By Lea Kelley
Angela’s story is one of many that women face but what about our girls? Our little girls are being abused by their “uncles”, by gatemen, by neighbors, by drivers, by the carpenter that came to fix the door, by their fathers? Girls who cant speak up because they’re scared, they don’t want to cause problems or have been threatened into silence. Do we pretend we haven’t seen the pictures of our girl child with blood running down their legs and the animals that tore them apart looking into his mug shot with empty, hollow eyes? Let us not forget our boys, abused at tender ages by househelps and “aunties”, abuse that goes on for years until they transition into girls their own age. It is seen as normal practice, in fact, some even see it as a rite of passage of some sorts to manhood. They laugh about it in their circles and share stories but that does not make it okay.
Parents and guardians must learn to do better. Leaving one’s child with a stranger should incite fear. Poverty is not an excuse to offload children on whoever is around for the parent to go and hustle. The most important duty of a parent is to protect one’s child from imminent danger. Leaving your female child with the principal because he offered to watch her is reckless and dangerous. We must educate the populace, especially the lower class, who are more concerned with feeding their children than keeping them close and out of harms way and who can blame them? We must also educate young boys and men. It must be drilled into their heads at their tender ages that girls are never ever to be forced to do what they don’t want to. No is no. Boys that do not learn this grow up to be our neighbors, co-workers, friends, family members and we are all in danger of them. Do not be deceived, rapists do not have “rapist” tattooed on their foreheads, they are everywhere.
A viral case of a 2 year old labeled an “ashawo” for sleeping with her adult ‘uncle’ has stirred outrage in the nation. Yes, I’m sure you had to read that twice to be sure you read it right. A 2-year-old infant was accused of prostituting herself. The mother of the girl had beaten her black and blue, almost leaving her with one eye because she had “caught” her daughter with a full-grown man. This delusional unstable woman nearly disfigured her child for being raped. The rapist was not blamed, the child was accused of constantly going to the man for sex. The poverty mentality is so ingrained into the lower class that an act as abominable as rape is seen as normal practice. This is just the tip of the iceberg of Nigeria’s rape culture.
There is a question that I have heard time and time again, the question of if a husband can rape a wife. The answer is simple, of course. Marriage is not a 24/7 access card to sex neither is it an ownership contract. This is a sickening mentality a lot of Nigerian men suffer from. We are aware of thousands of domestic abuse cases, both in marriages and relationship around the world. It all boils down to consent. Consent is permission for something to happen or agreement to do something. It is a simple clear cut definition, easy enough for anyone to understand but it can be simplified further, YES OR NO. It does not matter if the woman gave you all the signs, if she is wearing a short dress, if she has spoken to you provocatively or if the act is about to begin the point, if she says no, that is all a men needs to hear to stop immediately.
Men rape vulnerable drunk women. This has become a norm in party cities like Lagos. These men should not remove themselves from the rapist category. You are still a rapist. Taking a step further, there are scenarios were a woman isn’t able to say no but her entire demeanor is screaming no. Men are not stupid creatures, although they feign ignorance. I believe men know very well when a woman is reluctant or unwilling to entertain sexual advances. For both the man and woman’s safety, always be sure both parties are willing to engage in sexual acts to avoid “stories that touch”. This fight is not just for women, our men need to join us in arms and fight against rape and sexual violence in this nation. It affects us all. Our sisters, our friends and our daughters need us now more than ever.
To Be Continued…
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