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Bruised but not broken: Dabira women conference breaks the silence on pain, Trauma


The annual Dabira Women Conference held over the weekend in Lagos, drawing women and men from all walks of life for a life-changing explosive session. Aptly titled: “Bruised but not broken,” the conference which is in its seventh year fielded two different panels who spoke on Breaking The Silence in both men and women. The first all-male panel, made up of Praise Fowowe, Femi Jacobs, Pita Linus and Adewale Aladejana spoke candidly on experiencing pain, rejection, struggles but learning and building from the experience.

Praise said everyone he has admired has built their empire from a place of pain.“Relationships are the currency of life and they sometimes come with pain. Pain is nature’s/life’s way of teaching you lessons you need to harness from. If you want to be successful, most times, you’ll experience pain. When you’re experiencing something difficult, stay in one spot and allow pain teach you what you need to know.”

Femi Jacobs told the audience that everything we do as individuals is usually as a reaction from unresolved trauma/pain from the past that wasn’t dealt with. “You need to meet yourself, the demonised version of you before you meet someone else. Do you know your traumas; do you know where they’re located? If you don’t deal with your trauma/pain, you’re going to inflict pain on others unknowingly. When you identify and deal with your traumas, you’ll be less likely to inflict pain on your partner.”

Aladejana spoke on fighting temptation when in a committed relationship, saying people have to make a dedicated effort as easy access to technology and people makes this harder.

The second all women panel which brought tears to many eyes talked at length on domestic violence, suicide and giving yourself second chance. Made up of Anthonia Ojenagbon, an emotional intelligence coach, Banke Sotomi, a behavioural change expert and transformational life coach and Elyshia Brooks, a branding expert from the USA, they didn’t hold back in telling their life stories of their sexual assault, teenage pregnancy and failed marriages and how they rose from the ashes.

Ojenagbon revealed that her uncle molested her when she was younger, causing psychological problems for her later on when she got married. She advised the women to be careful as there were many dangerous men out to exploit them but, “there are still good, God-fearing guys out there, stop settling. To all survivors, there is life after abuse. Women, be shameless, don’t allow the world use shame to keep you silent and prevent you from speaking your truth.”

Sotomi shared her story about getting pregnant at 19 and 25 but didn’t let that deter her. She also talked about losing her husband and her life going off-track but managing to get back on track.

Brooks, who was was very candid about marital abuse she faced in her first two marriages told the women gathered that, “When you’re in a bad space and don’t love and care for yourself, you might attract the wrong people to you and you find yourself keep making the wrong decisions.”At the end, the panelists held breakout one- on-one sessions with the women. The convener of the conference, Lara Odebiyi, said she was happy to inspire more women and give them a safe space to express themselves, learn from each other and gain healing from trauma.


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