Rape and prejudice are issues that often get shoved under the rug by our society.
Mac-Jane Chukwu, a graduate student from Lagos, Nigeria, studying international relations, is the author of two books that focus on these topics that people often hesitate to speak about.
Chukwu authored “Open Secrets,” which focuses on diminishing the stigma of people with HIV, and “My Father’s Girlfriend,” which is Chukwu’s way of starting a movement to help get women off the streets.
“Open Secrets” is a work that Chukwu said that she never intended to publish, but wrote only because of how much she enjoys writing.
She said that she wrote it in her first year of college. The book centers on the many issues that high school students endure every day, including friends, family and enemies.
Specifically, it highlights a student who is assumed to have been infected with HIV by his peers based on his appearance and is shunned for his condition.
Chukwu compared it to the cliché of assuming a woman who vomits to be automatically pregnant.
“I wanted to bring to light that you shouldn’t jump to conclusions,” she said.
Her most recent work, “My Father’s Girlfriend,” involves family bonding, love, sex and God. Chukwu said that when she started writing, she wanted to write about the relationship that she and her dad share, which inspired the title, but ended up working on what God wanted her to write.
“My Father’s Girlfriend” introduces a Nigerian woman who has been affected by rape and later ends up in the United States. The experiences that she is forced to partake in make her question her faith and its meaning in her life.
Chukwu said that love, friendship and family are things that everyone identifies with.
“Anyone can relate to this book, even though I use Nigerian names, food and culture,” she said.
By introducing the Nigerian culture to others, Chukwu said, she hopes not only to bring awareness to the issues that Nigerians face, but she also wants readers to see how beautiful Nigeria is.
She said that through this book, she hopes to explore her passion of helping women who are forced to live on the streets, either by disownment or other circumstances.
“I’m very passionate about young women and making a difference in the world,” she said. “Being a woman is beautiful.”
Chukwu said that she recognizes the experiences that other women share with her and she wants to bring to light the tragedies that women all over the world have to deal with on a daily basis.
Being from Nigeria, Chukwu said that she asked American students whether they witnessed the abuse of women because they were restricted to the streets.
“Rape is an international phenomenon,” Chukwu said.
“Sometimes you look at the makeup of a woman, but you don’t know what she goes through,” she said. “Don’t just look at the appearance, but look deeper.”
Chukwu said that she wants to go back home one day, maybe even 10 years from now, and see that there are no women suffering on the streets.
“My Father’s Daughter” was launched last week at the International Students Cultural Organization meeting.
Chukwu also had a book signing event on Monday, March 30.
The book is now available on Amazon and at the Barnes and Noble bookstore on campus.