Where do I begin with this #Sugabelly stuff?
My big sister Folakemi drew my attention to the details of this saga making rounds on the internet.
This issue has raised a lot of dust with many people sympathizing with the alleged victim while many more cast stones and broken bottles and sticks at her.
Sugabelly alleged that a guy he had sexual relationship with when she was seventeen raped and molested her countless times and over time, organized with his friends to gang-rape her on several occasions. Read Sugabelly’s story as she tells it herself here.
It is easier for us to sit on our high horses and cast aspersions on her person instead of tackling the issue as we ought to. It is easier to ask her what she was doing with that kind of friends, to ask her why she stayed on in such an abusive relationship, why she did not report to anybody, not even her parents. But if we should be frank with ourselves, I bet that more than eighty percent of Nigerian women can see a little of themselves in Sugabelly, the silence, the crave to be ‘loved’ and ‘cared’ for, by pervert and all, the patience and hope that things would get better (the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know syndrome), the denial and so on.
The way I look at it, that seventeen year old girl was starved of love and care and she sought it out where she could find it and stayed on just as countless other women do. I am not overly surprised that she did not discuss it with anyone nor take any tangible action against her molesters. Look at full grown women, mothers, wives who stay on in abusive relationships with such excuses as love and children.
Some people see her story as a bunch of concocted lies of a woman scorned, of one seeking fame, or looking for cheap blackmail. But it should not be too hard to believe if you have witnessed just a little of what women pass through on a daily basis.
It is best to just blame the rape victim, after all, it is a man’s world and he can do whatever pleases him and get away with it. It is his right to get/take whatever he so desires, who can dare deny him or go against him?
My fear is that we will keep raising our kids with this attitude and mentality, train them to believe that the female child is less of a being and should be treated as such. They grow up believing that they deserve to be treated differently, that they deserve better, that they deserve to get whatever they want, whenever they want it, not minding who is damaged in the process.
I also know that there are still millions of other such stories, such experiences as that of this young lady, untold stories of pains and trauma that might still remain untold due to fear and shame. In Nigeria, the woman is castigated if she so much as makes it public that she was sexually molested. Why would any female then bother telling the painful story when you cannot get sympathy talk more of justice? How many people are willing to believe the story, just as in Sugabelly’s case? It is better and easier to put the blame on the lady, after all, she made herself available and the animal took what was offered (or not offered).
The major lesson I take away from this case is that parents are neglecting their duties towards their children. Parents of both the victim and the perpetrators were nowhere to be found in the whole story, where were they? She could have shared her pains with her mother if that option was easy or available to her. I wonder why.
Sometimes, parents get too rigid that their children cannot reach them when they need them. These children seek love and care in all the wrong places and end up ruined. On the other hand, some are too lose with the children that they run with the wrong crowd, learn the wrong things and grow up to become societal menace.
In all, I admire Sugabelly’s courage in telling her story. It took her time, but finally, she was able to overcome her fears, shame and pains to tell her story to the world. Judge her all you will, but remember that your silence or judgment means you’d be happy to see same portion being served your daughter, your mother, sister, cousin, aunt.