The matter of a woman’s dressing being responsible for her being violated is not only very painful, it is unfortunate, mendacious, misguided, ignorant, patriarchal and downright demonic especially when I think about the myriad of little kids, ranging from 3 month old babies to teenagers, who have been sexually abused in the last three years.
Since 2012, I have followed with fear a heightened trend of violation of female children in the aforementioned age bracket in Nigeria. Not a day went by on twitter in 2012 in which such cases were not reported. Now I know rape is age long but the blossoming of social media meant that these matters are now being reported in the news much more than say, ten years ago.
I was tempted to write that these matters are ‘no longer swept under the carpet’ but reportage doesn’t mean the carpet is now being lifted to expose the filth underneath. If a five year old girl is forcefully ‘had’ by an ‘uncle’ and he is caught and it’s reported on social media, it ends there. Follow-up on these cases are rare. The average Nigerian knows that the media is just reporting news that will be settled within the family. And if it isn’t, and the police is called in, we can bet our bottom naira that their corresponding action is no more than the sick, sputtering cough of a car with a faulty engine; you are hopeful it will start but it will just keep sputtering until you fix the problem.
It’s bad enough we have no support system for victims. We’d rather muffle them with the shame, rage and fear they feel just so we can appear politically correct outside. But who’s going to heal their broken souls? How can they know that they matter if the arms of justice are folded in siddon look style?
Any country that enacts no laws to protect its women, hates women plain and simple. You don’t need to look too hard to find misogyny in such a place. It is the same misogyny I see on the streets when a reporter takes his cameraman and goes about asking men why women are raped and all ten men he asks say the same thing, “it is because of the way they dress.” I have a question for men everywhere: all the little girls who were sexually abused this year were they also asking for trouble by the way they were dressed? Something is awfully wrong. It is a wicked excuse used to justify a wicked act and it is tantamount to giving all rapists a pat on the back! Anyone who believes this, whether male or female, is a potential rapist standing toe to toe with all rapists on the scales of despicability and cheering them on.
The truth is no woman deserves to be raped, whether she is dressed suggestively or not, whether she is a hooker or a homemaker, NO means NO. At the risk of sounding like a broken record alongside general Nigerian opinion, law enforcement has its work cut out for it and if you are a woman who was or is in a legislative capacity to better your womenfolk and you didn’t use it or aren’t using it, you are a failure. Lawmaking is serious business, not bolekaja or an opportunity to enrich oneself. We cannot continue like this.
PS: If you have been sexually abused or raped or you know someone who has, you and they can get help by booking a free and confidential telephone session with a fully certified therapist on here: http://jacknjilllive.com/