Rape is one of the most terrible crimes on earth and it happens every few minutes. The problem with groups who deal with rape is that they try to educate women about how to defend themselves. What really needs to be done is teaching men not to rape. Go to the source and start there’. – Kurt Cobain
My friend told me how she has been teaching her daughters to boldly attack and shame anyone that tries to touch any part of their body intentionally without their consent. This was in response to a post on Facebook where a lady was teaching women what to teach their girls. You know, how to attack, where and how to hit effectively to draw blood, the vulnerable spots and the works.
I have been in circumstances where I wished I knew a bit of taekwondo or martial arts. This, coming from an extremely non-violent person speaks volumes. Yes, I believe every woman should be able to defend herself against all forms of #ViolenceAgainstWomen. It is a matter of necessity actually. If we cannot all hit our oppressors, then we should have pepper sprays and stilettoes.
There are modern means of defense against rape, including the use of apps and networks being taught to women and girls. Parents should encourage their kids to fight back any way they can. We teach each other to be stronger, to fight back, to resist, to be more careful – all excellent but inadequate.
It is good to encourage women to avoid rape but better to teach or coerce the men not to rape. It is time to channel more energy towards educating men on the evils of rape. I mean, if there were no rapists, there would be no need for my daughter to learn boxing as a defense method, unless of course she willingly wants to box for the love of it. Imagine a world free of sexual predators!
Now, how do we teach men not to rape? How do we make the rapist to unlearn sexual molestation? – Cultural and attitudinal reorientation. This culture that teaches boys to hide their emotions, to be a ‘man’, to go for whatever they want at all costs, to feel superior to the girls need to be addressed.
Boys must be made to realize that consent is needed before you can have any form of sexual contact with her. It does not matter whether she is under the influence, unconscious or dressed like a whore. Teach young boys that ‘NO’ simply means ‘NO’.
Our society depicts women as sexual objects most of the times, their humanity as women forgotten. Boys and society at large see women as objects for the pleasure of men. You see men laughing about how their friend tied her to a post and raped her, you hear them discussing how she was wailing like a baby while they gang-raped a woman. The woman is nothing, has no emotions to be considered, no self-worth, no value. She is to be used for their pleasure and then discarded.
The disheartening aspect of reporting rape is unbelief, denial and victim-blaming. Oh she asked for it. Lolz, you want me to believe that Mr. H will stoop so low as to look at you in a sexual way, you? No, my husband would not do such a thing, he simply cannot. (Rolling my eyes). The fact that she was raped is shameful enough in itself, to be labeled a liar and dehumanized in addition is adding salt to injury. Why not investigate the matter first?
Intervention! Don’t stand by and say it is not your business. Hush your friends when they make lousy jokes about girls. Stop the perpetrator before he indulges in the act. It can save a woman from a lifetime of pain and trauma.
Stronger punitive measures against rape should be in place and enforced accordingly. There are no sacred cows where rape is concerned. Whoever is found guilty should be punished adequately. The loopholes in some legal systems that make it easy for rapists to thrive need to be plugged.
Parents and wards, let us raise gentlemen who would love and respect every woman they come in contact with. It is not too early to start.
In our conversations with ourselves, our peers, colleagues, neighbors, children, wards or students, emphasis should be on men learning not to rape women.
I’d wanted to explain what violence against women is all about today because a friend asked me what we actually meant by all that. It made me realise that some people are yet to understand what we are fighting against.
However, I came across this beautiful post and decided that this will offer a better explanation to some of the issues we are fighting against.
It is the story of the victim and her rapist.
An Open Letter to my Rapist – http://wp.me/p5Zx7y-5l
“Emma Nnaemeka! Anybody for Emma Nnaemeka?” Shouted the bus conductor from where he stood at the door.
“Yes, e dey o” chorused some passengers. As the bus pulled to a stop at the junction, she alighted with the other passengers. She could feel the already dull sky threatening to give way to rain. She prayed the rain to wait till she got to her destination, not wanting anything to put a damper on the excitement bubbling within her. She looked around her, registering the chaos of vehicles and humans, feeling like a fish out of water in the midst of the crowd of students jostling up and down the streets. Their ‘swag’, dressing and boisterous manners identified them. Everywhere she looked was ample evidence that she was in a university town. In fact, from what Jane her ‘school mum’ told her, the street was just a stone’s throw from the temporary site of the school.
Lily rummaged inside her bag till she found her small red diary where she wrote down the address. It was not as if she did not already know the address by heart, having glanced at it hundreds of times since she got it, she just had to be quite sure. Yes,she was on the right street. She approached a bespectacled academic looking girl who advised her to hop on a bike to get to her destination since it was still a bit far inside.
She did not own any phone, so she could only rely on the directions of strangers to arrive at her destination. On getting to what she prayed was the right compound, she asked of Fred and was pointed to the last door on the block. She walked to the door and knocked gingerly. But no one heard her amidst the various voices speaking from the room. Lily wondered how they were able to hear each other in that noise. She knocked again, this time, louder, no response. She raised her hand to knock again when the door suddenly opened and a dark, handsome, stout but gentle looking guy stood before her clad only in his jeans, no shirt. He looked her over as if she were an alien, probably because of her dressing she thought. She was dressed in a caftan made from Ankara fabric having nothing else quite appropriate for this journey.
“Goo—od mor—ning” she stammered. He continued staring at her as if trying to remember something. Then suddenly, his face lit up as he smiled in recognition. She could not believe it was possible for him to look more handsome, but he did in that instant. He seemed to notice her discomfort and asked at last,
“You are Jane’s ‘school daughter, Lily right?” she nodded, unable to speak just yet. “Well, come on in before you catch cold in this weather” She followed him inside where she faced another three pairs of avid male eyes staring at her. Lily never considered herself beautiful by any means though she usually gets lots of stares from men which to her were normal for every female. She was not tall by any standards but her fair complexion, smooth hairy skin and soulful, huge eyes gives her an air of allure and innocence. She greeted the guys a shy good morning and went to sit down on the seat vacated by one of the guys. Fred regarded his friends with amusement before he proceeded to introduce the girl to them.
“Guys, this is my big sister’s ‘school daughter’, Lily, these are my friends and they were actually on their way out, right guys?” he asked, turning to give them knowing looks.
One of them complained,
“Awwwh, Fredo, we are not ready to go yet. Don’t be mean, see fine babe for here”
“Abeg, guys, she’s here for admission runs and we will soon leave for perm site. Make una find una levels joo.
After some more bantering, the guys took their leave.
Lily began to relax bit by bit as Fred chatted with her, asking her questions about herself and her relationship with his sister.
“She speaks highly of you, so much so that I believe everybody in the family knows you, even without meeting you physically” said Fred, still ogling her.
“Thank you” she replied shyly, “but I was at your house in Ozubulu when she did her traditional wedding last Christmas”
“Oh, I didn’t know that, too busy running around that day to notice, not that you’d be hard to notice in any crowd though. Please, what can I get you, malt drink?”
She nodded and smiled her thanks. He went to his portable fridge, brought a cold can of malt which he placed on the small glass center table before her. He sat down on the bed and they discussed her reason for coming all the way from Ozubulu to Awka to see him.
“My sister told me you are looking for admission in Computer Science department. Fortunately, their H.O.D is my uncle, he has agreed to assist us, so we are in luck”.
He explained as he watched her, assessing her, definitely shy and naive, but beautiful. “But let me see your results first”. She sought for the envelope where she kept them and handed the envelope over to him. He looked through them and said,
“You did not do badly at all, not bad at all. It won’t be hard to get admission for you there if we play our cards well” he said eyeing her with a gleam in his dark eyes.
“Amen to that, can’t lose this admission for the third time” she replied, sipping from her drink.
“Let me go shower so we can get moving okay?”
“Alright, thank you very much for agreeing to assist me Fred, God bless you”.
He waved off her thanks, grabbed his towel from the wardrobe door and made for the bathroom.
“You can keep yourself entertained with the picture under the table in the absence of electricity to power the television!” He called from the bathroom.
While he was bathing, it started raining and Lily sighed in exasperation. Why would the rain start now when they were about going to the great Nnamdi Azikiwe University? She prayed within her that the rain will abate ASAP.
Shortly, Fred came out in his boxers and his towel draped casually on his shoulders. He hung the towel then flopped down at the edge of the bed and complained about the rain.
“But not to worry, I’m sure it will soon stop, at least for your sake. I know you are very eager to get going. You can come over here let me identify some of the people you don’t know in the pictures while we wait?”
She looked up from the stack of pictures on her laps to look at him, then at the bed before shaking her head. “Don’t bother yourself, I’m fine with the few I know”. The rain continued while he seemed to ignore her totally. But before she knew what was happening, he had moved swiftly to where she sat and was all over her in minutes. His hands roving all over her, face, hair, breasts, all in seconds. She was too dumbfounded to react immediately but when she did, it was like a wild cat. She forced herself up and the chair and pictures scattered as she fought back with everything she possessed, claws, teeth, legs, everything. Yet, Fred wouldn’t let go. He continued his onslaught on her, pushing her to the bed where he promptly laid his stout frame on her petite body, completely overpowering her. She shoved, pushed, kicked clawed, but all her efforts proved fruitless.
She felt him lifting her gown and bit him so hard on the shoulder that he let go of her, but only momentarily as this act only seemed to enrage him. He slapped her across the face and while she was reeling from the impact, he successfully lifted her caftan to her laps. As he made to remove his boxers, Lilly knew raw fear, fear as she had never known in her entire life. She opened wide her mouth and let out the loudest scream she could muster. She continued screaming being trapped and without any other way to save herself. Fred suddenly jerked up from her to cover her mouth and she grabbed the opportunity and kneed him in his groins. He rolled off her instantly and sat clutching his groin.
“Damn bitch, you will regret this!” he hissed in agony. Lily quickly stood up from the bed, arranged her clothes, her whole body shaking but seeing this moment as her only chance of escape, she wasted no time in gathering her things, checked to make sure her gown was not torn, then took one final look at the monster and ran out into the drizzling rain. “To hell with his assistance!”