Nuance is not Nigerian.
For us, it is either white or black, yay or nay. The grades in between are not understood and there is no desire to understand as well.
Rape that is nuanced is completely lost on us. Have we even finished understanding normal rape? It is like giving an Ababio (Chemistry textbook) to a toddler that can’t talk.
A girl is raped. People ask
What was she wearing?
Why did she go there?
Why did she allow him to spend money on her?
Is it possible for a husband to rape a wife?
Can rape happen in a consensual relationship?
See the language she is using to talk about it? She must be a slut!
Why did she keep going back?
Can a prostitute be raped?
Unbelievable! Only the victim has a million and one questions to answer. She must prove to us that she did not in any way ask for it.
And guess what? There are so many women with their stories to their chest because very few can withstand the backlash and harsh speculations.
I have heard all kinds of nonsense.
The funniest unfunny one that I heard was the rape victim has better chances of getting justice if she goes to a government hospital after she has been raped!
Or the common one “No mind her! She must have enjoyed it…” Because deep down we know that a penis is like a lollipop that is sweet every time it is inserted…
I have heard ludicrous conversations in which people talk about how girls say no but truly mean yes.
“No mind her, na pretend she dey pretend. Woman go always say no… if you touch here, touch there, no go turn to yes.”
Are you kidding me?
Has any guy ever told you that? It is a myth. If a girl exists that enjoys struggling before sex, then make sure you seek clarity and all parties concerned understand that she likes that kind of role play. For the rest of us, revert back to your default. Which is no means NO!
I read one of the stories we now see every week of a man raping his daughter and he said that she wanted it. He claimed that she seduced him and he being a man, was powerless.
Are you freaking kidding me? (Freaking because I try hard not to swear, if I did swear, it would be the other f word).
An eleven year old has the power to sway a 40 year old man.
Which leads to myth numero 2, men are powerless before the vagina. Hence they tell us how to dress so that they will not be unable to stop themselves from raping us. Kai!
Now for the big one, can rape happen in a consensual relationship or marriage?
During the Farafina Trust Workshop this year, there was a day we talked about rape. Ms Adichie painted a picture of an Oga calling a nanny to his room and ordering her to strip and having sex with her. She asked us whether we thought that was rape. We debated for a while and she asked if truly the nanny had the power to say no to the big boss. We then saw reason. Not every nanny would give in, but a lot would give in not because they were village sluts looking for promotion but the singular fact that they cannot fight this man whose word is the law. They would give in because saying no may be a hell they are unwilling to go through. Regardless of if he tore her dress and pressed her to the floor or tweaked her nipples, gave her head and made her have an orgasm, it was rape; a taking advantage of someone who is physically or mentally or financially powerless to fight you.
Let us say that the woman is at a disadvantage i.e she is still a minor, depends on you financially or is clearly not mentally stable. And you because you are steps ahead of her as a husband or boyfriend prevail upon this disadvantage and dependence, you then go ahead to subject her to sexual acts that she does not consent to. Why am I rigmaroling sef? If for whatever reason, she is saying no to sexual acts and still stays in the relationship, it is still rape, you are not absolved.
I believe Sugabelly. Clearly a besotted teenager with a man that is the son of a powerful father. Powerless to fight out of a hold they had on her. Not old enough to be able to figure her way out of a maze that she wandered in for months. Months of being violated by someone she trusted and thought that she loved.
Why did she not just walk away?
Have you ever wondered why abused women don’t just up and leave? It is complicated.
You can wilfully be a victim.
Shame on us! Shame on us for adding to the pain of a victim by calling her names. Shame on us for sending other victims further into their closets. Shame on us for ensuring that the culture of silence is maintained. A culture where women die with their damage. For even if justice is denied or served, they still have to live with our pointed fingers, our disgust, our scorn.
Shame on us for not ever asking the culprits a single question.
Like why can’t they get sex the normal way?
Like why they can’t establish consent.
Like how they are able to maintain an erection with a girl screaming and crying.
Like how they are able to look at themselves in the mirror daily knowing that they have ruined the lives of their victims.
Like why they are not seeking help for their sickness.
I know a lady that had to relocate because she was raped by armed robbers. When the news made the rounds, she could not take it. People looked at her like she was guilty of something; like she had done something wrong.
Can we help victims and not throw eggs at them?
Can we help victims and stop this shaming?
In a closed group discussion, I was shocked to find out that most of my friends have nearly been raped or even raped. If one woman is talking, know that thousands more carry this pain without saying a word.
If a woman says she was raped, I will believe. What woman in Nigeria does herself any good by claiming rape? Willingly subject herself to our jeers, leers and derision. Why on earth would she describe being gangbanged to people that will judge her for even saying she has had consensual sex sef. Kai! Sugabelly gets all the flak and the culprits are even flexing their power threatening people upandan!!!!!
I stand with Sugabelly is not a pronouncement of guilt on the accusers, it is respecting the voice of a woman bold enough to speak about what the rest of us carry to our graves. It is standing beside a woman’s right to speak without being told to shut up. It says we are listening.
Sigh! And to think I wanted to be playful this week and give my readers something to laugh about in this country that everything is hard….
Sorry folks, next week abi…
#IStandWithSugabelly, #IBelieveSugabelly, #StayStrongSugabelly.