As repulsive as the very thought of this action should be, it is rather saddening that the surge of sexual assaults in the society is still on a high frequency, and worse is the fact that this action has taken two paths; one where it is actually perpetuated, and one where it is being made into some kind of sick joke, and treated very lightly. It is no longer very uncommon to find a group of people, mostly teenagers and youths all huddled together and having a goodtime telling jokes, and the idea of rape finds its way into their conversation. And then they find a way to turn this perverse action into something worth laughing over.
The fortunate angle to this situation is the fact that we also live in an era, where due to the compelling force of some people who have put their brain to good use, the society is beginning to revisit some of its practices, mindset and beliefs towards a lot of things; feminism, sexuality, racism, religion, and also sexual assault amongst many others.
Recently, I was going through the WhatsApp story of a friend of mine, and I saw that she was pissed and venting over an issue. My friend (as I would prefer to address her in this write up, for the purpose of being anonymous) is the kind of girl who gives voice to her thoughts no matter how radical and society-unfriendly they might be, and on that day in question, she narrated how she got into an argument with her mother over the news of a girl who got raped by 2am. She explained that her mother victim blamed, more concerned with why the girl was out by 2am, than with why her rapist couldn’t check his libido, and not just rape her.
Going through her status, I caught myself thinking for some seconds ‘but really, what was that girl thinking, why was she out by that time?’ and that was when it hit me; the corrupted approach we employ when dealing with issues like rape, the fact that we tend to wrongly rationalize what shouldn’t even be in existence. For the purpose of clarity, I would like to state that the girl who was raped was eventually discovered to be out by that time because she had a feud with her mother, and her mother began beating her, and in order to escape the assault, she fled her home.
Does that make it better? Is she now worthy of your sympathy because she was a ‘good girl’ and not a ‘bad girl’ like many people would have wrongly deduced from just hearing the surface story? And if the news turned out that she was out by that time partying and following a wild crowd against her mother’s instruction to stay indoors, would you think that she is still be deserving of your sympathy, and would you possess the same level of anger towards the rapist(s)?
Over the years, the society has preached the wrong notions about rape to us, and it’s high time we correct this false mentalities. Some of us have had this falsehood so indoctrinated into us that we don’t even realize in the slightest bit, how biased our beliefs on this issue is. For you to get a grasp of what I mean, reflect over these questions:
- Why are we more concerned with getting girls out of the street at night, than with getting rapists out of the world for good?
- What is the society teaching us; how not to get raped, or how not to rape?
- Who does the society blame most time for the occurrence of rape: the girl who was alleged to have dressed seductively, or the guy who forced himself on the girl even when she said ‘no’?
- The seminars organized in our institutions, preached in our houses during family devotions concerning the issue of rape. What message is more rampant: do not get raped, or do not rape?
- What remarks are easier to hear in our society: “if you’re not careful, you would end up being raped” or “if you’re not careful, you would end up being a rapist”
Probably, we can justify these trends by arguing that in every rape scenario, the girl is the victim and it is only ideal to save them from the travails of being raped, but then are we really making a tangible difference? What happens to that girl who finds herself in a circumstance she cannot have any control over?
Rape should never be justified in any sense of it, nor should it be judged based on the circumstances surrounding it. Excuses should never be made for the rapist. Even if the girl was out by 2am, or by 2pm, no time frame makes sexual assault a right or permitted thing to do.
Even if the girl was dressed in long flowing saint Mary’s gown, or was walking down the road with literally nothing on but a wristwatch around her wrist, no scenario should ever justify the rapist. Under no circumstance is sex without consent right, not even in marriage. Nobody should care more with whether the guy came to the girl’s house, or whether the girl went to the guy’s house. Nobody should be more concerned with what kind of party the girl went to, more than they are concerned with the fact that the guy just forced himself on her while she lay screaming and in serious anguish. Before you start analyzing what triggering behaviour you believe the girl must have exhibited, you should first of all set your mind to condemning the act of rape no matter what form it took place in, and when you start analyzing why the girl was on skimpy clothes in the first place and all of that, you should do that not with the mentality of giving reasons to why the rape occurred, acquitting the less of a human boy that perpetuated the act of violence, or and also not with the mentality of slut shaming the girl either, deducing that she brought it upon herself, and how she is to blame for her current predicament.
Why should anybody be more concerned with why the girl didn’t scream out for help, talking about how she enjoyed it, than with why the guy couldn’t keep his weapon of destruction in his trousers and exercise self-control over his untamed libido?
Don’t. Don’t hear that a girl was raped by 2am in the morning, and the first thing you do is to ask what she was doing outside by that time, just to ascertain whether she deserves your sympathy or not.
If she was outside because she had no place to spend the night, she deserves your sympathy, and the rapist deserves your anger and condemnation of his action.
If she was outside by choice, but dressed in decent clothes, the same goes.
If she was outside partying with wild friends, dressed in very revealing and skimpy clothes and disobeying her mother’s instruction to be indoors, and in the act gets raped, the same still goes.
A rapist is never a servant of God that God uses to punish anybody for her sins or her father’s or her ancestors from the Neolithic age, so stop the nonsense talk of how she is suffering for her sins.
Then comes the more complex question, one that very few people seem to be in the right side concerning.
“Is there any circumstance surrounding the rape of a girl that makes her the person at fault?”
“Is the victim of rape to be blamed in any situation?”
I didn’t know how bad the issue of victim blaming was until a friend of mine took a picture of some pages of a textbook supposedly for students in junior secondary school sometime ago, and I saw a highlight: causes of rape, and the first thing on the list was ‘indecent dressing by girls’ and the second was ‘females loitering around lonely areas in the dark’ my mouth literally hung open. Of course there was the point of ‘drinking alcohol’ which I believe was directed at the guys who rape, but the fact that it was down on the list, while the first two causes were supposedly the fault of the females is just appalling.
I realized it was even worse when I was preparing this post and reading out quotes on this issue. One of them out rightly stated that the female is never to blame, and as I read it out, a lad not up to the age of thirteen countered that it was a lie, and he went on to paint a scenario based on his maturity level, that a rapist wouldn’t be attracted to a sixty year old raggedy looking woman. I went ahead to ask him if that meant that a younger good looking woman being raped was her fault, and he wasn’t able to defend his point(though it was obvious he really wanted to). While he had a hard time processing his thoughts, probably due to the age factor, I presume I understood quite well what he was driving at, and if I’m right, he was trying to express something along the line of: rapists are attracted to what they see, and if you give them quite too much to see, or if they choose to see too much even when you didn’t show them any (after all properly dressed people have been raped too), then…
The victim of rape is never to be blamed for her assault.
No is no, and yes is yes. No, I don’t want to have sex with you, stop, leave me alone, those are all blunt words and that’s all that should count when looking over the issue of sex without consent.
The whole idea of hammering the message of females not dressing decently being the cause of the increasing rate of rape in the society is tilting things towards one angle, hence creating an unfair imbalance. It is a message that has somehow been misinterpreted to mean that one who is raped because of indecent dressing deserved it for not abiding by the rules of the game. Rules of the game? You hear how wrong that sounds don’t you?
Preventive measures are wise, advisable and acceptable, but the absence of preventive measures is not the presence of permission to cause harm.
It’s the same thing as blaming a person who was robbed for being robbed, because he displayed a little too much wealth. How absurd does that sound?
Rape isn’t caused by the fact that the girl went to a guy’s house when he was alone, rape stems from a deranged, demonic urge within the guy that he is not able to deal with.
While I do not argue that the isolation of the scenario might have been triggering to such a guy, it is just wrong to blame the girl for triggering an inhumane nature that shouldn’t even be in existence. Blaming the girl turns around and makes the boy the victim, while the girl becomes the certified devil’s child who tempted the guy. Does that sound right?
Stop teaching females that their actions are the cause of rape; some perverted male is somewhere listening to you make excuses for him, justifying the action he is about to commit.
And then, there comes the issue; what message is the society preaching?
Why is it that most seminars and programs organized over the issue of rape has its target audience to be the girls than it is the boys?
How can one be struggling to create a world where cats and mice can live together in harmony, and then meetings upon meetings are organized for the mice, teaching them what to do and what not to do to avoid falling prey to the cats, while the cats roam freely, probably positioned in corners, waiting for the next mice to walk by.
I have a theory: If you take half the effort put into teaching females that their actions are the cause of rape, and put that effort into teaching males to abhor the thought of sex without consent no matter what, the rate of rape in the society would actually drop to the barest minimum.
Drawing the line is going to be the last subject of discussion under this issue. Human beings have always had problem with lines and limits, as we tend to always be extreme, going overboard with any side chosen, and not knowing when we are transcending from being wise, to being foolish.
Ladies, understand this.
Nobody has the right to rape you no matter the circumstances, but it is wisdom to avoid situations that would expose you to the possibility of rape.
If a circumstance that can lead to rape can be avoided, please do well in your best interest to avoid it. Nobody is empowering the perpetuators of rape to continue under the talk that it is your fault that you were looking or acting ‘rape worthy’ but remember that you tend to lose much if you become victim of this attack.
It is an ideal dream that the society should get to a point where it puts things into right perspective, and focus on waging the right war against rape and rapists, but while this dream is still getting to the point of being completely actualized, wisdom demands that you don’t consciously set yourself as a bait for the fishes of violence to come after.
Is it right for a male to impose himself on you sexually no matter what the situation surrounding the event is?
But is it also wise to know or suspect that this particular environment, situation, action, choice, or decision of yours can cause you to come face to face with the possibilities of being raped, and yet go ahead to execute such actions or go to such environment?
I don’t think the answer is yes either.
The same way an individual would secure his house against burglary, is the way you should secure yourself against rape. An individual securing his house doesn’t mean that if his house is unsecured, the burglar is entitled the right to steal from him, and the same goes to you. The same way the ideal thing for the society to do on the issue of theft no matter the circumstance surrounding it, is to find and apprehend a thief, is the same way the ideal thing to do in the event of rape is to apprehend the rapist.
But is it ideal then, for a person to leave his house unprotected? I’d rather the answer be no for you.
You are not securing yourself because it would be your fault if you get raped, but you are doing so because you realize that you cannot let your fate and your wellbeing fall into the decision of the next male individual you see, and whether he sees you as a sex tool or whether he respects you as a human being.
While we all hope and pray for a better world and a better future, for ourselves and our generations to come, let’s put things in place and do our own part; working to achieve the better future.