us where we were going. When we told him, he asked who we were going to meet there, we said we just wanted to get drinks. He then inquired if we were staying at the hotel. The interrogation was getting confusing until we saw a man walking past us without getting blocked then we got the memo. The employee let us go eventually but we were too disgusted so we just left.

3. Oyin

Last December, a group of friends and I went to Switch Lounge in Ibadan for some drinks. We got barred because they do not let women into their establishment without at least one man with them. We were shocked because we had come there a couple of times without issues but what we didn’t realise was that we were only granted access in previous times because we came in with men. They excused their policy saying prostitutes frequent there as a means of getting clients and they wanted to curb it. I haven’t been there since then.

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4. Mercy

In 2019, I went to moist beach and the bouncers prevented us from going in because we had no male company. He asked if we came alone and we said “yes” and he told us that he had to been instructed to not let women in without a male companion. It was so embarrassing because I kept thinking is it not my money I am coming to spend? What does this have to do with a man? Luckily, I saw a male friend there who confronted them before they let us in.

5. Queen

I and my girl planned a night outing and our first stop was Velvett Lounge VI but they denied us access. Apparently, you have to either reserve a table before time, come with a man, or be a regular customer (but how am I supposed to be a regular in a club please?). We left Velvett and went to Sip (Zenbar), where we were still denied access that we can’t enter without a man. We finally just went home cause we couldn’t deal.

6. Thema

I made a reservation at the Office Bar in Sheraton February this year to celebrate my birthday. I invited my girlfriends but when I got there, I was denied access by the security for about 20 minutes until the manager came and confirmed my reservation. When I asked why, the manager said most times, girls come and take up seats, not pay for drinks and harass their male customers. How come men harass women in public spaces all the time yet are never denied access to these spaces? I never set foot there again.

7. Amaka

When Velvett used to be a restaurant, my friends and I would go there to wait out the traffic. When they became a club, a few friends and I decided to go there one night and we were denied access. It really pained me cause I used to spend my money there at least 3 times a week and now, they are acting brand new.

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