Supposed to have published this piece a long time ago – life and its intermissions. And sadly, this issue seems to be ever re-occurring of late – some might say ‘end times’, but what’s evident is the appalling nature of rape. As a blogger, well, I feel I should do my part – though it seems like a pebble against a rock, it might just help someone out there. I had to ask a friend – a Barrister – to give me some heads up on the constitutional view on rape in Nigeria. Well, seems there are some loop-holes – especially since a guy can’t be raped. Yeah, it might be hard to prove, but don’t guys get raped too? #staresinwonderment# We sure have lots of instances I’d say.
It’s so bad the sexual depravity that’s overtaken this decade, one can’t turn anywhere without sex being advertised – worst of all social networks, especially Twitter #noapologies#, morning, afternoon, night, it’s the same theme sex, sex, sex, and of course the variant terms and slangs that depict it. #sighs So why won’t ‘forceful’ sex pop into people’s mind? That aside, going through Nigerian newspapers, Nigerian Vanguard and the likes, the cases of rape keeps piling up. The last one I read was disgusting, a father ‘fingering’ his own (blood) daughter (8 years old) and other disgraceful acts. And I just wonder, being a lady or young woman in this generation can only get worse (I feel). Of course stories abound of this barbaric act and so many ladies are scarred for life because of this, but the annoying thing is the law doesn’t help, at least over here in Nigeria, the punishment isn’t just heavy enough or consistently interpreted to deter others, thus it will keep re-occurring. Also, the tradition of trying to settle things ‘in the family’ [all hushed up] is also a great help to offenders. I had knowledge of a father who did likewise to his daughter repeatedly some years after the demise of the wife and he was discovered, the sons jailed him, although I didn’t follow its conclusion, most likely he was ‘forgiven’ [family resolution]. It sure doesn’t help!!! A rapist, family or not, should face the full wrath of law! It’s as simple as that. Beware of uncles, fathers, neighbours – old and young; mothers keep an eye on your daughter(s) [spread the message].
Got dragged into that, so what is rape exactly – according to my research, thanks to Barrister Yewande Ajayi – rape is the most serious kind of sexual assault and is punishable with life imprisonment [with or without caning], the caning thing being more applicable in the northern part of Nigeria. It is the act of forcing someone through violence or coercion to have sexual intercourse. Rape it should be noted does not relate to just forceful penile penetration, but other body parts or objects. For couples, it might in practice not be called rape but the man may be convicted for assault or wounding. As aforementioned, a woman cannot be guilty of rape because the Criminal Code under section 357 states that the offence can be committed upon a woman or girl. Bad news for raped guys. But it’s an area that should be adjusted. The most important things to prove rape are consent (lack of) though it should be noted that consent obtained by force or under duress isn’t consent (the stories I hear about this), carnal knowledge, and a doctor’s report. And hey! It doesn’t matter if the complainant is a prostitute as long as she can prove rape. And just because she’s your housemaid/help and illiterate doesn’t mean you supposedly ‘educated’ dog have to coerce and rape her.
For me the above raises some issues, amongst which include: ignorance of ladies – when you say ‘NO’ and he still holds you down and manipulates his way in, that’s rape, although some ladies of course send mixed signals; it’s not in all cases that torn clothes or underclothes emerge, for instance, let’s say two adults start to kiss, cuddle, smooch, and then clothes get discarded including underclothes, and then the lady says ‘NO!’, of course it becomes harder to prove rape I guess…well, abrasions and the likes *shrugs*…muddled area really. Now I’m not trying to encouraging sin (as a Christian), but these things do happen, and we’d only be hypocrites if we close our eyes to it and say – ‘it’s their punishment’; also, labelling, people (ladies) are scared of being marked as a ‘raped person’ so would most likely sweep it under the ground and start to hate the Male species, it’s nothing to be shameful about and even if it is, then let justice have its way. Go to the doctor and lodge a report; the police/legal organization in Nigeria doesn’t help a lot, but giving it a trial wouldn’t be a bad thing.
I really haven’t read much about rapists being convicted with maximum punishment, but to deter this overshadowing evil, the legal system has to uphold the law to the fullest and leave prejudices aside. And well, I seem to keep going back to feminists, I love them, lol, this an area they can emphasize and make greater awareness on…I keep saying our feminism lacks lots of basic things, not here to argue though, just an opinion.
Importantly though, for ladies avoid situations and places where rape might grow wings and carrying a pepper spray in your handbag wouldn’t be a bad idea – I know a friend who used to – go buy one! Rape destroys self-worth and self-esteem, although most ladies do not seem to understand or comprehend those concepts. That’s a fact, hang me.
Ladies, it doesn’t have to be rape, I mean, don’t wait till then, it starts from sexual assault or harassment (unwanted sexual attention – unacceptable or inappropriate references to sexual organs, unacceptable touching and patting, persistent request for sex even when it’s being rejected) and sexual exploitation, and lots of our ladies don’t even seem to know what that means or care. Let your NO be NO and be firm, ‘consent’ doesn’t just mean the absence of no, it is a mutual and verbal agreement. And just because you are in a relationship doesn’t mean sex has to be a prerequisite (it’s not a college course for crying out loud!), it’s saddening to see ladies have sex with every Tom, Dick, and Harry that pops into their life. Where’s your self-esteem?!? If in a situation where rape is being attempted, don’t be shy to shout for help [did I say ‘shout’? I mean scream!!], and do something desperate: deep bite, kick the groin, headbutt the nostrils…if rape unfortunately eventually occurs, keep evidence, don’t take a bath or change clothing and report to the police and hospital. The issue of ladies’ dressing has been over-flogged, so I’m not going into that debate. It pays to be educated than to suffer the consequences of ignorance, know your rights. Most times, sexual harassment doesn’t just go away, be assertive and in this case unrevealing dresses [might] help #justsaying#. You don’t have to exchange sex for money if you are poor, there are honest works out there, lots of yer are just plain lazy! Exchanging sex for better grades or offering sex to a guy to teach or write for you some courses, you’re simply part of the irking problem helping men abuse you and other innocent girls. The society needs to be more supportive to ‘victims’ and the victims need to let go and forgive (it’s hard yeah), holding onto it makes life harder.
A word for guys who forcefully have their way with ladies (penile penetration or ‘fingering’) and think it masculine, sorry to burst your bubble, you are just being an animal, a sick one at that – and a zoo (prison) would fit better. Rape starts from the mind – what you think of consistently – which the body and senses then act upon when an opportunity arises.
Some points from WOMEN AGAINST RAPE, SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND SEXUAL EXPLOITATION (WARSHE).