We live in a society where sexual assaults in form of rape, groping and child sexual abuse is prevalent and women are viewed as sexual objects for satisfying sexual desires. I attended a gendered school and oftentimes, I reflect on some happenings and how teachers made passes at young girls, even dated a few. Even though I hadn’t given it much thought at the time, it churns my stomach now to think that grown men, some already greying thought it was ok to date children. Yes, that is what we were- children. However, women seem to have stopped being passive about all of these and desire to change the narrative, talk about these issues and fight it out. Actions that have been taken are reflected in protests such as the Yaba market march protest of 2018, movies produced based on these subject matters by Nigerian film makers such as “Dry” by Stephanie Linus and ”Alter Ego” by Esther Eyibio starring Omotola Jalade as the lead actor. I for one like that this time around It is not the “oyinbos” telling us what to do but these actions are based on what we see and have experienced, things we recognize as barbaric and we have chosen to do something about it. Now, that is progress!
In very recent times, there have been gory news about young women being victims of rape. It astounds me that still whenever these issues are raised, the first point of call for people is to blame the victims. People asks questions like “when/where did it happen?”, ‘’was it at night?”, “what was she wearing?”, “Has she been drinking?”. If by any chance the answers to these questions or other related ones happen to be that the woman that was raped had gone clubbing or was drunk or was putting on skimpy clothes or has gone on a date with the rapist, then, the victim is to blame. Victim blaming is often accompanied with comments such as “responsible people shouldn’t go out at night”, “she shouldn’t have been wearing what she wore”, “what was she doing in his house” and so on. What you fail to realize by making these comments is that you are simply saying that any woman who has ever visited a male in his house or gone clubbing or gotten drunk deserves to be raped. Is that what you are really saying? I actually hope not. No one deserves to be raped. Another thing we fail to consider is that women have been raped even in their own homes, women who are religious and cover up their bodies have been raped. Rape does not happen because people walk at night or wear short clothes or take too much alcohol or many of the victim related factors we associate with rape.
Rape is an issue of the perpetrator not the victim!
Researchers have explained that rapists do not have a particular distinguishable outward appearance from other people. It is not a function of wealth, job, height, muscular build or whether they look responsible or not. Perhaps if it were so easy to spot rapists, women would know who to avoid and do just that. Yes, I realize that there would always be bad people in the world we live in. This fact still doesn’t make those hurt by these bad people the problem. It is our responsibility to however strive to create a much safer world for everyone instead of fostering a toxic and hostile one.
Impacts of rape on victim ranges from physical such as pregnancy, bleeding, sexual disorders, STDs to Psychological such as anxiety disorders, panic attack, anger, PTSD, depression, low self-esteem, suicide attempts and also social impacts like victimization, slut shaming, cyber-bullying and even divorce (for married women). Now let’s consider the likely ripple effect of raping a young girl on her future relationships and the society at large using our imagination: A lecturer who always seem to be angry and you have termed a sadist, that boy/girl that might never experience motherly love because the mother can’t help but extend the hate she feels for her rapist towards the child, the rapist who sees that the society does not hold him accountable and is more energized to wreck more havoc, the increase in mortality rate, increase in occurrences of mental health issues and the list goes on.
Researchers such as Dr Koth and Dr Malamuth have encountered situations again and again where rapists deny that they have committed “rape” but admits to non-consensual sex. Based on this and the fact that perceived outcome of blaming is a major reason why victims refrain from making reports, I think it is best we get an education. So, let’s get to it.
What is rape? Rape is non-consensual sexual intercourse/sexual penetration. It is also defined as the act of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse against their will. If you are still confused, I will simply say, rape has occurred when a person had sexual intercourse with another person without allowing the person to choose whether they want to have sex or not. So, if you have ever done this or this is what you usually do, that means you have committed rape. There are some reasons why this act might have persisted some of which are:
The onus lies on everyone to act responsibly because as it is commonly said “you are responsible for your actions”. What we see today is an evidence of behaviours that have been encouraged and applauded in times pasts. Mothers and fathers should henceforth raise responsible children- male and female alike. Let us stop victim shaming. Do not shame virgins. Everyone (boys, girls, men, women) have right over their own bodies. Do not assume you know that a woman wants sex if she states otherwise. Women, do not assume men should be able to read signs that you want sex and do not shame them for not being able to take cues. If you want it, state it and it is also very fine if a man does not want sex. Let us endeavor that going forward on the issue of sexual consent both gender respect each other. “The time is always right to do what is right” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr
Finally, I conducted a study on abusive dating among college students and found out that abusive students were low on ‘’Empathy’’. This is also consistent with studies on rapists that have shown that rapists are low on empathy. I suggest that teachings of empathy should be entrenched in children’s curriculum in schools or at home so that we would begin to attack this issue from the root. Overall, let us endeavor that going forward on the issue of sexual consent both gender respect each other.
Tagged as: sex, rape, victim blaming, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual consent, guide to consent, consent and sex, rape victim, rape crisis, sexual violence, sexual intercourse, what consent looks like, what is consent?, what is sexual consent.