I like to think some things are just in plain black and white. No colours, no middle ground, just black or white. There are a few things in this category- things that are unpleasant. Rape is one of them.
I once came across a fellow who tried to justify rape by the stand he took. While I would love to narrate his story, it is important that I first define the subject ‘rape.’ I have used an excellent source: WebMD.
According to WebMD, Rape is when sexual intercourse is non-consensual (not agreed upon), or a person forces another person to have sex against his or her will.
Now, that is not uncanny to fathom. In a simple term, using the words: ‘forces’ and ‘against a person’s will’ we know it is bad.
I will try to be objective as possible because both sexes are victims of rape. Statistics has shown that about 3% of American men or 1 in 33 have experienced an attempt or completed rape in their lifetime.
The World Population Review says South Africa has the highest rates of rape in the world of 132.4 per 100,000 people. Girls/women have been raped by either their father, stepfather, uncle, neighbour, friend, gangs, stranger. The list is endless.
When I got my first job as a teacher in a Muslim secondary school in Ibadan (first job after my youth service) I made friends with my colleagues. One of such friends was a beautiful young married woman, Ms Nafisat.
We were talk buddies. One day; we got talking as none of us had any class to teach and the issue of a popular celebrity couple sprang up. Theirs was a rape case between a congregation member and a religious leader. That’s add to my list of people who rape others (a trusted person, religious leader). Well, she was talking, and she narrated a story to me.
The story was about her first roommate when she was still a student at the university. This girl was her roommate for a year. Let’s call her Naomi. Nafisat and Naomi lived in one of the school hostels for a session. Usually, at the end of the second semester, everyone went home to spend time with families and friends. At the beginning of the new session, students were required to resume a week before the resumption date. But for one reason or the other, Naomi could not resume early.
Anyway, Nafisat made payment for her own accommodation. Naomi who resumed late had to seek accommodation somewhere else. One day, Naomi spent the night at a friend’s place because there was no light in her house and she wanted to study overnight for a test. This friend of Naomi went out on a date and instructed her to leave the door unlocked for she would return late.
When Naomi was reading, a guy came by to charge his phone. He too had the light issue at his lodge. He stayed for a while before leaving. Naomi read for hours until her eyes were weary, so she slept for a while.
She did not wake until it was day. To her surprise, the phone was gone, and her friend wasn’t back. She panicked. ‘A thief had walked in while she was in a deep sleep,’ she feared. Let’s move forward to after her friend returned.
Naomi noticed later that someone had violated her.
How did it happen? You might ask. How it happened, I do not know. I do not understand, for she was not drugged. She had been too worried with the missing phone that she didn’t know someone had raped her. Whether Naomi wrote the test the next day, I cannot say, but I know for sure that the action was black.
Sadly, this girl became a tool to the boy. He was a member of a gang. He threatened and blackmailed her, forcing her to befriend him.
But Nafisat stepped in. Are you asking how she got the temerity to confront a gang member?
Imagine what Naomi’s life must have been like. Traumatic!
Types of Rape
Interestingly, Rape has many faces, and takes some surprising forms:
I have used the Wikipedia on line dictionary.
Date rape- there are several types under this category: acquaintance rape( rape committed by someone who knows the victim) and drug facilitated sexual assault.
Gang rape- this occurs when a group people participate in the rape of a single victim. I thought of India when I saw this type. The rate if rape in India is 1.80 in 22,172 incidents according to World Population Review. Some remain unreported. The latest rape case is that of Uttar Pradesh, a 13 year old girl raped by 2 boys while four others recorded the act.
Spousal rape- this is a rape between a married or defacto couple without one spouse’s consent. It is a form of domestic violence and sexual abuse. You might be thinking this should not constitute as rape. Yes, a man’s body belongs to the wife and the wife’s the man. Neither should deny the other what belongs to him/her. True! However, when it is done without either of the spouse consent, it is rape. If it’s not a mutual agreement between spouses, it is rape.
Studies shows that there are no significant difference in post- psychiatric disorders when comparing victims of marital and stranger rape.
Rape of children- this is a form of child sexual abuse. Africa has the highest prevalence rate of child abuse (34.4 percent according to WARIF) around the world. Pedophiles are repulsive. I would have been a victim myself if my mother had not shown up. My mother came to my rescue when a neighbor’s brother was about to violate me.
Rape by deception: this is when the perpetrator gains the victim’s agreement through fraud. Sometimes they do this by impersonating someone else; a government official for example.
Corrective rape- this is rape targeted against homosexual as a punishment for violating gender roles.
Generally speaking, most victims of rape are female. In Nigeria, some people try to justify rape by siding with the perpetrator and criticizing the girl.
They give comments such as: “Wetin you find go there?” (What were you looking for at his place?) “When you won’t sit at a place, what do you expect?”
These questions only tell the rapists that he had done no wrong. He has done a good job. Well-done! He can go unleash his venom somewhere else.
Recently, the news of Uwaila, a hundred-level Uniben student who was found dead in a church went viral. She was raped and beaten to death right inside a church. It was painful when I heard the news on Twitter on Sunday, but you know what felt extremely painful? That was when I saw the comments some boys wrote on social media.
They made jokes about the whole thing and went as far as condemning the girl, and not the action.
‘What was she looking for in a church?’
‘Why had she gone there to read when the school was not in session?’
Some gave what sounded as ‘advice’ to their own ears: ‘If a boy wants to rape you, do not fight with him, stay let him do what he wants.’
These people failed to condemned the atrocities committed on the poor girl that took away her promising future. To them, rape was normal. There was no wrong in what the perpetrator(s) had done. In fact, Uwaila was wrong to have fought with them.
Others condemn the girl for her choice of dressing and grooming; they say she invited the rapist because she was clothed seductively.
This was the ground that fellow I talked about in the beginning took. Go backwards a bit. That fellow who tried to justify rape. He claimed girls invite the perpetrator with their choice of clothes. Even as I strongly advocate for proper (modest) dressing, I refuse to accept that anyone should be raped because of improper dressing.
This is abnormal. Rape must stop! Parents should not just teach the girl child to avoid getting raped, they should teach the boys to see rape as bad. Teach both gender what is right and let them understand that such things as rape is evil. It can no longer be condoled in our society.
The aftermaths of rape are always heinous. It leaves one shattered for many years, and in some people leaves an everlasting scar. It affects women’s sexual relationships with their husbands and sometimes can spiral out of control, affecting even the innocent children. So, rather than criticize a rape victim, let’s all be like Nafisat, condemn the action! Confront the perpetrator.