This is an update on a previous post on Rape. The link is here in case you missed it.
It saddens me to write that over the past few weeks, I have been exposed to a fragment of rape culture in our society through social media. These ‘harmless’ statements or ‘opinions’ are a true reflection of the mindset of a majority in our society. In the arguments about rape that have followed up on Twitter NG, it was quite obvious that a lot of people will find ways to put the blame on the victim. Either rape and other forms of sexual assault are becoming more prevalent or people are voicing out more. Whichever way, it’s stirring up conversation, which is the first step or could be no step at all, depending on how we act on it.
Last week, I was watching a programme (funny how this always comes back to a tv show) and rape was the topic of the day. A female viewer called in to give her two cents, which I wish she hadn’t. She said mothers have a part to play, that they should teach their daughters to cross their legs when they sit. She implied that the way young girls sit was one of the reasons why they get raped. It wasn’t shocking but I felt ashamed. This woman, who I expected to be a sympathiser, just created another way of blaming rape victims. We aren’t even talking of adults here o! little girls! My issue here is, instead of blaming mothers for not making sure their five-year old daughters cross their legs when they sit or blaming a carefree five year old for being violated by someone twice or thrice her age, we should address the perpetrators. I mean, any grown man attracted to a young girl, regardless of what way she’s sitting, is definitely dancing with his demons. It’s just a showcase of a much deeper psychological issue if you ask me.
Also, let’s not forget that male rape is existent in our country too. For instance, read this interview by Sarah Adigba on LL. I believe it’s time for our ignorance on such issues to end.
If there’s one thing that can prove our attitude towards rape in Nigeria is this article right here: Lagos’ only rape support centre. I believe this should ring alarm bells with the rape stories we hear daily. Sadly, there probably isn’t anyone keeping track of the number of rape cases we have daily in Lagos, so it’s easy to sweep it under the rug and claim it’s being exaggerated. It’s the only relief centre we have in Lagos, which is in a secluded part of the LASUTH compound and just a ‘long, dimly lit corridor lined with tiny rooms’ with the overwhelming sense ‘of the walls closing in’ and is quickly running out of funds, with most organizations unwilling to fund something so sensitive. It was truly heartbreaking to read but also very enlightening.
It’s easy for us to make noise about rape and it’s injustice but this article, I believe, lit the fire in me. It was revealing and saddening, but it will help raise awareness and start the conversation afresh with individuals willing to open up their minds. Points to be highlighted from the article is the slow judicial process and the costs of justice. Also, Nigerians will forever want to sweep something so ‘shameful’ and gruesome under the rug, we like to ignore or push away the problem, rather than face it, like that of Mary and Dami’s stories. We also have Nike whose attacker was a ‘serial rapist’ and yet, we have family begging and offering compensation, as if that will solve their son’s problem. It’s sickening really.
I think it’s about time we make as much noise as we can about rape, just like we did for domestic violence. If the government won’t help Mirabel, I believe we the common people have the power to. It could be by donating and by sharing but let’s just try and keep the only rape support centre in Lagos going. See below.
A gofundme has been set up for the centre , so you can donate here by clicking on #SaveMirabel
Btw, I don’t want to come off as someone focusing on the negatives because there have been some great social media campaigns for instance, the #NomeansNo campaign by OurvisionNG, The Stand To End Rape Initiative and an ongoing campaign by Lucid Lemons called #sourtaste to raise awareness about child molestation and rape. These are the campaigns I’m aware of as at now, so forgive me if i’ve left out some.
I guess it’s safe to say we are off to a good start then.